The standing committee on public accounts has labelled the sudden resignation of acting SABC chief executive officer James Aguma as an “admission of guilt”.
Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said the committee was “shocked” by Aguma’s resignation on Wednesday, before his disciplinary proceedings concluded.
“Scopa takes this as admission of guilt for the financial mess that the SABC finds itself in,” Godi said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Mr Aguma might have avoided scrutiny on a litany of charges that he was facing – but as Scopa we call on the SABC interim board to pursue its investigation to ascertain criminal liability on the part of all officials and managers at the SABC, including Mr Aguma.”
Godi said the committee believed some officials, including Aguma, have a further case to answer following an internal audit report on “evergreen contracts” at the broadcaster.
The committee called on the internal forensic audit unit of the SABC and the Special Investigating Unit (SUI) to expedite their processes so that those who are liable can be held to account for the irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
Godi also congratulated the SABC interim board for its relentless effort to “clean the SABC and to end the impunity that wrongdoers like Mr Aguma have enjoyed for so long”.
Communications portfolio committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana, however, said earlier on Wednesday that the committee “would have loved for Mr Aguma to stay in order for the disciplinary process to continue so that he can have an opportunity to clear his name”.
“The committee will await the reasons of Mr Aguma’s resignation from the SABC interim board,” he said, calling it “untimely”.
Aguma not off the hook
Suspended Aguma had until 13:00 on Wednesday to tender his resignation, chair of his disciplinary hearings Taki Madima announced on the fifth day of his hearings in Sandton.
Aguma was facing 10 charges of breaching his contract, dishonesty and frustrating the disciplinary hearings of axed SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, which would be dropped once he tendered his resignation.
He also lost his case for leave to appeal.
Democratic Alliance deputy chief whip Mike Waters on Wednesday said his party welcomed his resignation as chief financial officer, but would not be letting him off the hook that easily.
“Aguma faces serious accusations, including tender irregularities and overseeing massive fruitless and wasteful expenditure, and reports that his resignation will result in the SABC withdrawing charges are concerning.
“Equally so reports that he is set for a golden handshake,” Waters said in a statement.
The party would not allow Aguma to escape accountability for the key role he played in the SABC’s demise, he said.