Instability continues at SABC
The SABC board has been rocked by yet another power struggle. Chairman Ben Ngubane yesterday asked parliament to remove fellow board member Cawekazi Mahlati from her position.
At a meeting of the portfolio committee on communications, Ngubane tabled a motion of no confidence in Mahlati, telling MPs she was a disruptive element within the board.
"It's a sad matter this; we thought we had turned the corner at the SABC, but the board has degenerated into serious dysfunctionality because one board member continuously attacks the company secretary and continuously attacks other board members," he said.
Mahlathi had campaigned for the removal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operation officer because he had frustrated the processing of a tender she appeared to have had an interest in, Ngubane said.
"The minutes, which I hope we sent to you, would show that this board member was punting Atos as a supplier, which would have cost us R500-million outside of proper tender procedures," he said.
Mahlati could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Ngubane revealed that the SABC board had referred two letters of grievance against Mahlati, one from suspended news chief Phil Molefe, the other from former chief financial officer Lerato Nage.
"Subsequent to that, there have been serious breaches of order at board meetings, so another two sets of votes of no confidence were taken, and I take it that the committee has those letters," said Ngubane.
"This board is going to be highly dysfunctional as long as this member continues to be given the freedom to do what she wants. We are recommending to the committee [that it] look at this matter and request it to suspend this individual while it considers what the final decision will be," Ngubane said.
His deputy, Thami Ka-Plaatjie said Ngubane's proposal had the unanimous support of the SABC board.
Eric Kholwane, chairman of the communications committee, said it would consult the office of President Jacob Zuma on how to handle the matter because it was he who appoints board members.
As parliamentarians they would not, however, tolerate SABC board members fighting over tenders. "We are not going to hesitate to institute an inquiry to remove a board member who finds himself engaged in those things."