It has been reported that at the press conference on Thursday evening, the South African Broadcasting Corporation [SABC] board claimed the verification of candidate’s credentials were still underway and no decision had been taken about its preferred applicant for the public broadcaster’s position of Group Chief Executive Officer [GCEO].
The press conference follows the resignation of Rachel Kalidass as SABC board member.
In her resignation letter to Parliament on Thursday morning, Kalidass cited victimisation by fellow board members as a reason to call it a quit – following her objection to a preferred candidate for the Public Broadcasters’ Group Chief Executive Officer’s position.
“Group CEO candidate has allegations of fraud and corruption levelled against him during his previous employment,” Kalidass was reported as saying in her resignation letter.
Although Kalidass did not mention the chosen candidate in her letter, Democratic Alliance (DA) named him as Alan Mukoki – the former Land Bank CEO.
DA Shadow Minister of Communications Phumzile Van Damme said in a statement on Thursday her party was reliably informed by several whistle-blowers the SABC Board’s preferred choice for Group CEO post happened to be Alan Mukoki, a candidate wholly unsuitable for the position.
The correspondence and timeline of events:
- August 18, 2017: The former Chairperson of the Interim board, Khanyisile Kweyama writes to the then Minister of Communications Ayanda Dloldlo, recommending three candidates for appointment as Group CEO of the SABC. Kweyama requests that Dlodlo make the appointment urgently. At no stage does the board indicate that it is still busy with the verification of candidates’ credentials.
- September 11, 2017: Dlodlo writes back to Kweyama indicating that she cannot approve the recommended candidates until she receives full information about one candidate, Alan Mukoki, given some identified issues about him. She requests the audit report from the Land Bank during his tenure as the CEO of the Land Bank; a reference check from the Land Bank, as well as clarification about a matter relating to amounts owed to the City of Johannesburg.
- September 2017 21, Kweyama writes back, indicating that it had mandated a recruitment agency to conduct a reference checks. She also indicates that she is in possession of a draft forensic audit report by Deloittle & She states that the final report has not been made public. She writes: “…the interim board is of the view that it has exhausted all available avenues to obtain the information without success and leave for the Minister’s determination. Again, at no stage is it indicated that verification is still underway. Kweyama’s response indicates that the board has no further information to contribute and the Minister must just now decide.
- October 30, 2017: The new board meets for a handover meeting. On the agenda is the appointment of a new GCEO and COO. Board members are provided with board packs with all correspondence, including information about red flags around Mukoki. The board decides to only interview the interim board’s first choice candidates, of which Mukoki is for GCEO.
- October 31, 2017: The new Board interviews CEO and COO candidates at the offices of the recruitment agency, Talent Africa.
Van Damme said despite the CEO candidate having allegations of fraud and corruption levelled against him during his previous employment, as well as a conflict of interest with a significant SABC content service provider, Kalidass said majority of board members were in favour of having him [Mukoki] appointed as the SABC CEO.
Van Damme said Kalidass was completely right to inform Parliament , and indeed the public about the irregularities and glaring problems around the appointment, the bodies to which she first and foremost owes a duty.
“We commend her for being a whistleblower against poor judgment and possibly saving the public broadcaster from another completely unsuitable top executive. The rest of the board members must hang their heads in shame for their failure to properly apply their minds and discharge of their duties and victimising a fellow board member for daring to speak out and having a different opinion” added Van Damme.
She said this was the same problematic conduct exhibited by the previous board.