SABC board blasts ‘rogue’ Kalidass
The new SABC board has lambasted board member Rachel Kalidass after she resigned suddenly on Thursday.
Chairman Bongumusa Makhathini said the board had only met three times‚ adding that for Kalidass to make allegations based on these meetings was “far-fetched and irresponsible”.
“We’re not going to allow rogue kind of people who get out of the board and go out there because they could not express their views in a structured and in a confidential manner‚” Makhathini said.
In her resignation letter to President Jacob Zuma‚ shared with MPs‚ Kalidass asked to be released as a board member with immediate effect.
She stated that the “current environment is not conducive to me fulfilling my full term”.
She said at the core of her resignation was the process followed to appoint the broadcaster’s new group CEO and chief operating officer.
Kalidass said the preferred candidates were interviewed for the positions on October 31. She said she registered concerns about the first choice for the CEO position as he had allegations of fraud and corruption hanging over his head‚ as well as a strong conflict of interest.
Nine board members were present at the press conference‚ held at the broadcaster’s offices in Auckland Park‚ Johannesburg‚ on Thursday night. Makhathini said the statement released at the press conference reflected the view of the board.
He claimed there were errors in Kalidass’s resignation letter‚ which the board believed “mischaracterise (sic) her actions”.
He said Kalidass did not voice her concerns on October 31.
“When she raised them later‚ board members questioned why she alone (sic) had failed to raise concerns when she had the candidate available to respond.”
Kalidass said she had approached ANC MP Mondli Gungubele with her concerns on November 4 and 6 but was taken to task by board members‚ who accused her of breaching confidentiality.
“We will not disclose any of the six candidates at this stage … We don’t want to mess up the jobs where they are now until we know that we are ready to offer them a position.”
Kalidass does not name the candidate for the group CEO position‚ but DA MP Phumzile van Damme identified him in a statement as Alan Mukoki.
Van Damme said although Mukoki was “eminently qualified” for the position‚ his track record in the public sector made him “wholly unsuitable” for the post.
She said Mukoki was accused of diverting R2-billion meant for emerging farmers without board approval when he was CEO of the Land Bank in 2007.
Mukoki said in a statement of his own that it would be “inappropriate to respond to questions about another organisation when I work elsewhere”.
He said he had not been offered the SABC post.
On the Land Bank issue‚ he said claims that he had diverted funds were “patently untrue”‚ adding that the Deloitte report on which the claims were based was later found to be “flawed and irregularly produced.”
It had been rescinded by Cabinet in 2007‚ he said.
Makhathini said the board was aware of “some allegations”‚ but wanted to conduct its own investigation to ensure candidates were not falsely accused.
The search for a CEO and COO is still ongoing.
Deputy Chairperson Febe Potgieter-Gqubule refused to confirm if Mukoki was the candidate in question. She said final due diligence was done only once a final candidate had been identified.
“We will not disclose any of the six candidates at this stage … We don’t want to mess up the jobs where they are now until we know that we are ready to offer them a position.” – Additional reporting by Bianca Capazorio
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