MPs call for probe into state media agency
The statutory body to promote media diversity has no proper board and staff are being ‘terrorised’
Cape Town — MPs have called for a full-scale investigation into the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) after Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo described the extent of dysfunction at the statutory body.
It was set up to promote media diversity and develop community radio.
Dlodlo and her deputy‚ Thandi Mahambehlala, told the National Assembly portfolio committee the agency operated without a properly constituted board and had failed to meet any of its performance targets.
Dlodlo and her deputy were called to account by their oversight committee after some board members and executives of the MDDA presented conflicting reports to the committee a fortnight ago.
ANC MP Lerumo Kalako said it was clear there was "war" at the MDDA and that a forensic probe was required into the affairs of the agency.
"Even our oversight showed us what is the problem. Either a forensic investigation must take place in that agency‚" said Kalako.
ANC MP and committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said they would take a decision on a way forward at their next meeting.
Dlodlo said Parliament was assisting in filling vacant seats on the MDDA board.
"But we have gone out of our way to ensure that other people are appointed (to the board). The appointments have taken almost forever and I can safely say now that the one person who has been appointed this morning. Another one hopefully appointed by Monday‚" said Dlodlo.
Mahambehlala said she stopped working with the three-person board because it was not legal.
"I have since solicited legal advice from the department and they made it clear in writing to me‚" said Mahambehlala.
She claimed that MDDA staff were also being "terrorised" by the chairperson of the board‚ Phelisa Nkomo.
Mahambehlala called on the committee to intervene in the MDDA as it had with the SABC by instituting a parliamentary inquiry.