SABC says it's dealing with cases against staff left 'by the previous management'

The SABC says it has been dealing with delinquent staff members at the broadcaster.

Cases against staff members under investigation include fraud, mismanagement, sexual harassment, editorial interference, irregular salary increases and irregular appointments. 

"Some of the cases date back a number of years, but were left unresolved or simply abandoned by the previous management," SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said in a statement on Thursday. 

Mthembu has been inundated with media queries regarding consequence management actions affecting a number of its employees. 

"Some of the employees are going through disciplinary processes, while others are either suspended or have been dismissed. The [SABC] believes it is necessary to provide clarity on this matter."

'Systematic collapse'

The disciplinary processes that the SABC is actively pursuing are informed by recommendations emanating from the following:

- The report of the former public protector titled "When Governance and Ethics Fail", issued on February 17, 2014;

- The Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee Report published on February 27, 2017;

- A number of internal audit forensic reports;

- The Special Investigating Unit reports.

"All the above-mentioned reports detail malfeasance, systematic collapse of good corporate governance and complete disregard of financial management systems within the SABC.

"Moreover, the auditor general recorded a series of adverse findings against the public broadcaster, pointing to a severe deterioration of governance provisions.

'Irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure'

"Many of the affected employees were implicated in transactions amounting to R5.2bn (as at June 30, 2019) of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, as well as PFMA (Public Finance Management Act) and SABC Procurement Policy breaches. Some of the cases point to downright criminal activities," Mthembu said. 

The SABC is currently dealing with a number of disciplinary cases. A total of 186 of the cases that were investigated by the SABC's forensic unit are from the past fiscal year.

"Almost all of these cases point to a sustained culture of impunity and a total collapse of internal controls. The SABC is committed to ensuring that due processes are followed. The corporation also wants to put on record that the disciplinary processes will be implemented regardless of rank or tenure, and are not meant to purge anyone," Mthembu said.  

She added that it is the responsibility of the leadership team to stabilise the SABC, strengthen governance and ensure that the integrity of the institution is restored.