A labour court case and details from SABC sources have revealed how executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng spent R600 million on local TV shows while defying the broadcaster’s commissioning policy.
According to a report by the City Press, Motsoeneng “traumatised” Verona Duwarkah, former group executive for television at the SABC, and made her staff report to him.
Motsoeneng also established a Special Projects unit, according to the report, which he used to bring in producers and actors to the SABC “through a back door”.
This was in contravention of the SABC’s policies and ICASA regulations.
The SABC sources said Motsoeneng’s spending contributed to the massive losses at the broadcaster, along with the R798.2 million in unauthorised, irregular, fruitless, and wasteful spending reported by the Auditor-General for the past financial year.
“City Press also learnt that Motsoeneng’s implementation of an 80% local TV content quota was done without a risk assessment,” it said.
Duwarkah wrote in court papers that she was told to “implement material changes in policy” at the SABC, despite them not being approved and lacking due diligence.
“Motsoeneng humiliated me in front of my team, despite me indicating that the SABC procurement process is a highly-governed process,” she said.
Change the policy
On the issue of commissioning new TV content and the subsequent scrapping of the request for proposals book, ICASA regulations state that Motsoeneng needs an approved Commissioning Protocol Policy.
“We have changed that policy; we have put in a new policy for procurement,” said Motsoeneng. He added that the request for proposals book “revealed too many of the SABC’s business plans to rivals”.
Motsoeneng said that everything he has done at the SABC has been above board and that Duwarkah was trying to make up for her failures in her position.
The full report is in the City Press of 20 November 2016.