Photo by Steven Lang
The insistence of ANC Secretary General Ace Magashule and the Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane, that the financially abandoned SABC withholds from losing jobs, goes beyond satire.
"All major events and personalities in world history appear again … The first time as tragedy, the second as farce. & # 39;
– Karl Marx
For about two decades, the government party, through various ministers of communication, has stacked non-existent parliamentary oversight and a board of directors with beloved presidents and members, assisted and intervened against gross mismanagement and ignoring laws of good governance with the public broadcaster .
The workers blame the ANC for the financial problems of SABC and not the management.
It was the ANC that grew up and grew up during the great patronage of patronage, formerly in disgruntled cases SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
King Hlaudi, Hurricane Hlaudi, or simply Hloudi, the self-proclaimed intellectual who broke a badly flawed SABC, is the love child of former ministers of communication Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, Dina Pule and Faith Muthambi together with former President Jacob Zuma and then Free State ANC Chairman, later Prime Minister and now ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule.
In other words, the usual suspects.
Various hand-picked board chairs, including the most vocal group of Motsoeneng, Ellen Tshabalala (chairman from 2013 to 2015 and who, as later determined, also had her qualifications falsified), Ben Ngubane (January 2010 to March 2013), and Mbulaheni Maguvhe (2015-2017) have all worked together to anchor and encourage the unrestrained abuse of power of Motsoeneng at the expense of the government.
Even after the stinging recommendations of the former public protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2014 report, When Governance and Ethics Fail, that revealed systemic failings of business management at the SABC under the supervision of Motsoeneng, he was still appointed for the best job.
The Farce About Ace (with a nod to Pieter-Dirk Uys) is not only that he is the secretary-general of the ANC who attends unscheduled meetings at the Maharani Hotel, but also that he was the first to come out of the blocks to announce to condemn the SABC board that the public service broadcaster was required to reduce the inflated R3.1 billion per year wages after reported losses of R622 million at the end of this fiscal year.
The public broadcaster's debt is at R1.3 billion. In August, the SABC board informed the Parliament's communication committee that on 15 August the broadcaster owed R694 million to the creditors, with further income of R475 million – with only R26 million at the end of that month.
It was in the Free State that Motsoeneng would launch his career, eventually moving from the offspring in the old Qwa Qwa to Bloemfontein before he recorded the public broadcaster as CEO, stowed his staff, paid himself a bonus of R11 million in 2016, and insisted op on "sunshine journalism", while systematically managing the entity incorrectly and creating chaos in its wake.
Motsoeneng got away with it because of the non-existent parliamentary and regulatory oversight, a situation described by the South African Editor's Forum (SANEF) as "a dark period".
There seemed to be nothing on the path that the ANC had paved for Motsoeneng. Until everything imploded, as later revealed, to audible faltering to the ad hoc committee of inquiry of Parliament in the SABC board and established in November 2016.
Magashule, after the announcement of proposed cuts to the staff, published a public statement threatening the new administration and said: "The ANC has made a decision and I speak on behalf of the president that we should not allow any cuts, even in our SoEs, with the SABC .. we must not allow people to withdraw. "
However, old habits, especially in the ANC, die hard, especially after years of growing accustomed to treating SoEs as party food troughs.
The SABC board immediately retracted, informed Magashule that it "noted with concern" the SG and the ANC & # 39; s statement, but be careful that the board, in the case of Magashule or the ANC might not be aware, executive in terms of section 13 (11) of the Broadcasting Act, 1999 to "review the affairs of the Corporation".
"This includes the way in which the SABC carries out the activities of the public broadcaster and maintains industrial relations with its employees, "said SABC spokesperson Neo Modumo.
Meanwhile, the South African editorial forum also struck back in a statement stating that the cruelty of the situation is that employees are at the end of years of leadership abuse and negligence.
The new SABC board quickly revealed its independence, refused to be intimidated or played by politicians, as early as January 2018 when it was revealed by Daily Maverick that GCIS, through the spokesperson of the Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlaimini, Lumka Oliphant, had paid the SABC R149,000 for an "interview" with the then minister on the SABC3-show of Anele Mdoda Really talking to Anele.
Immediately thereafter, the SABC board made a statement in which the deal ceased and that the charging of interviews was "a violation of organizational practice".
"We do not ask for sponsorship for programs that are part of a marketing campaign to communicate a program or policy from a department or customer, "SABC said at the time.
