DA calls for SIU report on SABC

Marian Shinn, DA shadow minister of communications has called for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to conduct a report on the status of its investigation into SABC corruption.

SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane and his deputy, Thami ka Plaatjie, have resigned, the public broadcaster reported on Monday (11 May).

“I have written to Sikhumbuzo Kholwane, chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications asking him to invite the SIU to appear before the committee as a matter of urgency to give us an impartial, unabridged report on the status of its investigation into SABC corruption, and the progress of various cases lodged with the SA Police Services,” Shinn said.

The shadow minister said she would also ask for the Auditor General and the National Treasury to provide an update on the state of governance at the SABC and its progress in meeting its loan obligations.

Shinn said that the fight, which has split the broadcaster’s board had drawn Communications minister Dina Pule into the fray as she motivates for the re-instatement of disgraced chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng. “It has also been revealed that an attorney briefed to investigate fresh corruption at the SABC has been disbarred.”

Shinn said that minister Pule’s instruction to the board to re-instate Motsoeneng is questionable as the board is responsible for making executive appointments and removals.

“The minister apparently caused disquiet among the board when she inserted Ms Gugu Dada into the selection process for chief financial officer. Ms Dada is currently suspended for financial irregularities.

“The fact that the minister Pule is intervening in this way demonstrates the lack of independence at the SABC and her inappropriate handling of the matter,” the DA said.

Shinn said that it is essential that the committee – and the South African public – are given categoric information, untainted by political and personal interests, on the SABC in order to better determine the public broadcaster’s future.

The DA noted that the options being discussed are to place the SABC under financial administration, to sell off the commercial stations and retain a core public broadcaster, and make it a Chapter Nine institution to guarantee its independence from political interference.

“I will request Mr Kholwane to respond to this request with urgency so the committee can honour its mandate to the electorate to take the best appropriate action to ensure stable and financially sound governance of public corporations,” Shinn said.

Last week, Pule asked Parliament to “urgently” review the fitness of the SABC board.

And on Monday, SABC radio news quoted communications spokesman Siya Qoza as saying President Jacob Zuma needed to decide whether to accept the resignations or not.

“Mrs Pule has been quite concerned about the goings on at the board at the SABC,” said Qoza.

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DA calls for SIU report on SABC