SABC board members appeared before the parliamentary communications portfolio committee on October 5, where Naidoo and Mavuso dropped a bombshell by resigning, distancing themselves from controversial decisions taken by the board.
MPs at the meeting resolved to ask non-executive directors to resign, failing which they would institute a parliamentary inquiry into the board’s fitness to hold office.
“In principle we have taken a decision on an inquiry. Parliamentary processes will have to be followed properly,” said committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana following the lengthy and dramatic meeting with the board.
“Secondly, we will have to write to individuals of the board to say this is the state of affairs in the board, may you please resign and then we hear what they say, but the decision is we’ll go for an inquiry.”
Maxegwana said it was highly doubtful the remaining board members would honour a request to resign.
The committees’ resolution came after board chairman Obert Maguvhe and acting group chief executive officer James Aguma defended their decision to appoint the ever controversial Hlaudi Motsoeneng to the senior post of chief executive for corporate affairs. The appointment came after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) would not entertain an appeal of a high court decision invalidating his appointment as chief operating officer.
During the meeting, Naidoo and Mavuso told the MPs they would quit and called for the dissolution of the board.
“I have come to the conclusion that this board is dysfunctional. It should be scrapped and personally I would be resigning today as a board member,” said Naidoo, who had been vocal about how he had voted against the move to reinstate Motsoeneng.
Naidoo, a lawyer, went on to tell the committee that the SCA had the final say on Motsoeneng’s future at the broadcaster.
“That’s the final door, you are no longer an employee of the organisation, as simple as that,” said Naidoo.
Mavuso concurred with much of what Naidoo was saying, adding that he, like Naidoo, had been ostracised when key decisions were made at board level.
He told MPs that he had been given no opportunity to make input or see the presentation to MPs before it was tabled in the committee on October 5.
“I was completely flummoxed when I saw that and I said what is happening? There seems to be some kind of isolationist approach to ostracise certain board members for whatever reason, I may not know,” he said.
He said the board was dysfunctional and “not following due process” when it made decisions. Mavuso then told MPs he too would quit his job.
“I cannot afford to be party to that and for that reason, chair, I believe that seemingly my contributions are not adding much value and it’s more the reason that I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m tendering my resignation today.”
On October 6, Maghuve accused MPs of trying to bully him and fellow board members to resign, insisting he would not be quitting his post.
“In order for me to not keep you in suspense, let the inquiry come. I’m ready for it so it means I’m going nowhere,” a defiant Maghuve said at a media briefing in Johannesburg.