MDDA board’s jobs in the balance
THE future of the three remaining board members of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) hangs in the balance. This came about after claims were made that decisions taken by them were illegal.
Deputy Communications Minister Thandi Mahambehlala and some MPs led the charge in pointing out the alleged irregularities at the agency.
This came weeks after infighting at the board was laid bare in the communications portfolio committee meeting between the board and acting chief executive Donald Liphoko.
The latest drama comes at a time President Jacob Zuma is expected to appoint three board members, recommended by Parliament.
This is to augment the number of board members so that it can form a quorum.
The institution has yet to appoint a chief executive, chief financial officer and fill other vacant posts so as to function effectively.
Dlodlo blamed board chairperson Phelisa Nkomo and Liphoko for some of the problems recently experienced at MDDA.
It registered a “dismal performance” between April and June.
But, Mahambehlala dropped a bombshell when she described the board as “illegal”.
“As a shareholder I would not work with people who are illegitimate… Legally they can’t take any decision on behalf of the entity.”
Armed with legal opinion, reports and petitions, Mahambehlala shocked Dlodlo, who later asked to be furnished with copies of the documents.
She told of reports she received implicating Nkomo in irregularities in awarding contracts and staff appointments.
Mahambehlala said she had yet to be furnished with board resolutions and minutes of the MDDA’s meetings to prove their legality.
She also revealed litigation was being pursued against the MDDA with Nkomo as a respondent. “I have evidence of this on my file.” She also said there was an investigation report handed over by their predecessor on the MDDA.
“Were the findings implemented by the department, probably we would not be sitting here and discussing the current state of the MDDA.”
Throwing her weight behind calls for a commission of inquiry, Mahambehlala urged the committee to do the same it did with the SABC when it intervened.
“The MDDA is rotten. That is my submission,” she said.
The DA’s Veronica van Dyk called for action, saying the MDDA has been turned into another SABC. “It is rotten to the core.”
Van Dyk also told of petitions and letters she had received and referred to the communication minister and portfolio committee, about the institution.
“If we do an investigation and we find irregularities, we have the authority to have them removed,” she said.
The ANC’s Mziwamadoda Kalako said the situation at the MDDA showed why it regressed over the years not only in governance but irregularities in contracts and staffing.
“This is the issue we have to deliberate to see what to do. These three people’s terms end next year – January, February and June,” he said.
He also told of instances where MDDA staff complained about Nkomo and the board. The ANC’s Mondli Gungubele said the alleged irregularities justified the committee doing something.
“The committee can’t say it did not hear these things. It must deal with them; forensic investigation is one of them or some kind of inquiry,” Gungubele said.
“The results of the inquiry can advise what must be done. A number of things have been coming to the committee.”
Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said they would satisfy themselves with more information from Dlodlo and Mahambehlala before taking a decision.
“As the committee, we will be meeting in October to finalise all matters and take a decision as what to do,” Maxegwana said.