Political parties welcomed Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe’s resignation from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)‚ but lamented how long it took the last remaining board member to step down.
The office of the African National Congress chief whip bemoaned that “Maguvhe’s conscience took excruciatingly longer to speak to him” and that this had caused “further damage to the corporation’s governance and frustrating parliamentary intervention”.
“We are confident that his exit will speed up the process of addressing the leadership crisis at the SABC‚” a statement added.
“With Maguvhe’s departure‚ we will now await Parliament’s conclusion of the inquiry‚ which may necessitate the swift appointment of the interim board.”
The Democratic Alliance’s Phumzile van Damme tweeted that this should be the first order of business in the new parliamentary year: “The Communications Committee will have to now appoint an interim board‚ as first item on the agenda in the new year. #Maguvhe #SABCinquiry.”
The inquiry looking into the crisis at the broadcaster still had much work to do‚ posted Van Damme: “Great news that #Maguvhe has resigned‚ but the #SABCinquiry must go on. We cannot stop now given the deep set rot we have uncovered.”
The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) insisted that Maguvhe’s resignation did not let him off the hook‚ and he “still has a lot to answer for”. “He must be pursued to account for all decisions that were taken while he was at the helm of the public broadcaster as well as their financial and long term implications‚” said Sanco’s Jabu Mahlangu.
He also called for Parliament’s portfolio committee on communication “to take urgent steps to ensure that there is no vacuum that might allow irregularities and looting of state resources in the absence of the board”. The Congress of the People (Cope) said the “resignation was long overdue”‚ but said it was “so sad that it took Maguvhe so long to realise that you can’t swim against the stream”.
The party’s Dennis Bloem also said it was “so sad that he wasted so much taxpayers’ money in the court of law by resisting to resign from the position”.
“Cope calls upon Hlaudi Motsoeneng to follow the footsteps of Maguvhe and also resign immediately‚” said Bloem.
Maguvhe‚ until Monday the sole remaining member of the board‚ last week defended the board’s decision to appoint the broadcaster’s former chief operating Motsoeneng‚ at a sitting of the parliamentary committee which is currently conducting an inquiry into the board’s fitness.
When pressed on why the board took the decision to appoint Motsoeneng despite former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings and recommendations‚ Maguvhe said the board was not aware that those recommendations were binding.
“Most of us were not aware that the recommendations by the public protector were binding. It was only after the Constitutional Court ruling that they mentioned that they were binding‚” he said.
Madonsela found that Motsoeneng had lied about his matric qualification‚ had increased his salary irregularly from R1.5-million to R2.4-million and had purged employees. She ruled that a replacement for Motsoeneng should be found within 90 days. But‚ in July 2014‚ Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi appointed him permanent COO.
The parliamentary ad hoc committee on the SABC board inquiry is due to present its report to Parliament on February 28.[Source: news24]