South Africa 26.4.2017 10:26 am

SABC financial situation: ‘It’s bad. It’s bad,’ says interim board chair

FILE PICTURE: The SABC building in Auckland Park. Picture: WikiMedia Commons/Mike Powell

FILE PICTURE: The SABC building in Auckland Park. Picture: WikiMedia Commons/Mike Powell

Khanyisile Kweyama says when the board was appointed, they were not even sure the SABC would meet its March payroll.

Chairperson of the SABC’s interim board Khanyisile Kweyama on Tuesday revealed that the public broadcaster was facing a financial crisis, saying there were doubts about whether salaries would be paid at the end of the month, EWN reported.

Kweyama, who has been at the job along with her four fellow interim board members since the end of March, when asked to describe the SABC’s financial woes, said: “It’s bad. It’s bad …”

She said when board was appointed, they were not even sure if the SABC would be able to meet its March payroll or for this month.

“The only light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that we were able to pay salaries and some creditors at the end of this month,” she said.

Kweyama could not estimate how much the board would require from National Treasury to continue with its operations but said: “We’re definitely looking for at least R1 billion.”

The board chairperson also said they wanted suspended controversial SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng to be afforded a fair disciplinary hearing when his proceedings get under way.

The interim board is expected to finalise matters around his disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, according to the report.

Motsoeneng’s defiant press conference

Meanwhile, Motsoeneng’s legal representative, Advocate Zola Majavu, on Tuesday accused the interim board of dealing unfairly with his client. He accused the board of failing to timeously institute disciplinary hearings against Motsoeneng within 14 days of its appointment.

TimesLIVE reported on Tuesday the former SABC COO has been served with fresh disciplinary charges for allegedly bringing the broadcaster into disrepute after attacking the interim board and mocking a parliamentary inquiry into the affairs of the SABC at his press conference last week.

The interim board reportedly wanted Motsoeneng to explain why he should not be summarily dismissed in a letter it sent to his lawyers last Friday. However, Majavu said this violated labour laws.

“[It is unprocedural], and that’s the point. What the interim board was supposed to do was to institute a disciplinary inquiry against him as per the court order within 14 days of their appointment.

“They have not done that. Instead what they did‚ they latched on the fact that he addressed a press conference‚ rightly or wrongly. They are now latching on that‚ saying, ‘tell us why you should be not be dismissed’,” Majavu was quoted as saying.

Last year, the Western High Court found Motsoeneng’s appointment as SABC group executive of corporate affairs unlawful and irrational.

The court barred him from being appointed to any position at the SABC until he faced a satisfactory disciplinary hearing or until the findings and remedial action contained in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report into the public broadcaster get reviewed and set aside by another court.

The new SABC board, following its appointment, was supposed to deliver a letter setting out the disciplinary charges against Motsoeneng within two weeks, according to the judgment.

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