Interim SABC board to sue licence fee collection agency

LornaVision’s contract was set aside after the agency approached the courts in an attempt to hold the public broadcaster liable for outstanding payments.

The SABC interim board will be suing licence fee collection agency LornaVision following a court ruling that its contract with the public broadcaster was irregularly awarded.

Interim board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama yesterday told parliament’s communication portfolio committee that as a result of the contract award being set aside, the SABC would put processes in place to recover millions of rands paid to the company.

Kweyama was giving feedback on the work done by the interim board in implementing recommendations made by the ad hoc committee that was set up to investigate the rot at the SABC.

LornaVision’s contract was dismissed and set aside after the agency approached the courts in an attempt to hold the SABC liable for outstanding payments.

“Not only did they lose, but that contract has been set aside and we are able to make a claim against LornaVision from the time the contract was instituted,” said Kweyama.

She also told MPs the SABC had decided to withhold the pension pay-outs of axed former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, along with that of former CFO and acting CEO James Aguma, following a legal process underway to recover money from the pair.

The SABC is looking to recover a R11 million bonus paid to Motsoeneng for negotiating a deal with MultiChoice.

Parliamentarians were also told the SABC lost R183 million in TV advertising revenue and a further R29 million for radio due to Motsoeneng’s decision for the public broadcaster to air 90% local content across its mediums.

“These figures exclude the additional costs of R72 million for the replacement of local content and losses due to unused foreign rights already contracted,” Kweyama said.

She said the interim board had decided to withdraw the SABC’s decision to review former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s investigation report into the SABC which found, among others, that Motsoeneng had lied about his qualifications and recommended that he be disciplined.

Kweyama said the SABC interim board had been working closely with the SIU and that information had been handed to the unit.

She said an office was already set up for the SIU to operate from when President Jacob Zuma issued a proclamation to have the broadcaster’s shoddy and irregular deals investigated.

She added that the SABC would not necessarily wait for the SIU’s investigations to commence for the interim board to institute criminal charges where wrongdoing was found.

“The board is considering the institution of criminal charges against those employees who allegedly participated in criminal activity,” Kweyama said.