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Parly offers advice to SABC board

by BuaNews Online
on 21 Oct 2010
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The SABC board has failed in executing its duties, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications said at its meeting with the broadcaster on Wednesday.

"In essence, the committee is of the view that the board has failed to provide coherent leadership and to ensure proper corporate governance over the SABC," said the committee.

It has recommended that the board and its chairman Ben Ngubane should approve a schedule of quarterly board meetings between now and December 2011. This schedule should be submitted to the committee on 10 November this year.

This after the board had failed to meet its statutory requirement of meeting on a quarterly basis.

"It has developed an unusual preference for running the affairs of the corporation through a series of ad-hoc and special meetings. In the committee's view, such an approach to corporate governance is decidedly unacceptable and must be corrected forthwith," it said.

The committee also recommended that a turn-around strategy for the public broadcaster must be tabled before it on 10 November 2010. The board is also required to present a written report on the same day about further progress about the Auditor General's investigation into alleged irregularities at the corporation.

"The committee notes with concern the emphasis contained in the Independent Auditor's Report in respect of non-compliance with the PFMA, Treasury Regulations and the Broadcasting Act. Of particular concern is the breach of relevant procurement processes. The committee notes that the financial position of the corporation remains precarious, and that the board has not been able to adopt a comprehensive turn-around strategy," it explained.

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma accepted the resignations of four board members namely the board's deputy chairperson Felleng Sekha as well as board members Barbara Masekela, David Niddrie and Makgatho Mello from the Department of Communications.

The 12-member SABC Board was appointed by Zuma in December 2009 and took over the reins from the interim board chaired by Irene Charnley in January 2010.

The Portfolio Committee urged the remaining board members to remember that they hold office in a crucially important entity that has an impact on the lives of many citizens. "Therefore, they should pay greater attention to their duties and responsibilities, and to the manner in which they carry out their duties."

It also expressed concern that the SABC's Annual Report lacked detail of its subsidiaries, and it was not clear whether these subsidiaries had been audited.

Other recommendations by the committee are that the board reports to it on staff including senior and middle management salary increases and benefits as of 2007 to date on 10 November.

It was also recommended that the board table a performance review report for the current year that includes a report on its functionality on 10 November 2010. - BuaNews

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