Call to sack SABC board member
THE SABC board has been rocked by yet another power struggle, with chairman Ben Ngubane asking Parliament to remove board member Cawekazi Mahlati from her position.
During a meeting of the portfolio committee on communications yesterday, Ngubane tabled a motion of no confidence in Mahlati, telling MPs that she was a disruptive element on the board and that her conduct during meetings had rendered the board dysfunctional.
"It's a sad matter. We thought we had turned the corner at the SABC, but . one board member continuously attacks the company secretary, continuously attacks other board members," said Ngubane.
He said the another problem was Mahlathi's attempt to campaign for the removal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operation officer because he had frustrated the processing of a tender she appeared to have an interest in.
"The minutes, which I hope we had sent to you, will show that this board member was punting Atos as a supplier, which would have cost us R500-million outside proper tender procedures," Ngubane reported.
Mahlati could not be immediately reached for comment.
He also revealed that the SABC board had referred two letters of grievances against Mahlati, one from suspended news chief Phil Molefe and former CFO Lerato Nage, in which they complained about Mahlati.
"Subsequent to that there have been serious breaches of order at board meetings, so another two sets of votes of no confidence were taken and I take it that the committee has those letters," said Ngubane.
"This board is going to be highly dysfunctional as long as this member continues to be given the freedom to do what she wants. We recommend to the committee (that) they look at this matter and ask them to suspend this individual while they consider what the final decision will be."
Ngubane's deputy, Thami Ka-Plaatjie, said Ngubane's proposal had the unanimous support of the entire SABC board.
"It is a regrettable move that we support but her continued conduct has been very disruptive to say the least . undermining the chairman, the procedures . so I venture to suggest that sentiments expressed by the chair have our full support," Ka-Plaatjie said.
Eric Kholwane, an ANC MP who is also chairman of the communications committee, said they would consult the office of President Jacob Zuma on how to handle the matter because it was the president who appointed members of the SABC board.
But he said as parliamentarians they would not tolerate a situation in which a SABC board member fought over tenders.
"We are not going to hesitate even for one moment to institute an inquiry to remove a board member who finds himself engaged in those things," said Kholwane.