PARLIAMENT, September 1 – Without a sizable government guarantee the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) would fall apart, Veteran journalist Mathatha Tsedu told MPs on Friday.
Tsedu, a member of the interim SABC board, is one of the candidates nominated for a post on the permanent board.
He was candid as he told MPs of the dire financial straits of the organisation.
“We haven’t been able to find the government guarantee that must really save the SABC, where we are now as an institution we getting by but if we continue without a government guarantee this thing will collapse,” Tsedu told Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications who are conducting the interviews for the new SABC board.
“The issue around the guarantee is very important so we can go and speak to the banks … and when that money comes we will be able to attend to other critical issues at SABC.”
Tsedu also highlighted the massive looting that occurred at the broadcaster before the old permanent board was dissolved.
“There was a looting campaign and a number of reports now done by the internal forensic unit, even before the SIU gets involved, has shown the modus operandi of how the looting happened,” MPs heard.
He said over the last five months on the interim board he’s experienced both anguish and exhilaration.
The exhilaration came from the fact that staff had often approached him to say “we now we can breathe”.
The anguish came from learning the extent of the rot at the SABC, saying all South Africans were equally to blame for allowing the extent of the degradation to continue.
Tsedu said the blame should not be shouldered alone by “this boy from QwaQwa”, an apparent reference to disgraced former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng
When asked about his views on Thursday’s press conference by Motsoeneng in which he said the interim board “are like children waiting for Christmas”, Tsedu said he would not dignify the former COO’s utterances with a comment.
“I will be defiling this place if I do this.”
It emerged on Friday that the curriculum vitae of one of the candidates vying for a position on the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) listed President Jacob Zuma and several cabinet ministers as references.
Cikizwa Dingi, an entrepreneur who previously worked in the office of then ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu, was being interviewed by Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications.
Dingi said the person who nominated her had submitted an old CV and she had subsequently submitted her new CV with new references.
Her first CV listed her references as Zuma, Social Development Minister and ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa and Mthembu.
Dingi denied that she was trying to show the committee that she had high political connections to secure a seat on the board.
“I could have hidden the references and by not really mentioning that I worked at Luthuli House in communications, it is not an issue. I am not a politician…”
Her second CV omits the President’s name, but still includes Dlamini, Zulu, and Mthembu.
“I could have put other references and hidden these leaders who happen to be politically (sic) when the SABC is all about transparency …,” said Dingi.
MPs also hammered about her embarrassing appointment of a dodgy sign language interpreter, Thamsanqa Jantjie, during the memorial of former President Nelson Mandela. His poor interpretation caused an outcry and it was soon discovered Jantjie was a “troubled” individual.
It was reported in 2014 that Dingi’s then employer suspended her over the fiasco.
“I am not aware of any suspension or any allegations,” said Dingi, adding that she believed her “exercise of today” was that of being available for the SABC board.
At one stage, Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi asked committee chair Humphrey Maxegwana to send Dingi home because she was avoiding answering specific questions.
However Ndlozi’s objections, as well as those of the Democratic Alliance MPs, were overruled. Dingi was allowed to continue the interview.