Suspend SABC’s Audrey Raphela, DA demands
SABC acting chief financial officer Audrey Raphela faces renewed calls for her suspension and possibly permanent removal from the public broadcaster after being implicated in the signing of dubious contracts said to have contributed to the organisation’s financial crisis.
Suspended chief financial officer and former acting CEO James Aguma and former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who was dismissed last week, have been largely blamed for the crisis.
The DA says that Raphela is equally culpable.
In a reply to written questions from the DA on Monday, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo disclosed that senior executives including Raphela and Aguma, were instrumental in the signing of what some MPs have described as "dodgy" deals.
The contracts were signed at about the time a parliamentary ad hoc committee was probing the crisis at the broadcaster.
A contract for the redesign of the SABC’s websites to the tune of about R4.5m was awarded to Infonomix late in December without being put out to tender.
The deal violated the Treasury’s and the corporation’s own procurement rules.
Dlodlo wrote: "An amount of R4.5m excluding VAT was budgeted for [the] redesign of the SABC’s seven websites, due to lack of skills and requisite expertise [at the SABC].
"The business unit currently employs five technical and development resources who have to develop and maintain/support 26 websites of the SABC," he wrote. "An unsolicited proposal was received from the service provider [Infonomix] and the entity was appointed through deviation in line with the SABC supply chain management policy."
A separate R12m contract for an advertising management system had been awarded to Imagine Communications.
DA MP and communications spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said the contract with Imagine Communications seemed not to have been put out to tender and was found to have been unsuitable to the SABC.
It contributed to the R300m loss in advertising revenue at the public broadcaster in 2016.
Raphela had to be suspended pending an investigation into the awarding of the tenders and pending a disciplinary inquiry due to the "allegations of serious tender flouting", she said.