Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has confirmed that the SABC paid out settlements to four former top officials, including former CEO Frans Matlala, but refused to disclose the amounts involved, citing confidentiality.
This came in a written response to a parliamentary question by the DA, which threatened to take recourse to the Promotion of Access to Information Act should the amounts paid out not be disclosed in the SABC’s annual results later this month.
Matlala was suspended in November last year, just four months into a five-year contract, and agreed to leave a day before he was due to be hauled before a disciplinary panel.
Muthambi confirmed the broadcaster had reached settlement deals with former SABC head of internal audit Lorraine Francois, former head of legal services Mbulu Nepfumbada and head of technology Sipho Masinga.
“The separation agreement remains confidential between the parties. The amount paid out to them is part of the agreement which cannot be disclosed for any reason or whatsoever without prior written consent of the other party to disclose it,” Muthambi said in response to a written parliamentary question by the DA.
She added: “Lastly, these matters are disclosed transparently and will be available on the respective entities annual reports to be tabled in Parliament by end of September 2016.”
The current SABC management took the same position in a meeting with the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications last month.
DA communications spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said the termination of the contracts of the four was further indication of a political purge of staff at the public broadcaster.
“The out-of-court settlements, including to former GCEO Frans Matlala, reveal what appears to be a purge of senior staff who have either spoken out, or commissioned reports about corruption at the SABC.
“The DA will submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to get full disclosure of the amounts paid off to the senior executives should this not be disclosed in the SABC’s annual report due to be released later this month.”
– African News Agency (ANA)