Marian Shinn. Image courtesy of The Democratic Alliance.
The resignation of South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) group chief operating officer (COO) Lulama Mokhobo is proof of how “dysfunctional” the state broadcaster has become, according to shadow minister of communications for the Democratic Alliance (DA) Marian Shinn.
HumanIPO reported yesterday on the resignation of Mokhobo with effect from February 28, with the SABC saying her reasons for leaving were “personal and confidential”, though she has allegedly been a focus of the public protector’s investigation into the SABC for abuse of power and misadministration.
Shinn said the SABC was clearly in a state of crisis and called for the release of the public protector’s report.
“While I am unaware of the specifics of the events leading up to Ms Mokhobo’s resignation it was patently clear that she was intimidated by the acting chief operating officer, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who wields considerable power, and she could not cope with the exceptional pressures of dealing with a dysfunctional, multi-billion rand corporation,” she said.
“Together they were condemned in the provisional Public Protector’s report that was leaked last year: Mr Motsoeneng for his “unlawful” behaviour and Ms Mokhobo for her “improper conduct”. I urge the Public Protector to release her report so urgent corrective action can be taken.”
Shinn said minister of communications Yunus Carrim must “arrest the perpetual management crisis” at the state broadcaster, which now does not have any permanent executives, but only acting appointees.
“The SABC is without a doubt in a state of crisis and options such as judicial management should be considered,” she said. “I urge Minister Carrim, who has no doubt seen the public protector’s report and has received regular feedback from the task team he appointed to look into the SABC, to publicly state what interim measures can immediately be taken to arrest the management crisis at the broadcaster and what government intervention is being contemplated in the near future.”
HumanIPO reported last month the DA has released its Communications Policy to form part of its 2014 election manifesto, calling for the breakup of the SABC into separate commercial entities.
The party proposed public hearings to consider whether or not South Africa needs a public broadcaster at all, and contended the SABC be broken up and sold to the highest bidder.
Shinn said Mokhobo should not be able to escape any charges that may result from the public protector’s report simply because she had resigned.
“Ms Mokhobo’s resignation should not enable her to slip the possibility of any charges of maladministration that may be put to her for what the public protector said was an “abuse of power and improper conduct in the appointments and salary increments of Mr Motsoeneng and Ms (Sully) Motsweni”,” she said.
“During the past year the financial state of the SABC again failed to meet the financial performance targets set out in the government guarantee, failed to improve revenue and sponsorship targets and received a disclaimer of opinion – the worst possible finding by the Auditor-General.
“This is not an executive management performance that deserves a golden handshake.”
Last year the SABC was plagued with a series of resignations, including those of chairman Ben Ngubane and his deputy Thami ka Plaatjie in March, with positions not yet filled on a permanent basis.