PRESS RELEASE – 19 OCTOBER 2011
BROADCASTING, ELECTRONIC, MEDIA AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION
The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) is demanding the resignation of the Chairperson of the SABC Board, Dr Ben Ngubane, says Mr Hannes du Buisson, President of the Union. He says Dr Ngubane’s statement on 18 October 2011 to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications that a senior SABC official, Mr Justice Ndaba, is an “outsider” (consultant) and not a permanent employee of the SABC, was a blatant lie and the last straw.
SABC staff records show that Mr Justice Ndaba was appointed by an SABC Board Member in the Corporation’s Turnaround Planning Unit (TPU) on a one-year Fixed-term Contract. This was done outside of the SABC’s approved governance structures and recruitment processes. At the time, Mr Solly Mokoetle (former Group Chief Executive of the SABC) raised the same issue with the Board. Mr Ndaba was then reassigned by the Chairperson of the Board to act as Head of Strategy as well as Head of Human Capital Services – still as a permanent employee. Dr Ngubane is acutely aware of this appointment, and of the fact that Mr Ndaba is a senior employee and acting Group Executive of the SABC. Mr Ndaba has attended all Board Meetings. Dr Ngubane signed off the SABC's Financial Statements, the very same presented in Parliament yesterday.
The question arises whether he had not read the financial statements? On page 140 of the Annual Report, Mr Ndaba is listed as Senior Management, Acting Group Executive, earning a salary of R450 000 for the 2010/11 fiscal.
It is misconduct in the extreme to lie to Parliament – dismissible misconduct. The same type of misconduct the honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Mr Kholwane, referred to yesterday when the issue of the former CFO of ICASA was discussed. BEMAWU wishes to applaud Mr Kholwane andmembers of the Portfolio Committee for the manner in which they have interrogated ICASA about the “golden handshake” given to ICASA’s former CFO. This will most certainly send a strong message to every board of every organisation answerable to Parliament, not to work recklessly with tax money. There is risk involved in all disciplinary action and litigation, and to pay senior management enormous sums of money for fear of those risks is wrong and liable.
BEMAWU’s request to Dr Ngubane for certain information has simply been ignored. The Union has reason to believe that the Company Secretary, Ms Thelma Melk, has been suspended without a Board resolution. Ms Melk is not a BEMAWU member, but we are concerned about corporate governance not being complied with by the Chairperson of the Board. We have requested a copy of the Board resolution to suspend Ms Melk. To date, the Union has not received a reply, let alone the requested resolution. We are of the view that the Company Secretary is being victimised and pushed out because of her insistence on adherence to corporate governance.
Furthermore, the SABC Board under the leadership of Dr Ngubane refused and/or failed to approve the tender originally won by Wesbank to supply SABC News with rental vehicles. This resulted in an untenable situation, with news crews virtually grounded for as long as six months and not being able to cover stories. This has severely damaged the SABC’s reputation and name and has made SABC News the laughing stock of the news fraternity. In the process, the SABC failed in its public service broadcasting mandate to inform, educate and entertain South Africans.
According to a Sunday newspaper, the Chairperson of the Board refused to co-operate in an Internal Audit investigation into Mr Ndaba's appointment. The Sunday Times reports that Dr Ngubane also refused to release a report from Stuart Spencer, a recruitment consultant who had interviewed Mr Ndaba prior to hisappointment. SABC Spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, has denied this, saying that the Chairperson had ordered the investigation. If this is true, why doesn’t he make available Spencer Stuart’s report?
Issued by: Hannes du Buisson
President: Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU)
19 October 2011