SABC board displays vicious in-fighting

2012-09-19 11:48
Cape Town – In a highly embarrassing public spectacle SABC board members on Tuesday lashed out at each other, airing shocking dirty laundry in parliament as both Cawe Mahlati and Dr Ben Ngubane went for the jugular.

In a sparring match as fascinating as it is scandalous, the persona non grata SABC board member Mahlati and SABC chairperson Ngubane launched scathing verbal attacks on each other.

The acrimonious display fully laid bare the true extent of the shockingly bitter atmosphere swirling at the SABC's highest level and the fracturous personality clashes between SABC executives.

There's no love lost between Mahlati and the rest of the SABC board who've unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in her and now want her gone. All of the internal squabbles and ugly in-fighting bubbled over on Tuesday in a cringeworthy, yet fascinating, fight.

It all started on Tuesday which was again a painful day for the SABC as the beleaguered public broadcaster's board was roasted in parliament for their shoddy report.

Members of parliament were not happy about the numerous unaddressed crises afflicting the broadcaster and the lack of specific answers and detail from the SABC.

The morning's session was a taste of even worse SABC behaviour to come.

Rampant maladministration, corruption

During the afternoon session, Mahlati launched a scathing attack on Ngubane saying that "Ngubane and his leadership of the SABC board has led to the dissolution of one SABC board already."

Mahlati told parliament's portfolio committee on communications that she is being singled out because she is the lone voice of reason and the voice which airs "all inconvenient truths which the SABC chairperson and some members of the SABC board seek to hide".

She also lashed out against "the rampant maladministration and corruption in the SABC board" under the "autocratic and patriarchal" leadership style of Ngubane.

And she didn't stop there. "Ngubane is of the view that he is the board and the other board members have allowed him to be as such," she said.

Disruptive behaviour

Meanwhile, members of parliament's communications committee heard that the allegations against Mahlati and the reason for the motion of no confidence in her include unethical behaviour and the failure to treat fellow SABC board members with respect and dignity.

Ngubane said the grievances lodged against Mahlati by the Special Monitoring Task Team are about her alleged disruptive behaviour. "Mahlati doubted and questioned every decision taken by the SABC board," Ngubane said.

Constant fighting

"The work of the SABC is being totally frustrated with this constant fighting, disagreements, wasting of a lot of time at SABC board meetings," said Ngubane.

"We have a problem. And that problem is advocate Cawe Mahlati," said SABC board member Suzanne Vos.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications will have to deliberate and decide on how to proceed with the latest squabbling and in-fighting within the SABC board.

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