Frustration: Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says the SABC has already missed two deadlines to submit a corporate plan. She is set to meet its executives soon. Picture: GCIS
Frustration: Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane says the SABC has already missed two deadlines to submit a corporate plan. She is set to meet its executives soon. Picture: GCIS

The SABC runs the risk of sinking into deeper financial trouble after it missed the deadline to submit its corporate plan.

Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told MPs on Tuesday that the SABC had missed two deadlines to submit its corporate plan.

A corporate plan generally details a company’s goals, objectives and desired outcomes. This guides its strategic objectives.

The SABC is facing its worst financial crisis to date and is still waiting on a R3bn government bail-out.

Kubayi-Ngubane, who was briefing MPs on the SABC’s memorandum of incorporation, said that other entities under her watch were processing the final drafts of their corporate plans while the public broadcaster had not yet submitted its first draft. The minister said she would not be able to sign off on the SABC’s memorandum of incorporation until the board finalised the corporate plan.

"We had asked the SABC to submit a corporate plan [but] by last year they had not complied.

"I met with them … in January [and] we gave the second deadline [but] they missed the deadline. We are arranging with them to meet again," said Kubayi-Ngubane.

She told MPs that in 2014 the then minister of communications had amended the memorandum of incorporation. The amendments gave the minister wide powers to appoint the CEO, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the SABC and to veto any rule changes proposed by the board relating to the governance of the public broadcaster.

"Whereas previously the board was required to appoint executives, the amended [memorandum of incorporation] provides that the powers to appoint and to discipline staff and members of the SABC management is delegated" to the group CEO, chief financial officer and chief operating officer and "can only be revoked by the minister.

There are two memoranda of incorporation. One was signed in 2013 by then minister of communications Yunus Carrim. It was filed with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). Minister Faith Muthambi signed the other in 2014 and it was not filed with CIPC, said Kubayi-Ngubane.

In October 2017 the High Court in Pretoria invalidated the provisions of the memorandum that granted the minister the power to appoint the executives of the SABC.

"It was later discovered that an incorrect [memorandum] was placed before the North Gauteng High Court. In other words, the North Gauteng High Court relied on the [memorandum] which was not filed. This is the [memorandum] which gave the minister wide powers," said Kubayi-Ngubane.

"To correct this, on December 6 2017 the minister lodged an application for rescission of judgment," she said.

"In essence the purpose of rescission is to request the court to rescind the judgment because it was based on an incorrect [memorandum of incorporation]," she said.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za