Members of the parliament seem not to settle for the reasons why the SABC is in deep crisis since James Aguma’s tenure as the SABC acting CEO.
Communication Minister announced on Wednesday that James Aguma was no longer the acting CEO of the broadcaster.
This announcement follows a decision by members of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) who accused him of skipping the meeting so as to avoid being questioned about the illegal appointment of a firm to investigate irregular expenditure of R5.1 billion at the public broadcaster. Members of Scopa on Wednesday accused Aguma of
The committee further noted that Aguma could “run but cannot hide” as they will definitely find out facts about the illegal contract, as well as the rot that beset the broadcasting firm during his tenure.
Though Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, during her announcement of Aguma’s removal, refrained from discussing issues surrounding Scopa’s planned suspension of Aguma, the ANC believes there is more to it than meet the eyes on the issue.
“What I will do is to take to heart what you have said and your support, and the board will act in a correct manner,” said Dlodlo to the SABC workers, adding that she was taking into consideration the views of the committee.
The investigative firm was appointed at a cost of R25 million over three years.
Deputy chairperson of the SABC interim board Mathatha Tsedu said the committee must allow the board to act legally as it “would be amiss of us to act like that,” he said.
Among several other striving issues, Scopa said it wanted Aguma to explain why he failed to inform the SABC interim board that he filed an affidavit in support Hlaudi Motsoeneng and to say why he authorised the suspended SABC boss’s media conference.
Scopa also said it wanted answers on how the firm was appointed at a cost of R25m to deal with irregular expenditure, and why it had not been reined in. The members said the SABC had flouted supply chain management procedures in the appointment of the company.
Scopa chairperson Themba Godi also raised concern on how the broadcaster’s officials destroyed some documents which could link them to the truth in the SABC crisis.
Meanwhile, ANC’s MP Vincent Smith of the ANC and his colleague Nyami Booi produced minutes of the SABC executives’ meeting in 2014 which revealed that the committee members were fighting over the contract.
Smith warned that the destruction of documents at the SABC was a deliberate plan by the officials to get rid of the evidence that could have them implicated.
“Let’s call a spade a spade. The destruction of the records is to destroy incriminating evidence,” said Smith.
“This is unacceptable,” he added.
Smith’s comments gained the support of another ANC MP Nthabiseng Khunou who called for actions to be taken against those who destroyed documents at the SABC.
“I agree with you, chairperson, heads have to roll. That is why there is the withdrawal of documents, people are hiding (information). As much as we agree Aguma is a problem, we can’t shift the blame. Where are your documents?” asked Khunou.
DA’s David Roos, however, raised concern over different contract figures presented by the SABC. He said when they met with the SABC in March, they were told the contract was for R4m, but on Thursday they were shocked to learn it was actually R25m.
The EFF’s Vuyo Mente also raised alarm on this contradiction, saying that the deceived them by putting different figures on the contract.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa of the IFP said the SABC had gone rogue and called for an inquiry into Aguma.