Scopa chairm Themba Godi. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA
Scopa chairm Themba Godi. Picture: ROBERT TSHABALALA

Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) sent the SABC packing on Wednesday because of its failure to provide the information it had requested on irregular expenditure amounting to R4.9bn.

The committee has asked the SABC to come back with the relevant information on Wednesday next week.

Scopa had sent letters to the SABC detailing exactly the kind of information was required for the meeting, but was told by SABC officials that that information was not available.

“Lack of this information makes it difficult for the committee to continue with deliberations on the financial statements of the SABC that the committee should deal with,” Scopa chair Themba Godi said.

“The committee is concerned with the fact that SABC seems to have lost the momentum of cleaning out the rot that had begun when the previous interim board had been constituted.’’

He said Scopa had had the impression that the interim board compiled monthly reports on what was happening at the SABC.

‘‘It is therefore concerning that the current board of the SABC has no details of the contracts that have resulted... [in] this irregular expenditure of R4.9bn.

“This is particularly concerning to the committee as it had invested a lot of time working with the SABC last year to ensure that the public broadcaster comes out of the rot that it was in. The SABC seems to be regressing and that is why it is important that details of the contracts that have contributed to irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure are provided to Scopa so that the committee can have meaningful deliberations with the entity.”

Godi said the committee was particularly “puzzled” about the lack of information on irregular expenditure, as the auditor-general has consistently provided a qualified audit report on the public broadcaster's irregular expenditure.

Scopa would expect the entity to give special focus on all the matters that the auditor-general raised regarding the SABC.  Scopa has also welcomed a detailed report by the Special Investigating Unit on the SABC.

The report included the specific cases, names of the people involved, the amounts involved and the status of the matters currently being investigated.