In The News South Africa

It wasn’t me, says SABC acting CEO on R5.1 bln irregular expenditure

On Tuesday, acting South African Broadcasting Corporation chief executive, James Aguma presented the broadcasters 2016/17 annual report to the Parliament’s portfolio committee on communication.

Aguma spoke of progress regarding audience figures for radio and television, its progress on financial management, blaming a R411 million loss on expenditure on unforeseen events of national interest, less than three percent funding from government, and currency fluctuations, among others.

MPs focussed on billions in irregular expenditure (spending done without following procurement laws and regulations) uncovered at the public broadcaster over the past few years.

The ANC’s Nokuzola Tolashe also implored Aguma for answers, adding that she was not happy with how the SABC was handling fraud and corruption at the broadcaster.

“Who is now liable for decisions that were taken in between the theatre were are in and the legitimate process that will come in later.”

“Your definition on the SABC fraud and corruption prevention strategy is quite empty in so far as I’m concerned looking at the issues of supply chain management.”

Aguma said when he arrived at the SABC in 2013, he found a financial management system in the SABC in shambles, with “bizarre” supply chain management procedures.

“We found a lot of people in supply chain management did not actually have a grasp what the categories of expenditure was,” he said.

In addition to this original tax clearance certificates, as required by the law, were not provided by suppliers of goods and services.

Trying to track down the culprits, said Aguma was made cumbersome by the difficulty in finding a paper trail for the irregular expenditure.

“The discipline of retaining documents was not something that was taken seriously.”

Aguma said the money was not necessarily wasted, but “certain processes were not followed”, adding that they were not taking the matter lightly.

“It’s a very serious matter we know we have to hold people accountable,” he said.

“The liability lies with whoever caused it…and we are going to attach names to that..and those people will be brought to account.”

Aguma said an external team had been appointed to uncover the details behind the irregular expenditure and who was responsible.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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