SABC’s controversial MultiChoice deal may be subjected to forensic audit

The R264m deal should be subjected to a forensic audit with a view to nullify it, if evidence is found of improper conduct.

The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)'s controversial R264 million deal with MultiChoice should be subjected to a forensic audit with a view to nullify it, if evidence is found of improper conduct in sealing the deal.

This is one of the preliminary conclusions of the parliamentary inquiry into the SABC board contained in a working document leaked to Members of Parliament on Tuesday.

The document also recommends that action be taken against anyone found to have misled or lied to the committee under oath during its hearings.

The ad hoc committee tasked with the inquiry is set to deliberate on the document on Thursday and Friday, and prepare a draft report.

The document, in the possession of Eyewitness News, must still be processed by MPs and none of its content is binding, according to chairperson Vincent Smith.

Smith says he's dismayed by the leak of the working document.

“It has no status whatsoever, it’s not even a draft, it’s a working document that should facilitate the development of a draft report.”

The document is scathing about the collapse of corporate governance at the SABC and blames Parliament’s communications committee for a lack of oversight.

It also deals with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s interference in SABC affairs.

It says the SABC’s deal with MultiChoice should be investigated.

It also calls for action against those responsible for an accumulated R5 billion in irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure and for the funds to be recovered, where possible.

The document cites a blatant abuse of power, and the creation of an environment of fear and intimidation in both the SABC’s news rooms and its administration.

(Edited by Neo Koza)