“The department of communications did not budget for or spend on the Thank You SABC music concert,” Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said yesterday, responding to a question from the Democratic Alliance on Wednesday.
“The Thank You SABC concert was an initiative hosted and coordinated by Phumelela Group at Orlando Stadium to thank the SABC and the board for its endeavours to develop local music/content.
“Costs pertaining to the event would have been directed and charged to the organisers by all service providers contracted to the event.”
She said while the SABC was not directly involved, it made a contribution of R2 695 750.50 to the Phumelela Group. The SABC recently cited a more than R400 million loss during its 2015/16 financial year.
The Thank You SABC Music Concert was held on September 10 at Orlando Stadium.
She further told the party that the SABC had appointed an executive search company to assist the board with the filling of the position of group chief executive officer (GCEO) with a suitably qualified and experienced individual.
The minister was responding to the DA’s questions for a written reply on whether the vacancy of the GCEO of the SABC had been advertised since the conclusion of the out-of-court settlement with the former GCEO, Frans Matlala.
Muthambi has been fingered for having compromised the SABC board by ensuring that her “homeboy” becomes the chairperson of the board.
Political analyst Prince Mashele lashed out at Muthambi for having influenced the appointment of her friend as chairperson of the board. Both Muthambi and board chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe are from the Vhembe (former Venda) area of Limpopo.
Mashele said Maguvhe’s appointment was a deliberate strategy by Muthambi’s department and the government to micromanage the board’s decisions.
“This board was carefully selected by politicians who wanted it to do their bidding,” Mashele told The Citizen.
He said the fact that the chairperson is from Venda and the minister too should raise alarm.
“Only a blind person cannot see the connection between the two in the manner the board is operating and making its decisions. The minister wants Hlaudi [Motsoeneng] and the board has to reappoint him. They were probably instructed to do what they did,” Mashele said.
Mashele said the “homeboy” and “homegirl” relationship between Maguvhe and Muthambi had rendered the board dysfunctional so that the minister could manipulate them.
Regarding Wednesday’s sudden resignation by two board members, human rights lawyers Krish Naidoo and Vusi Mavuso, Mashele said the move pointed to a divided board.
“This should not come as a surprise as it shows that the board has been factionalised between those who refused to be dictated to by the chairperson and the minister and those who support them.