The Democratic Alliance says it has confirmation of what it calls ‘dubious contracts’ signed off by the SABC’s top executives, including acting chief financial officer (CFO) Audrey Raphela, in late December 2016.
The political party said that replies to parliamentary question revealed that at least two dubious tenders were awarded by the SABC in late December 2016 while Parliament was conducting hearings during the SABC inquiry, namely:
- A contract worth R5.1 million (R4.5 million excluding VAT) for the redesign of the SABC’s websites awarded to Infonomix without going to tender; and
- A contract worth R7.3 million paid to Imagine Communications for an advertising management system, with an additional R 4.7 million over three years for “license fee and maintenance”.
The contract with Imagine Communications was signed despite it being proven that the system was not suitable for the SABC, contributing to the R300 million loss in advertising revenue at the public broadcaster, the DA said, adding that it did not appear that this contract was put out to tender.
“We await replies from Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo about other contracts reportedly signed off in a rush in December by Raphela,” said Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications.
“On the basis of these allegations of serious tender flouting, the SABC Acting CFO must be suspended pending an investigation into the awarding of these tenders, and pending a disciplinary inquiry.”
Van Damme also called on the procedures relating to Raphela’s appointment as acting CFO to be reviewed. “She was appointed from outside the SABC in August 2016 into the acting CFO position. Normally, a person from inside an organisation is appointed into an acting position with the understanding he or she will return to their permanent position once the temporary allocating in the acting role is complete.”
The DA said it is intent on cleaning up ‘the rot’ at the SABC, and ensuring that those individuals responsible, are held accountable.
“SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who received R1.7 million while on suspension since January 2017, and was paid R12.5 million while irregularly employed as the SABC’s COO, has fallen and James Aguma is currently suspended, facing a disciplinary inquiry. Next should be Raphela, and the numerous enforcers who implemented patently illegal and unethical decisions at the orders of Aguma and Motsoeneng,” Van Damme said.