The commission of inquiry into state capture chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is hearing South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)-related testimony which evidence leader advocate Thandi Norman said would reveal that the capture of the media was part of state capture.
Norman said the evidence would show how skilled professionals were asked to leave the SABC and how executives “who could have protected the SABC” from capture were asked to “stay at home” while they were replaced by others appointed on an acting basis while receiving exorbitant remuneration.
Norman said HR expert at the SABC Jonathan Thekiso would go through contracts of people who were asked to leave even though they did not want to and how agreements were reached for them to exit the broadcaster.
She said these agreements involved these individuals being paid out amounts for the full term of their contracts after the employment was terminated, in certain cases, years before the term of the contract ended.
The commission is expected to hear testimony from current and former SABC employees, including some of the SABC 8 who were sacked a few years ago for speaking out against censorship at the national broadcaster.
Two of the SABC 8, namely Foeta Krige and Krivani Pillay, are expected to take the witness stand at the commission on Wednesday.
Ahead of the tea adjournment, Thekiso, the first on the witness stand, dealt with two contracts where former SABC employees were given short notice that their contracts would not be extended or renewed with no legitimate reasons being given by the broadcaster which could signal a form of “purging”.
However, Norman noted that Thekiso had not conclusively found there had been a “purging” of employees at the SABC but rather a suggestion it may have taken place.
Another contract tabled before the commission was terminated by the SABC after the employer had been working for the broadcaster for a month and a few days.
The total amount paid to various employees whose contracts were terminated during a certain period, including the aforementioned, was around R102 million.
Norman said Thekiso would return to the commission to give a detailed analysis of the termination of these contracts and the appointment of their replacements, as some of these appointments had allegedly been done irregularly.
Watch the proceedings live courtesy of eNCA: