Fraud, corruption claims at SABC: Another whistleblower steps forward – OUTA

As the police, prosecutors and others with the power to stop the widespread rot within South Africa’s state-run organisations stand conspicuously silent, it has been left to businesses, opposition politicians and other groups to fight corruption. The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) in particular has been doing its bit to fight the abuse of power and other crimes at the expense of hard-working South Africans who want to see the country flourish. This week, OUTA revealed that it has taken another step towards bringing SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng to book. A whistleblower has provided evidence that lends weight to allegations of financial irregularities at the national broadcaster, says OUTA. Motsoeneng is best known as a propagandist and apologist for President Jacob Zuma. If OUTA gets its way, Motsoeneng will soon be behind bars after ripping off licence fee payers and others in deals that have generated millions of rands in bonus payments for him. – Jackie Cameron


New evidence received from a whistle-blower this morning confirms the criminal charges laid last week by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) against Hlaudi Motsoeneng, members of the SABC board and executive managers.

OUTA’s charges, which were filed at the Brixton Police Station on Thursday 15th December included fraud, racketeering, corruption and abuse of power for a number of matters, one of them being procurement irregularities and a contract with Vision View Production CC, pertaining to the upgrading of two television studios.

“The information we received prior to our charges laid last week, was substantive and sufficient for the case to be opened. However, today’s input from the whistle-blower – who shared his input with many organisations – provides additional information which we will use to supplement last week’s charges. We will ensure that Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng and others responsible will be held accountable for the contract in favour of Vision View Productions, as this was a gross contravention of due process and done without the requisite authorisation,” says Lerissa Govender, internal legal counsel at OUTA.

OUTA’s charges also include claims against Mr Motsoeneng’s and others in the irrational conduct related to the MultiChoice deal, which was in contravention of due process and enabled the approval of an R11,5 million bonus to be paid to Mr Motsoeneng.

“It is clear to OUTA that many board members were aware that the contract was awarded in violation of the SABC’s procurement policies and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), and that some board members actively conspired to ensure that the contract was awarded to Vision View. Indeed, Head of Sport, Bessie Tugwana wrote to Vision View informing them that they had been awarded the contract and that an agreement had been drafted prior to the board even having resolved to award this contract.”

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OUTA studied all the new information, including a damning Enterprise Risk Management and Governance Report, which noted the many irregularities of the contract and high likelihood of fraud and corruption. “It seems that this report never found its way to the board, and there is now no doubt in our minds that the rot within the SABC was not caused by Motsoeneng alone. The now defunct board and certain members of the executive appear to be intimately involved.”

Wayne Duvenage, chairman, OUTA

“OUTA maintains that the Minister of Communication cannot escape her accountability in the SABC debacle. She evaded her responsibilities as shareholder representative, and as such should also be held accountable for these transgressions,” says Wayne Duvenage, chairman of OUTA.

OUTA also calls on the SABC portfolio committee in parliament to urgently convene to appoint an interim board for the public broadcaster. “Last week’s hearings proved that Hlaudi Motsoeneng purged the SABC of many competent people whose only wrongdoing was the fact that they opposed the unlawful conduct of Motsoeneng and his co-perpetrators.”

“We therefore urge the committee to reinstate these loyal, competent former staff members who share a wealth of institutional knowledge and experience when it comes to the SABC. Some of them, like former risk and governance group executive Itani Tseisi and former acting CFO and CEO Tiaan Olivier should be included on an interim board. Others who were forced to leave and who can play a valuable role in saving the SABC, include Lorraine Francis (chief audit executive), Mandiwe Nkosi (manager for employee relations) Petra Campher (chief financial controller) as well as Tumiso Radebe and Irene Marutla (general manager: procurement).”