The Democratic Alliance (DA) says that replies to questions put before parliament have revealed that, since 2009, corruption investigations at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have cost the public broadcaster R19.5 million.
During the same time-frame, a further R10.8 million was spent on resolving staff dismissal disputes, the political party said.
The DA said in a statement on Tuesday (6 August) that of particular concern is that, of the 1,465 employees who were identified during investigations for not declaring their interests, disciplinary action has been undertaken against only 300 of those employees.
Furthermore, of the 14 cases that were reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS), only one has been concluded, it said.
According to the replies to the DA:
- R19.5 million was paid to the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) for an audit following the Auditor-General’s special investigation of the SABC in 2009;
- The SABC’s Internal and Forensic Audit units have carried out 107 investigations;
- R10.8 million has been spent on legal fees to resolve dismissal disputes. The majority of these cases relate to SABC top-management including the GM of SABC News International, Head of Procurement, the News Editor, CFO, General Executive: News and Current Affairs and the chief audit executive.
Communications Minister, Yunus Carrim said late last month (July) that a task team has been established to sort out the financial problems at the SABC.
In April, President Jacob Zuma approved the interim board, which was installed after the resignations of most of the previous board’s members in March, and its eventual dissolution by Parliament.
The DA said that while it welcomes the action being taken to root out corruption at the SABC, and Carrim must follow up on why, despite numerous investigations, so few actual dismissals have taken place.
“I will be submitting a series of follow up questions in Parliament to get these answers,” said Marian Shinn, DA shadow minister of communications.
“It is imperative that the publicly funded, SABC does not continue to leak funds due to corruption. The new Minister must ensure that all new staff, especially top management are properly qualified, vetted against corrupt activities and are experienced for the task at hand,” Shinn said.
“Corrective action must now be taken to prevent any further rot.”