Madonsela: SABC must clean up its act

An investigation found improper and unlawful conduct and maladministration at the public broadcaster.

An investigation by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has found widespread maladministration and unlawful conduct at the broadcaster. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has warned that if the culture and conduct within the management of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) does not change, its problems will continue.

Yesterday, Madonsela released the findings of an investigation which found widespread, improper and unlawful conduct as well as maladministration within the SABC board.

Several senior employees including acting Chief Operating Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, face severe sanctions for their conduct.

She said things need to change at the SABC.

"If the governance culture and ethics that existed at the time we conducted the investigation persist, the problems will continue."

Madonsela quoted a former board member who said when governance and ethics fail, you get a dysfunctional organisation where those in charge cannot see that the situation isn't normal, which is the case at the public broadcaster.

The Public Protector found that the former SABC board violated its own employment policies when appointing Motsoeneng as the acting COO.

She also found that former board chairman Ben Ngubane acted improperly when he ordered job requirements be altered to exclude academic qualifications so they could suit Motsoeneng's circumstances.

The investigation showed that Motsoeneng received three appraisals which increased his salary from R1.5 million to R2.4 million a year.

Madonsela said this constituted improper conduct and maladministration.

Motsoeneng has been seen as the main decision maker about SABC broadcasts and has proudly admitted to taking some discussions off air because of its content.

The SABC board will now study Madonsela's report before commenting on it.