The Sunday Times reported that SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng overruled his staff to give a R167-million contract to a production company co-owned by President Jacob Zuma’s daughter.
According to the report Motsoeneng “reversed a recommendation by a review panel of six members, who had decided not to renew the popular Uzalo drama series for a second season”.
“Their concerns were that there was no proper business plan, the budget was “about 10 times that of a 13-part series” and there had been problems during the show’s first season with “writing, aesthetics and delivery”,” the newspaper reported.
“The SABC can confirm that the COO overruled the decision not to renew Uzalo, based on performance in its genre and growth in revenue,” SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said.
This report follows calls from foundations representing Oliver and Adelaide Tambo, Desmond and Leah Tutu, Chief Albert Luthuli, and Thabo Mbeki, for a judicial commission of inquiry into the SABC.
The Foundations Initiative (TFI) made the call on Friday for President Jacob Zuma to constitute a judicial commission of inquiry to review and make recommendations concerning the public broadcaster’s corporate governance systems, operations, adherence or otherwise to the Constitution, the Broadcasting Act, the SABC charter and all relevant labour legislation.
It said in a statement that certain elements within the SABC have established a “deeply troubling practice”.
TFI said the Public Protector and the courts have already made adverse findings against the SABC’s COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, which Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC board have ignored.
It said “elements within the SABC have established a deeply troubling practice of flouting corporate governance principles”.
On Tuesday ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu took a jab at the SABC’s senior management, saying the public broadcaster kept “moving from one crisis to another”.
“I can assure you that at the highest managerial level, we are lacking. That is why we keep moving from one crisis to another,” he told journalists at a press briefing on media freedom and the SABC.
The full report is available in the Sunday Times of 10 July 2016.