Mul­tiChoice deal at heart of SABC ‘purge’

Sunday Times - - NEWS - SIBONGAKONKE SHOBA

AXED SABC nonex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber Hope Zinde was booted out af­ter she clashed with act­ing board chair­man Pro­fes­sor Mbu­la­heni Magu­vhe over the SABC’s con­tro­ver­sial R500mil­lion deal with Mul­tiChoice.

It has fur­ther emerged that Magu­vhe, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Unisa, is gun­ning for an­other board mem­ber, Rachel Kal­i­dass, who he ac­cuses of “fraud­u­lent con­duct” for leav­ing a board meet­ing early.

Zinde was re­moved from the board on Thurs­day af­ter she and her al­lies walked out of a meet­ing where she was ac­cused of hav­ing dis­cussed board mat­ters at an ANC com­mu­ni­ca­tors work­shop three weeks ago.

Zinde was not the only SABC board mem­ber who at­tended the ANC meet­ing. In­sid­ers say also present were Kr­ish Naidoo, Dr Aaron Tshidzumba and Vuyo Mh­lakaza.

It is un­der­stood that Magu­vhe wrote to Zinde last week, de­mand­ing that she re­spond to al­le­ga­tions that she told the ANC meet­ing about the “sale of SABC ar­chives”, which was an in­ter­nal board mat­ter.

Magu­vhe was re­fer­ring to an SABC deal with Mul­tiChoice, in terms of which the SABC’s 24hour chan­nel was given a plat­form on DStv and Mul­tiChoice gained ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the SABC’s ar­chives.

The deal also re­sulted in the SABC sid­ing with Mul­tiChoice in op­pos­ing a pro­posal that set­top boxes for dig­i­tal migration be con­fig­ured in a way that would ease the en­try of new play­ers into the in­dus­try.

An in­sider who has seen cor­re­spon­dence be­tween Magu­vhe and Zinde said the lat­ter ex­pressed her op­po­si­tion to the SABC stance on dig­i­tal migration.

One board mem­ber said Zinde dared Magu­vhe to take ac­tion against her — point­ing out that she was not ap­pointed by him and telling “him she is go­ing to lay a for­mal com­plaint against him for threat­en­ing her with fab­ri­cated lies”.

This was fol­lowed by a let­ter from Magu­vhe in­form­ing Zinde of a gov­er­nance and nom­i­na­tions com­mit­tee de­ci­sion that the board should pass a vote of no con­fi­dence against her at Thurs­day’s meet­ing. When Zinde left that meet­ing, Magu­vhe and his al­lies voted for her re­moval. But, ac­cord­ing to an­other board mem­ber, “there was no quo­rum. The de­ci­sion was un­law­ful.”

A board mem­ber said Zinde was among those be­ing purged as they were not loyal to Magu­vhe and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng.

“She and other board mem­bers are seen as an ob­sta­cle. The SABC deal with Mul­tiChoice went against both an ANC and a cabi­net de­ci­sion. It is wrong,” said an in­sider sym­pa­thetic to Zinde.

Min­is­ter of Small Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Lindiwe Zulu, who is the chair­woman of the ANC sub­com­mit­tee on com­mu­ni­ca­tion, con­firmed that SABC board mat­ters were not dis­cussed at the ANC meet­ing. She de­clined to com­ment fur­ther.

Zinde has writ­ten to par­lia­ment de­tail­ing the board shenani­gans. She de­clined to talk to the me­dia this week and

She said she was go­ing to lay a com­plaint against him for fab­ri­cated lies

re­ferred the Sun­day Times to a state­ment she is­sued on Fri­day in which she states that she is still a board mem­ber and that her re­moval was “un­law­ful”.

Mean­while, Magu­vhe wants to in­ves­ti­gate Kal­i­dass for “fraud” for leav­ing a board meet­ing early in Jan­uary.

He claims Kal­i­dass left the meet­ing un­der the pre­tence that she had an early flight to her home in Nel­spruit, but was in­stead dropped off in Morn­ing­side and only left for Nel­spruit two days later.

Kal­i­dass is said to have re­sponded with a scathing let­ter in which she threat­ened to re­port Magu­vhe to par­lia­ment and Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago was not avail­able for com­ment at the time of go­ing to press.

KICKED OFF: Hope Zinde

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.