Communications Minister Dina Pule has written an angry letter to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board over several actions she describes as “unprocedural”.
The letter, dated March 6 and a copy of which is held by the Mail and Guardian, centres around the suspension of chief financial officer (CFO) Gugu Duda and the removal of acting chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, which she described as “unprocedural”.
Pule’s dissatisfaction was expressed in a letter to SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane shortly after he and his deputy Thami ka Plaatjie resigned earlier this month.
The minister’s letter has angered some board members, who are now engaged in an ongoing spat with Pule over whether Motsoeneng’s removal as COO stands, with the minister stating he remains in place, which is refuted by the majority of the board.
Disagreement also centres around the suspension of Duda as CFO, over allegations of financial irregularities. Duda was said to be the minister’s choice for the position, and she has been angered by the suspension.
One board member told the Mail and Guardian it it was “outrageous” the minister – who is not mandated to interfere in internal SABC disciplinary processes – seemed to be trying to protect Duda.
Pule’s spokesperson Siya Qoza said the letter had been misinterpreted, which he said was “mischievous”.
“The minister was concerned about the inconsistencies she was seeing and merely pointed them out,” he said. “Decisions about the executives of the SABC are made by the SABC board and not the minister.”
The letter stated: “In November 2011, you requested me to authorise his [Motsoeneng’s] delegation of duties which I did, therefore I appreciate the fact that it is not a statutory requirement, but the board informed me as the shareholder of both these decisions.
“However, my concern is the inconsistencies I am experiencing from the board.
“Similarly in 2012, the chief financial officer of the SABC was suspended and an acting chief financial officer was appointed. In this case, I was not informed of both decisions. In order to ensure consistency, fairness and proper procedures are followed, I view the above mentioned appointments, suspensions, as well as reinstatements as unprocedural.”