With Hlaudi gone, DA guns for SABC's acting CFO

Acting CFO Audrey Raphela. (Gallo)

Acting CFO Audrey Raphela. (Gallo)

With Hlaudi Motsoeneng dismissed and former CFO and acting CEO James Aguma facing disciplinary steps, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has now set its sights on the SABC’s acting CFO, after replies to parliamentary questions revealed dubious contracts. These contracts are among those that were awarded in December 2016, while the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the SABC board sat, and the SABC were without a functioning board.

A contract worth R5.1-million (R4.5-million excluding VAT), for the redesign of the SABC’s websites, was awarded to Infonomix.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo provided the following information on the contract as obtained from the SABC. It was an unsolicited proposal received from the service provider, who was appointed through a deviation from the SABC’s supply chain management policy.

There was no shortlisting and the appointment was endorsed by the three executive directors of the SABC – James Aguma as acting CEO, Bessie Tugwane as acting COO and Audrey Raphela as acting CFO.

Revenue leakages
The second contract was worth R7.3-million and was awarded to Imagine Communications for an advertising management system, with an additional R4.7-million to be paid over three years for “license fee and maintenance”.

“Not fully compliet, (sic)”, read the answer to whether the contract was in terms of a tender process.

According to the SABC’s answer, Imagine Communications had delivered the output, and the benefits derived from SABC Radio Sales to date were that previously identified significant “revenue leakages” had been addressed, and that broadcast accuracy for radio advertisements had increased to more than 90%.

But, according to DA MP Phumzile van Damme, the contract was signed, despite it being proven that the system was not suitable for the SABC, contributing to the R300-million loss in advertising revenue at the SABC.

“We await replies from Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo about other contracts reportedly signed off in a rush in December by Raphela,” said Van Damme.

“On the basis of these allegations of serious tender flouting, the SABC Acting CFO must be suspended, pending an investigation into the awarding of these tenders, and pending a disciplinary inquiry.”

Flouting the SABC’s HR procedures
Van Damme also wants the procedures relating to Raphela’s appointment as acting CFO to be reviewed.

“She was appointed from outside the SABC in August 2016 into the acting CFO position.
Normally, a person from inside an organisation is appointed into an acting position, with the understanding that he or she will return to their permanent position once the temporary allocation in the acting role is complete.

“It is alleged that Raphela was brought in by James Aguma into the CFO position, flouting the SABC’s HR procedures,” said Van Damme. Van Damme said the DA intends to cleaning up the SABC and ensuring that those individuals responsible were held accountable.

She referred to the controversial Motsoeneng, who received R1.7-million while on suspension since January, and Aguma, who has been paid R12.4-million since he started to work for the SABC in March 2013, until the end of May 2017.

Included in the R12.4-million is an item called “other cash”, worth more than R2-million. - News24

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