SABC insulted by ‘no skills’ claim

SABC board chairperson, Zandile Tshabala has rubbished a report by financial services firm PwC, which stated that the public broadcaster’s leadership lacks essential thinking skills.

The report, which was presented to Parliament’s communication oversight committee on Tuesday (4 February), found that 56% of the broadcaster’s management were unable to demonstrate adequate problem solving levels and make critical decisions, and stated that the SABC also lacked skills for digital migration.

The independent audit report also revealed that:

  • 60% of executive and senior managers do not meet the minimum strategic thinking skills for executives;
  • 56% were unable to demonstrate adequate levels in solving problems and making decisions;
  • 15% demonstrated only marginal competence in strategic thinking; and
  • 35% of the group did not consider the financial information provided to them as a skills test during the audit.

Speaking on an SABC News, Tshabala derided the report, saying that its findings were insulting, unacceptable and highly questionable – while accusing the firm of using outdated methodologies and releasing the report to parliament before the executives had a chance to “interrogate” it.

“The report went to parliament before it got interrogated by the executive officers of [the] SABC – which is an anomaly,” Tshabala said.

According to the chairperson, the SABC executives had only been given a very brief presentation on the contents of the report. She conceded, however, that there were some delays on the part of the SABC management in processing and querying the report, “but that does not justify the demeaning statements of saying people are not thinking.”

“The report was instituted a few years ago – 2 years down the line, a lot of good has happened [at] the SABC. The demeaning statements, that the SABC officials ‘can’t think’, is totally unacceptable,” she said.

“What tools did they use to check to make an assessment of competences?” Tshabalala asked. “Because their competencies, like psychometric tests..[have] been thwarted (sic) many years ago.”

“That was a system used in a racially divided society to marginalise certain people.”

Tshabalala also alluded that the focus from print media on all the negative aspects of the report, spoke to a strong competitive agenda to keep digging at the broadcaster.

The executive pointed out that Icasa was also “lashed” in the report, but print media did not report on that, opting to maintain its stance against the SABC, because it remains “competition number one for print media”.

The SABC currently finds itself in a “management crisis”, according the DA, following the announcement last week that CEO, Lulama Mokhobo, would be resigning from her position.

A provisional report from Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, in late November 2013 called out Mokhobo and acting COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng for unlawful and improper conduct surrounding salary hikes, as well as abuse of power.

“The SABC is without a doubt in a state of crisis and options such as judicial management should be considered,” the DA said.

DA MP and shadow minister of communications, Marian Shinn, has called on communication minister Yunus Carrim to take drastic steps to address the failures at the SABC, and to consider implementing a management rescue plan.

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SABC insulted by ‘no skills’ claim