Some current and former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) executives found to have been complicit in mismanagement could now be held criminally liable.
A Parliamentary Committee probing the SABC concluded its work on Friday, adopting its final report which also implicates Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
The committee found there was serious mismanagement, political interference and a series of unlawful appointments, some apparently aided by Muthambi.
The ad-hoc committee is calling for a reputable independent company to conduct a forensic investigation into irregular appointments, suspicious contracts and salary increases.
It also wants the in-coming board to ensure the positions of group CEO, COO and CFO are filled by qualified and experienced professionals.
Chairperson Vincent Smith says the report will be going to Parliament and President Jacob Zuma.
“Hopefully out of that there could be referral to the Public Protector, referral to the court and so on.”
Other recommendations are that the SABC’s current editorial policy be scrapped and members of the public be involved in crafting the broadcaster’s new editorial guidelines.
If the report is adopted in the National Assembly, those who gave false information to the inquiry will also be investigated.
The parliamentary inquiry has called for the board to be dissolved and an interim one to be appointed.
Smith believes the inquiry’s report will ensure there’s no repetition.
“We are fairly satisfied that if the recommendations are implemented, first of all adopted by the House and implemented, the goal of getting the SABC from a position where it was when we started to a better place, is guaranteed.”
MUTHAMBI NOT FIT TO HOLD OFFICE
Parliamentarians have questioned the reliability of Muthambi’s evidence before an inquiry into the SABC board.
Members of Parliament had been going swiftly through the interim report, before getting stuck on the SABC’s Memorandum of Incorporation (MoI) signed by Muthambi.
The Democratic Alliance’s Mike Waters raised concern that Muthambi had told the inquiry she submitted the MoI when that was not the case.
“The fact that there’s so many inconsistencies in the minister’s testimony before the committee shows that she actually is an unreliable witness.”
African National Congress MP Juli Kilian said the issue has to be reviewed in parliamentary transcripts.
“She stated that she submitted it and evidence shows that no such document was in fact lodged.”
The ad hoc committee eventually agreed after consultation with legal advisors that the MoI is invalid because documentation was never properly filed.
(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)