The South African Ministry of Communications has issued a statement concerning the Auditor-General’s Report on public broadcaster SABC. It reads:
The Ministry of Communications has noted with concern adverse details of the report released by the Office of the Auditor-General on the financial and organizational affairs of the Public Broadcaster. The report follows a request by Parliament for an audit to be conducted into the affairs of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).
As a shareholder, the Minister of Communications is concerned about the negative picture painted by the report. The Minister will, with immediate effect and working with other relevant stakeholders, introduce corrective measures that will seek to avert a recurrence of the current situation at the SABC.
The measures will be a combination of the shareholder’s responsibilities through the shareholder compact agreement between the Ministry of Communications and the Public Broadcaster, findings and recommendations of the Ministerial Task Team, findings of previous audits carried out by the SABC and recommendations by the interim board of the SABC.
The Ministry of Communications will implement new measures that will seek to tighten the screws on the shareholder compact, inter alia:
Ø Conduct a thorough assessment and clearly define roles of and the authority allocated to executive and/or senior managers.
Ø Review Human Resource policies and implementation thereof.
Ø Review benefits applicable to management in particular and staff in general.
Ø Review policies governing the involvement of employees in private business activities.
FINANCE AND OPERATIONS:
Ø Requesting monthly management accounts from the SABC.
Ø Active and permanent shareholder participation in the various committees of the SABC board, i.e. Risk, Audit and Internal Audit Committees.
Ø Ensuring that all major decisions, financial or otherwise, have the full approval of the Group Executive Committee, the Board of Directors and the Shareholder where necessary.
Ø General compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
Ø Require monthly operational reports to monitor implementation.
Ø Conduct a need analysis of SABC channels to determine the type and amount of content they require.
Ø Monitor the implementation of the local content quota and conduct a thorough assessment of the need for and the acquisition of international content and ensuring that content is used.
The Ministry of Communications will also seek to thoroughly scrutinize previous reports of the Auditor General and SABC internal and external auditors.
This, we hope, will assist the Ministry in understanding the reasons it took such a long time for this sad state of affairs to surface.
Where transgressions are found to have been committed, we urge law enforcement agencies to move swiftly in bringing the perpetrators to book.
The Ministry urges all parties concerned to cooperate with the disciplinary and legal processes that will unfold as recommended by the interim board of the SABC to ensure that this matter reaches its logical conclusion within the stipulated timelines.
The Minister of Communications urges all well meaning employees at the SABC to continue with the good work of building an organization that responds to the needs of the public. The Ministry will continue to work with the interim board to ensure that resources are made available to see through the work of implementing corrective measures at the SABC.
It is clear from the outcomes of the various interventions at the SABC that there is a need for the inculcation of a culture of ethical conduct in the corporation.
The SABC is a crucial institution of our democracy and everything should be done to save it from further ruin. It is the main and reliable source of information and entertainment services for the public, particularly the needy, providing broadcasting services to 24 million people on a daily basis.
We are encouraged by the conclusion of the process of selecting members of the SABC Board, pending the ratification of the recommended candidates by the President. We believe that this is a major milestone that will undoubtedly create an enabling environment for the efficient implementation of the recovery measures for the SABC.
We are equally grateful for the sterling work done by the interim board since it took office almost three months ago under challenging conditions.