MDDA board’s jobs in the bal­ance

Pretoria News - - NEWS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

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.

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