Government sets record straight on SABC probe

Friday, June 30, 2017

Pretoria – Government says the article titled “SABC promotions to be probed in house”, which appeared in The Times on Wednesday, has not accurately reflected Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo’s views on the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) probe into the SABC.

“The Times Live article dated 28 June 2017 titled “SABC promotions to be probed in house” failed entirely to capture the context and intent of the Minister of Communications in her input on the work proposed to be undertaken by the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) at the SABC,” said the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) on Thursday. 

The GCIS said after the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the SABC Board Inquiry and the subsequent appointment of the SABC Interim Board, work is underway to turn around the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Interventions include addressing corporate governance lapses, investigating alleged corruption and maladministration, and correcting the financial position of the entity.

The SABC board has been in talks with the SIU on the investigations and subsequently, the SIU has approached the President for a proclamation that would enable them to commence their work. 

Minister Dlodlo recently attended a meeting as part of the oversight work of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) at the SABC. This meeting included the SABC Interim Board and the SIU. The meeting discussed the role and mandate of the SIU in the investigative work that they will undertake at the SABC.

The meeting discussed the capacity and strength of the internal forensic unit and its role in supporting the work of the SIU. In assessing the internal forensic unit, it was found that this unit was severely understaffed and incapacitated.

“The Minister’s intervention was to impress upon the Interim Board the need to urgently capacitate that unit from a personnel point of view. In addition, the SIU work at the SABC should be leveraged to enhance the technical capacity of this unit to enable them to implement some of the recommendations that will emanate from the SIU’s report, once the investigation is completed. 

“It was in that context that a proposal was made that matters, which can be handled by the internal forensic unit, should be handled as such. This, it was felt, would also assist the SIU to focus on major issues, inter alia, including unlawfully awarded contracts, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and irregularly awarded bonuses,” said the GCIS.

As part of a comprehensive change management process, Minister Dlodlo undertook to facilitate a team of experts to be seconded from the public service to assist in strategic management areas where weaknesses have been identified. 

“It remains the Minister’s view that the collapse of human resources systems has largely contributed to the current challenges at the SABC. The Minister has noted that there are skilled people available within the SABC, however, bad management practices and a culture of impunity have made it difficult for them to carry out their work efficiently.

“The Minister’s approach is to champion a change management process at the SABC in line with her role as the shareholder representative.  This approach is aimed at utilising these processes to revitalise governance frameworks, structures, systems, and procedures to ensure that once these processes are complete, the SABC will be able to deliver on its mandate.

“We must also be cognisant of the fact that the SIU operates on a cost recovery basis. While the public appreciates the huge responsibility to undo years of pillaging of resources, we must take care not to be profligate.

“On the irregular expenditure that was condoned, the Minister advised that this should not be investigated, in view of the cost factor. We have a responsibility to apply our minds in the means we employ to achieve our strategic objectives and ensure a correlation between these two,” the GCIS said. –

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