A forensic audit should be instituted into a controversial deal between the public broadcaster and MultiChoice in exchange for a 24-hour news channel and a review of the feasibility of the Gupta-sponsored TNA breakfast show – these are among the recommendations contained in a provisional report into the fitness of the SABC board (now without any members) to hold office.
The report was compiled by parliament’s ad hoc committee, which concluded its interviews on Friday after former SABC board chairpersons Ben Ngubane and Ellen Tshabalala appeared before it to account for their time in office.
The report comes ahead of planned deliberations by the committee on Thursday and Friday to finalise the document after input has been received from its members.
Here are the five key recommendations from the document:
1. It is recommended an interim SABC board should “institute an investigation into all irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure” amounting to more than R5 billion.
“And on conclusion of such investigation appropriate steps must be taken against employees who incurred or permitted irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure.”
2. Steps must be taken to recover irregular‚ fruitless and wasteful expenditure in instances where it can be recovered.
“In 2014‚ irregular expenditure incurred by SABC was R990.7 million‚ R2.4 billion was incurred in prior years but discovered in 2014 resulting to a cumulative figure of R3.4- billion. R441.2 million was incurred in 2016. In addition to this‚ R322.3 million was incurred in prior periods but identified in 2016‚ resulting in the escalation of irregular expenditure to R5.1 billion‚”
3. It recommends a further investigation into “all potential misleading or contradictory evidence relating to SABC board minutes‚ commercially sensitive documentation not provided‚ cost incurred by the SABC in hosting the TNA breakfast show”.
The SABC’s accounting authority “must review the feasibility of the business case of entering into agreements with rival TV stations so as to ensure that the SABC is not involved in any cross-subsidation to the competition. In all instances where such deals are in essence diverting resources from the SABC such deals must be terminated.”
The TNA breakfast shows, which feature government officials, are organised by the SABC and the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper.
4. Witnesses who misled parliament during the inquiry must be sanctioned.
5. Former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s 2014 report, When Governance and Ethics Fail, into the SABC – recommends its remedial actions should be implemented.
Read the full report below: