The portfolio committee on communications on Tuesday decided if two or more parties nominate the same candidate, that person would make the shortlist that will be interviewed in September.
When the committee adjourned for lunch, 20 of the 36 spots on the shortlist were filled.
Apart from the interim board – chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama, her deputy Mathatha Tsedu, Krish Naidoo, John Matisson and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule – Nomvuyo Batyi, currently a board member of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) – received unanimous support.
Former SABC board member Rachel Kalidass were nominated by all parties present except the Economic Freedom Fighters.
The candidates who received support from more than one party and are thus on the list, are:
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The Communications Committee in Parliament has received more than 360 applications of persons who want to serve on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) permanent board.
This was revealed by Committee Chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana. The committee was also briefed by the SABC Interim Board on the progress made on the implementation of the Ad Hoc Committee report into the affairs of the SABC.
A new permanent board for the SABC is expected to be in place by the time the Interim Board’s term of office comes to an end next month. The deadline for nominations and applications was 30 June.
Maxegwana explained how many people have applied and how the selection process will unfold.
“Next week we will be starting the process of shortlisting and thereafter interviews as the committee. Up to now by the time of the deadline of the 30th we received 362 applications. The office of the chair is working on summarising who has what in terms of qualifications and who meets the criteria and then that will be presented to the committee next week.”
Kweyama also told the committee that they are currently seeking legal advice on how to hold implicated former board members and staff liable for illegal decisions that led to irregular and wasteful expenditure
Soon after giving a report back on the nominations, it was the turn of the Interim Board to present its progress report. The board told Members of Parliament that it has already terminated two irregular contracts, suspended a third one and the fourth one is under review.
Interim Board Chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama said that action emanated from the sixth recommendation of the Ad Committee that the board should institute independent forensic investigations into irregular and questionable contracts. Some of them include the Morning Live/ New-Age Breakfast show and the Multi-Choice archive deal.
“The Interim Board has terminated the contracts with Lorna Vision and ANN7. Lorna Vision was the TV license collection and ANN7 was the breakfast. The contract with SekelaXabiso which had also been employed to look at the fruitless and wasteful expenditure is on suspension. The Multi-Choice contract is under review on the ground that the important aspects of it are a disadvantage to the SABC and are contrary to public interest.”
Kweyama also told the committee that they are currently seeking legal advice on how to hold implicated former board members and staff liable for illegal decisions that led to irregular and wasteful expenditure.
She says recovering losses due to unlawful decisions is one of the recommendations in the Ad Hoc Committee Report.
“Recommendation number eight was to take appropriate action against current and former employees and board members who are found to have been complicit in the SABC incurring wasteful expenditure as a result of irregular activities. The Interim Board is seeking legal opinion on the liability of board members, officials, group executives and employees who participated in meetings where decisions were taken that are contrary to the policies of the corporation as well as the legislative framework governing the SABC.”
However the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is not happy saying the Interim Board should move with speed to lay criminal charges against those who were implicated. In addition EFF member of the committee Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also said some journalists were not innocent in some of the wrongdoings at the SABC.
“By the way it is not just instructions and intimidation that journalists are receiving. It is also journalists that are very manipulative that were gladly participating, so we have got to balance that scale. There are journalists that were not doing proper things in there and I hope that the perspective would be balanced in that sense. It is not just management but also there are journalists who were complicit who were participating willingly in wrong things.”
One of the questions raised by the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Phumzile van Damme relates to the secrecy around the bailout figure requested by the SABC.
“We haven’t been told how much it is that the SABC is required from National Treasury. I know that the Minister has said that information must not be given out but now I am asking you as the board, as the body to which you report, which is Parliament. Can we be told how much is it that the SABC required from National Treasury? I would not be satisfied with the answer that the Minister has said, don’t give that information. You as the board report to us.”
Van Damme’s question was not answered. A decision was taken by the Committee Chair to save the question to the Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
“I think the minister will respond to the question.”
During the meeting, Kweyama also confirmed that axed former Head of Corporate Affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng is challenging his dismissal and that the matter will be heard soon.
“Yes Mr Motsoeneng has taken his dismissal to the CCMA and I think in the next day or so, there will be an appearance with the SABC being present.”
Other questions that the Interim Board was facing included what action they have taken against those managers who were allegedly referred to as Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s enforcers by the late SABC 8 journalists Suna Venter who recommended to the Ad Hoc Committee that they be investigated.
The EFF also wanted to know what were the benefits that Jimi Matthews received after resigning under a cloud at the SABC and the ANC was interested in among other things,- the relationship between the Interim Board and labour.
We are shocked by the conduct of management and the Interim Board.
When we met with the Interim Board recently, and we complained about the SABC’s failure to start with Salary Negotiations, the Interim Board informed us they have given Management a mandate. Never was it discussed with us – when the opportunity was there – that the mandate was 0%. No courtesy call, no attempt to communicate, to engage, to soften the blow, nothing. In fact, quite to the contrary. Deception, by bringing together a team to “negotiate” creating expectations with a 0% budget!
We know the SABC has budgeted for a 7% increase. Yesterday we were told that budget has since been revised and reduced to 0%.
It seems patently unfair to punish employees who had absolutely nothing to do with the bad state the SABC finds itself in by not budgeting for a salary increase at all. At the same time paying everyone else but your loyal employees. It’s not us who looted the SABC’s financial resources. It’s not us who made foolish and extremely poor management decisions. It’s not us who caused the reputational damage to the SABC. And now they jumping ship in perfect timing, stuffed pockets to avoid the consequences, milking the SABC to the last second.
It is an extreme insult to offer employees a 0% increase.
The SABC is in financial trouble they say, but we still have the “fat cats” unprocedurally and irregularly appointed taking home hundreds of thousands rand per month, and the Interim Board is doing NOTHING to stop or REVERSE those decisions. The people responsible for purging staff who blew the whistle on the irregular conduct of some of the previous Board members and Executives are also still at the SABC – some on pension but still drawing lucrative salaries from the SABC. People fingered by the Public Protector who received irregular salary increases are still there, still receiving those salaries despite the acceptance by the SABC of the PP’s Report.
Freelancers received a 6.8% increase. Apparently it has been built into their contracts. Good for them, they have been abused for many years by the same management. However, permanent loyal employees who carried the SABC in good times and “stormy weather”, lowering their heads and just work, what do they get? Dololo! Nothing! Niks!
Labour will table its demands today: The mandate we received from members are as follows:
Collapse housing into Salary
Increase in Meal Allowance (30%)
Group Life paid out at retirement (even if it’s only own contribution)
Collapse Travel Allowance for scale 401 and 300 into salary
Family Responsible Leave to be per child, instead of the number of days for all children.
A demand of a total cut down of HR General Managers and Management Consultants. It’s a very top heavy and costly structure.
Less executives, lower salaries.
THIS IS A MANDATE WE SHOULD DEFEND.
CPI is 5.6%
Let’s be strong and united. The SABC has applied for a loan. They have not budgeted for a loss (apparently they are not allowed to budget for a loss, so it seems they have “cooked” the books to get to a positive, profit figure). The SABC is the biggest broadcaster in Africa, with the most viewers, and in the past, when it was properly managed by competent people, made showed huge surpluses. It can get there again. The people who caused reputational damage to the SABC are still around, still living in their two and three houses, driving their many luxury German cars and us, the worker, we must fight poverty!
We must not allow “guests” to disrespect us by attaching 0% value to the hard work and loyalty of permanent SABC staff.
Negotiations will continue, and the team will do its best to persuade the Interim Board otherwise.
FRUITLESS & WASTFULL EXPENDITURE // QUINTON LENYAI and others
We write this letter with extreme and rapidly growing concern. Concern that the current management of the SABC is either still controlled by external forces, alternatively that it is protecting LENYAI and/or simply unwilling to take action.
We have not received a response to our previous letter in respect of the conduct, and the inconsistent application of discipline in respect the Provincial General Manager in Mpumalanga, Mr Quinton Lenyai and our enquiry as to who has extended his contract in the circumstances.
This is a further and more urgent call to immediately act and suspend Mr Lenyai, failing we will ensure we will hold management who failed to act, personally liable for further fruitless and wasteful expenditure and damage caused by Mr Lenyai.
The latest just came to our attention.
On Monday, 10 July 2017 the SABC commenced with a disciplinary hearing in respect of our member, Mr Mfanimpela Ndlala. Mr. Ndela was suspended for 12 months. Due to a misunderstanding Mr Ndlela had no representative at the hearing. He requested a postponement (what would one day difference make, as he was on suspension for 12 months?) to find himself a representative. The chairperson only granted our member an hour to find a representative – to prepare and defend a matter the SABC took 12 months to investigate and prepare.
Our member was unable to secure a representative in such a short time, let alone prepare for the hearing.
When he reported this to the chairperson, the hearing proceeded on instruction of the chairperson – with no representation and not being prepared at all. Our member made it clear he will not participate in the hearing, and he did exactly that. He sat as an observer only.
The SABC called three witnesses, which included Lenyai. Their evidence went uncontested as our member did not speak at all in the hearing. He also refused to testify.
He was then found NOT GUILTY on all but one charge, a charge that alleged he was responsible to instruct a co-employee to act as a security guard and doorman to collect money at an event. He was found guilty of negligence (incorrectly) for failing to do that and issued with a final written warning valid for eight months.
We are sure you are also shell shocked at this moment.
Is this what justified his 12 months suspension?
Why, without ANY defence or EVIDENCE from his side could the SABC, after calling three (3) witnesses, not prove any misconduct, but negligence against our member?
Why, in the circumstances, did the SABC incur cost to host an entire panel if there was no case of misconduct against our member?
Who approved disciplinary action against our member in these circumstances?
We once again and urgently demand that LENYAI be suspended with immediate effect and his contract be ended, and furthermore that the person responsible for the extension of his contract be called to account for his/her actions.
As we are of the view our member has been incorrectly found guilty, we intend to refer a dispute to the CCMA to challenge the verdict and sanction in respect of the negligence our member has been found guilty off, unless the SABC confirms in writing it will set aside same.
Once again, failure to meet our demand will result in BEMAWU using this letter and the SABC failure to act against LENYAI as proof of inconsistent application of discipline at all future CCMA matters.
CLOSURE OF SABC CANTEENS AND PAYMENT OF MEAL SUBSIDIES
We have received reports from various members that they have heard from reliable sources the SABC Canteens may close down at the end of July and furthermore, that the SABC has not paid and will no longer pay collectively negotiated meal subsidies.
Kindly confirm whether this information is correct.
DEMAND TO SUSPEND//SABC PROVINCIAL MANAGER – QUINTON LENYAI
The recent media reports in respect of the unacceptable and highly questionable conduct of the Provincial Manager, Mr Quinton Lenyai, an appointee of the now dismissed COO, has reference.
We attach hereunder, a link to one of the media reports for ease of reference.
It is clear from the conduct of LENYAI he should be suspended with immediate effect as his conduct, to say the least has caused more damage to the already severely battered image of the SABC. He has been accused of serious misconduct and ill-treating staff and serious allegations have been levelled against him in newspapers related to what appears to be an improperly awarded cleaning contract.
To lay charges against its own listeners and stakeholders makes it abundantly clear something very seriously is wrong with the relationship not only between LENYAI and staff, but also between LENYAI and the SABC’s listeners and stakeholders.
Additionally, why was LENYAI’s contract extended, whilst Management were acutely aware of the unhappiness of staff and listeners and serious allegations against LENYAI, and why was LENYAI never disciplined and suspended for the serious allegations with regards to the improperly awarded cleaning contract?
We now demand swift and decisive action from you against LENYAI and whoever has extended his contract. Failure may result in BEMAWU instituting legal procedures against the SABC to act.
We await your urgent response.
Hannes du Buisson
“Beleaguered Mpumalanga SABC manager Quinton Lenyai has laid intimidation charges against a radio listener and a politician for calling for his resignation and accusing him of ill-treating staff.”
Beleaguered Mpumalanga SABC manager Quinton Lenyai has laid intimidation charges against a radio listener and a politician for calling for his resignation and accusing him of ill-treating staff.
Lenyai is accused of having introduced former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s leadership style and victimising those who do not toe the line. The two were close, according to SABC staff members. Lenyai was appointed as regional manager two years ago.
Lenyai has been under pressure from the regional SABC staff, a political party and community members to resign since he suspended popular Ligwalagwala FM station manager Vusi “Rio” Mabunda about a year ago.
Lenyai laid the charges against Ligwalagwala FM listener Geoffrey “Manyovu” Mnisi and politician Rasheed Matola – who is president of a small Mpumalanga organisation, the Residents Association of SA.
This after Mnisi led community members in a march to the SABC offices early last month demanding Lenyai’s resignation and the reinstatement of Mabunda, who was a morning drive show host at the station. Mnisi also started a campaign, #QuintonLenyaiMustFall, against Lenyai on social media.
Lenyai laid charges against Matola after the politician wrote to him requesting a meeting to discuss Mabunda’s suspension, the disproportionate allocation of airtime to the ANC, alleged mismanagement and maladministration issues, and various grievances raised by staff members.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Sergeant Gerald Sedibe confirmed that a case had been opened: “The matter is under investigation and no one has been arrested. Once done, the docket will be sent to the director of public prosecutions.”
Lenyai did not respond to questions texted to him.
Mnisi said the charge Lenyai had laid against him was an attempt to silence him.
“We marched because he is wasting taxpayers’ money by suspending employees like Mabunda, who have done nothing wrong. If he feels that when I say Quinton Lenyai must fall it is intimidation, then President Jacob Zuma must also lay charges against all those involved in the #ZumaMustFall campaign,” said Mnisi.
Matola said that he intended to escalate the matter to the SABC board for consideration. He said Motsoeneng’s time at the SABC was over and things needed to be done the right way.
Lenyai suspended Mabunda in June last year, but only informed him of the charges against him on April 18. Mabunda’s charges relate to the alleged abuse of funds at the station’s birthday bash, refusing to hand over the company’s iPad and conflict of interest regarding his ownership of a bar lounge in Barberton. The disciplinary hearing is set down for three days next week.
Staff accused Lenyai of instructing the news unit and Ligwalagwala FM to report directly to him and telling TV assignment editors what stories to broadcast. A journalist, who is also a shop steward, was allegedly subjected to a disciplinary hearing for raising labour issues while managers were constantly threatened with dismissal.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago has previously indicated that the broadcaster would not discuss internal matters in the media.