SABC 'sex saga' bigwig faces suspension

23 October 2011 - 04:23 By SIBUSISO NGALWA
Justice Ndaba
Justice Ndaba

SABC head of human resources Justice Ndaba faces suspension after the public broadcaster's board asked for a complete report on why he was given the boot from an international business course.

The Sunday Times has learnt that the board on Friday ordered acting group CEO Phil Molefe to request a report from the University of the Witwatersrand on why Ndaba, who claims he dropped out of the course, did not complete the international executive development programme.

The course cost the SABC R246000, including R52000 for business-class tickets.

The furore comes amid claims, reported by the Sunday Times last week, that Ndaba was kicked out during the London leg last month amid an alleged incident involving prostitutes.

He has denied involvement in the incident and said he left the course after being requested to return by Molefe.

A senior executive said Ndaba would be suspended soon.

The board also asked chairman Dr Ben Ngubane to write to recruitment firm Spencer Stuart to release to the SABC's internal audit unit a report on Ndaba's appointment. He was appointed despite a default judgment that precluded him from getting such a high-level position.

At Friday's heated board meeting, Ngubane came under attack from some members, who accused him of blocking the investigation.

Board members also questioned Ndaba's employment status after Ngubane told parliament's portfolio committee on communications this week that Ndaba was not an SABC employee, but a consultant.

This contradicts the broadcaster's own records, which state that Ndaba was appointed as head of the SABC's turnaround strategy on January 17 2011.

A day later, then acting chief executive Rob Nicholson appointed Ndaba as acting group executive for human capital services.

Parliament demanded to know why Ndaba was sent on the course at the SABC's expense in light of Ngubane's claim that he was merely an outside consultant. The committee also wants to know who appointed Ndaba.

Ngubane said he had not blocked the investigation into Ndaba. He said he had told the internal audit unit that Ndaba had not been appointed to head the SABC's human capital services, and his financial records were confidential.

"I never signed a letter appointing Ndaba as head of strategy. The only appointment I signed ... we were appointing him as a consultant.

"This [other] one was done [by Nicholson] ... he signed that with Justice. In fact, I saw that letter [on Friday]. I did not realise that there was such an appointment. People say I lied to parliament ... I told parliament what I knew."