SIU should investigate SABC - Marian Shinn

DA MP says it is unacceptable for public broadcaster to be unable to account for TV license fees of almost R1bn

SABC annual report: DA requests SIU investigation

The DA will today request that President Jacob Zuma refer the findings of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) 2012/13 annual report to the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) for further investigation.

At a Press Briefing today, SABC Group CEO, Lulama Mokhobo, denied that close to a billion in TV licence fees has gone missing. This contradicts the Auditor-General's audit opinion in the SABC's annual report that he "...was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence for the amounts disclosed as TV licence fees of R913 838 000".

It is unacceptable that the SABC is unable to account for TV licence fees of almost R1 billion. South Africa cannot be expected to continue pay licence fees to fund the SABC, if this funding will simply disappear into the ether. 

The SIU, under proclamation of the President, may investigate any matter of serious maladministration, unlawful expenditure of public money as well as improper or unlawful conduct by employees of any state institution. 

According to the Auditor-General, Terrence Nombembe, the SABC's 2012/13 annual report serious financial maladministration:

  • R1.58 billion undocumented expenditure;
  • R106.3 million irregular expenditure; and
  • R913.8 million unsubstantiated revenue for TV Licence fees.

The latest evidence of maladministration at the SABC comes five months after the SIU submitted a report to the President on allegations of corruption at the SABC between 2005 and 2009. Despite repeated calls by the DA for this report to be tabled in Parliament, we have heard nothing from the President. 

The President should now table that report in Parliament and institute a new investigation into the latest revelations. It is important that Parliament be given the opportunity to assess the current financial status of the SABC and recommend remedial measures. 

South Africans, who for many years have been loyal customers of the public broadcaster, are increasingly irritated by the SABC perpetual board, management and financial crises. 

It is time for the government to acknowledge that its cadre deployment strategies have failed the public broadcaster and it must put in place the best professional management it can find and cease the political meddling that has driven talented management away.

The SABC belongs to all of South Africa. It can become the pride and joy of the nation and needs to be fixed.

Statement issued by Marian Shinn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, September 12 2013

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