'Pathological’ SABC needs to apologise

2014-02-18 10:08
Cape Town –  The Public Protector on Monday urged the "pathological" SABC to apologise to workers who’ve suffered prejudice and to start disciplinary proceedings against the broadcaster’s acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng who it said “should never have been appointed”.

The Public Protector’s final report into maladministration at the SABC urged the public broadcaster to “fill the long-outstanding, vacant position of the COO with a suitably qualified permanent incumbent within 90 days of this report".

The Public Protector's final report on Monday was scathing over rampant maladministration, abuse of power and widespread irregularities at the beleaguered SABC.

‘Pathological corporate governance deficiencies’

The Public Protector asked the SABC to issue public apologies to "all its former employees who had suffered prejudice due to the SABC management and SABC board's maladministration, involving failure to handle the administration of its affairs in accordance with the laws, corporate policies and principles of corporate governance".

"All the findings are symptomatic of pathological corporate governance deficiencies at the SABC, including failure by the SABC board to provide strategic oversight to the public broadcaster," said the Public Protector in the report.

Unilaterally increased salaries

The report found that Motsoeneng "unilaterally increased the salaries" of certain SABC staffers without properly following SABC Personnel Regulations and which contributed to balloon the SABC's salary bill with R29m.

The Public Protector's report said that Motsoeneng unilaterally increased the salaries of Sully Motsweni, Thobekile Khumalo, Hannes Du Buisson and certain freelancers without following Part IV of the SABC Personnel Regulations".

"These irregular and rapid salary progressions contributed to the public broadcaster's unprecedented salary bill escalation of R29m”.

“Hlaudi Motsoeneng's conduct in this regard was irregular and amounts to improper conduct and maladministration”.

Operated ‘above the law’

Meanwhile Motsoeneng "directly initiated the termination of the employment of Bernard Koma, Hosia Jiyane, Sello Thulo, Montlenyane Diphoko, Mapule Mbatathi and Ntswoaki Ramaphosa who participated in Motsoeneng's disciplinary hearing held in Bloemfontein," the Public Protector report found.

“Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been allowed by successive SABC boards to operate above the law, undermining the CEO among others, and causing the staff, particularly in the human resources and financial departments to engage in unlawful conduct," the report found.

The Public Protector urged the SABC board in the report to take disciplinary action against Motsoeneng over his dishonesty over his misrepresentation of qualifications, abuse of power and improper conduct in appointments and salary increases, and his involvement in "purging" senior SABC staff members.

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