SABC board’s preferred candidate for CEO is wholly unsuitable
Note to Editors: Please find attached a soundbite by the DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile Van Damme MP.
The DA has been reliably informed by several whistle-blowers that the SABC board’s preferred choice for Group CEO is Alan Mukoki, a candidate wholly unsuitable for the position.
Despite evidence presented of Mukoki’s unsuitability, almost all members of the board allegedly supported his appointment.
The DA strongly encourages the SABC board to reconsider and save the public broadcaster a likely long-drawn-out battle for Mukoki’s removal as GCEO.
While eminently qualified, Mukoki’s history in the public sector makes him an inappropriate choice.
A 2007 Deloitte & Touche forensic audit commissioned by the then Minister of Agriculture, Lulu Xingwana found that Mukoki and his executives had without board approval, diverted almost R2 billion meant for emerging farmers towards projects that had nothing to do with agriculture, including luxury golf estates, a sugar mill, equestrian estates and residential developments. Some of the beneficiaries of irregular loans were Mukoki’s business associates; and high ranking ANC politicians and benefactors.
Mukoki resigned and was given a R4.5 million golden hand-shake. A few months later the Land Bank was placed under administration and transferred to the National Treasury. The then Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan described it as being “in ICU”.
Given this history, it is absolutely unfathomable why anyone in their right mind would think Mukoki suitable to be the GCEO of the SABC.
The SABC simply cannot afford to give a high-risk candidate with a chequered past in the public sector the reins of leadership at the SABC.
The SABC needs steady hands. It requires innovative leadership to ensure it can stay afloat without requiring a bailout. It requires a person with a demonstrated commitment to clean governance. Mukoki is quite simply, not that person.
Rachel Kalidass’s resignation is a sign that the bad times are back at the SABC
Rachel Kalidass’s resignation this morning from the SABC board is a definitive sign that it is back to “business as usual” at the public broadcaster.
In a letter to Parliament this morning Kalidass cites victimisation by fellow board members following her objection to a “…CEO candidate having allegations of fraud and corruption levelled against him during his previous employment, as well as a conflict of interest with a significant SABC content service provider” being supported by the majority of board members to head the public broadcaster.
Although Kalidass does not name the candidate in her letter, the DA revealed this morning, after being informed by several whistleblowers, that it is Alan Mukoki, the former CEO of the Land Bank, who is wholly unsuitable and inappropriate for the position.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications is scheduled to meet with the SABC on Friday, 24 November 2017 in Johannesburg. Given Kalidass’s resignation, the DA will request that this meeting be brought forward and the issues she raises be immediately addressed before any further damage is done.
Whether the ANC will be as seized about arresting the decline at the SABC remains to be seen, particularly given the tacit support for the re-capture of the SABC, as exhibited over the last few weeks.
It is deeply worrying that the decline at the SABC is following the same pattern as it did with the previous board. A candidate in Hlaudi Motsoeneng was forced through despite objections from some board members, some board members resignation or where dismissed following their objections, resulting in a terminal downward spiral culminating in the SABC inquiry.
The SABC is showing all the signs of going down that same road unless the decline is arrested immediately.
Statements issued by Phumzile Van Damme MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 16 November 2017