Fast forward to the current dispute: after the board defended its position against Magashule's statement, communications minister Nomvula Mokonyane wagered and said the SABC "ignored the department's advice despite several meetings".
"As a shareholder, our firm belief is that any austerity operation must be a last resort and an integral part of a holistic, well-formulated and broadly transformed turnaround plan to steer the SABC towards future financial sustainability, "Mokonyane said in a statement.
She expressed concern at the fact that the SABC turnaround strategy – including proposed plans to close offices in regions & cuts and cutbacks – had no detail as to how otherwise the money would attract and save costs.
"The SABC is a national asset and as a public broadcaster, its well-being is not the exclusive domain of the board and management, but of all stakeholders who are interested in sustainability, "she said.
William Bird, director of the Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), said the board was right to push back against Magashule and the ANC's statement and that the Minister's answer could be seen as an opposition to the status of the Board of Directors.
MMA and the Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) issued a statement on Tuesday in which they stated "with alarm" the statement of Mokonyane.
"There are too many statements in her statement that are simply not true and that need to be corrected urgently, "read a joint statement.
Although Mokonyane claimed that the SABC board advised & # 39; advice and support from the shareholder. had ignored, she seemed to have forgotten, said SOS and MMA, that it was the Treasury who had insisted on the cuts as a condition for a previous rescue operation, which had not been observed.
"Her statement that the board has insisted on austerity as the most important and only solution is simply not true. The SABC has made extensive public proposals for its turnaround strategy, which deals with a number of issues, not just staff numbers, as was discussed last week at a colloquium on public broadcast, a department for communication, "the statement said.
Mokonyane's statement also that SABC health "is not the exclusive domain of staff and management" was incorrect in law as Section 12 (11) of the Broadcasting Act specifically stipulated that the SABC board " the corporation governs "while paragraph 13 (13) made it clear that the SABC board was" the accounting authority of the company ".
"The statement represents a shocking and unlawful attempt to re-position the minister in order to interfere in the management of the SABC's business under the guise of the shareholder's representative & # 39; to be. "
Losing one's job in the midst of a severe economic recession is a frightening and terrible prospect in the country where a salary often supports several people. Fighting for the rights of the SABC workers who are about to be released is a task for the unions and not for the ANC, which is primarily responsible for the problem and the chaos.
MMA and SOS doubted the bona fide side of "those who claim to cut back at the moment, have stood still when the SABC was engaged in reckless recruitment and salary inflation during the period of the previous administrative and governance statutes ineffectual and wasteful spending".
The Mokonyane statement, said MMA and SOS, turned out to be "a cheap election game to protect the ruling party from the consequences of its disastrous intervention in the SABC council and management issues in the last decade".
Meanwhile, the findings of two investigations instituted by the SABC, one in editorial interference and another on sexual harassment, are allegedly explosive and are expected to result in criminal prosecution.
Announcement of the two committees, Acting CEO Nomsa Philiso said the station hoped as soon as the investigation was completed, that it could claim that "we have cleaned the first layer of human issues, we are not under any illusions that we have many problems".
In August 2014 the Court Nine with wooden panels at the Supreme Court of the Cape was fully loaded as five sides (senior counsel) and 11 lawyers seized the banks to present arguments in the application of the Democratic Alliance for an urgent interim ban to let Motsoeneng suspend as COO, a position he was appointed until July of that year. Muthambi had claimed at the time that a legal company had acquitted Motsoeneng from all the offenses.
Motsoeneng, clearly inspired by the legal strike strategy of UABaba's Staba, had incurred enormous legal costs for his illegal employment.
On the weekend it was revealed that former president Zuma reportedly put pressure on Gavin Watson & # 39; s Bosasa – African Global Operations – to settle the court costs of Motsoeneng made to challenge his "wrongful dismissal".
Muthambi had informed Parliament in 2015 that Motsoeneng's hefty legal bill would be paid by the "insurance" that the broadcaster concluded.
The Easter bunny is real. The truth is not the truth. Etc. DM
While we have your attention …
An increasingly rare product, independent quality journalism costs money – but not nearly as much as it does absence.
Every article, every day, is our contribution to Defensive truth in South Africa.
If you want to join us on this mission you could do much worse than support Daily Maverick's search by becoming one Maverick Insider.
click here to become one Maverick Insider and get one Look closer at the Truth.