Aguma must be suspended for driving SABC into ground – Phumzile van Damme

DA says acting GCEO, along with Motsoeneng, to blame for current dire straits public broadcaster and should be held accountable

James Aguma must be suspended for driving the SABC into the ground

26 April 2017

The Acting Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the SABC, James Aguma, must be suspended for overseeing the plunder of the public broadcaster’s cash reserves, pending the conclusion of a forensic investigation.  The DA will write to the chairperson of the SABC Interim Board, Khanyisile Kweyama, requesting the immediate suspension of the Acting GCEO, pending a forensic investigation into the SABC’s finances.

The Auditor-General’s (A-G) office tomorrow confirmed to the Portfolio Committee on Communications that the SABC’s cash reserves declined from R1.5 billion in 2014 to R200 million in December 2016.

Not only has this left the SABC as barely a “going concern”, it is at risk of being forced to cease operations, unable to pay its staff and meet its obligations. Cash reserves refer to money which the SABC should have saved to cover any

Cash reserves refer to money which the SABC should have saved to cover any emergency. According to treasury regulations, the liquidity requirement of SABC is allegedly R650m a month on average.

This is a situation that Aguma, its Acting GCEO, and former CFO, was aware of and he should have taken steps to protect the public broadcaster’s cash reserves.

Aguma is complicit, and in fact, central, along with Hlaudi Motsoeneng, for the current dire straits the SABC is in and should be held accountable.

Pending the conclusion of a forensic investigation, Aguma must be suspended, particularly as he still has access to the SABC’s financial documents and could interfere with witnesses.

Aguma is a sad cautionary tale of what happens to those who sell their soul to devils in disguise. A talented Chartered Accountant, he was allegedly head-hunted by Motsoeneng from the A-G’s office, and served as the SABC’s Acting CFO from March 2014 to December 2014, its CFO from January 2015 to June 2016, and Acting GCEO to date.

During this time, Aguma served as Motsoeneng’s “first lieutenant"  defending him, appearing next to him in court cases, providing financial backing for his various madcap decisions. He used his skills as an auditor to wrap the wool around the public’s eyes about the true state of the public broadcaster’s finances.

It is will be a sad end to what could have been a stellar career, but he must be held accountable.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 26 April 2017