SABC’s paying of troubled directors’ legal fees needs explaining - DA


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has said it would be submitting an application to have embattled Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi, explain why the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) had been paying the legal fees of its former Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala, and controversial Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

In a replay to a parliamentary question, DA Shadow Minister for Communications, Gavin Davis, said the public broadcaster had been submitting claims to have its insurance company, via television licences, pay the bills for Tshabalala and Motsoeneng, with no amount being disclosed.

Tshabalala resigned from the broadcaster in December last year after it was discovered that she lied about her academic qualifications, while Motsoeneng appeared in the Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal last week to overturn a disciplinary inquiry brought by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, on a similar matter.

“Not only is it morally unjustifiable for the public to pay Motsoeneng and Tshabalala’s legal costs, there are serious question marks over the legality of the SABC’s decision to indemnify them from paying,” Davis said in a statement.

“Both Motsoeneng and Tshabalala lied about their qualifications before they joined the SABC. The SABC should be taking action against Motsoeneng and Tshabalala, not funding their legal battles”.

He also stated that the paying of legal fees contravenes the SABC’s Memorandum of Incorporation regarding the covering of “directors found guilty of wilful misconduct”.

“It is quite obvious that, whichever you way you look at it, neither Motsoeneng nor Tshabalala can be lawfully indemnified from paying their own legal costs,” Davis said.

“If the Minister cannot explain the breach, she will have to exercise her rights as the shareholder and take steps to recover the money from Tshabalala and Motsoeneng”.