SABC board member quits over ‘wholly unsuitable’ CEO candidate
Barely a month after being appointed, the SABC board has been hit by renewed controversy, prompting the resignation of a board member.
Rachel Kalidass, a chartered accountant, submitted her resignation as member of the board in a letter to President Jacob Zuma this week.
In the letter, Kalidass registered concern about the process followed in the appointment of the SABC’s permanent CEO and its chief operating officer.
The SABC does not have permanent executives after former communications minister Ayanda Dlodlo refused to approve the candidates who were proposed for the interim board on the grounds that they were not sufficiently qualified. It is understood that one of the reasons for the Treasury refusing to grant the SABC’s request for a R3bn government guarantee was the lack of management stability.
Without mentioning names, Kalidass stated in her letter that “despite the CEO candidate having allegations of fraud and corruption levelled against him during his previous employment [and] a conflict of interest with a significant SABC content service provider, the majority of board members were in favour of having him appointed.... I .... requested for my dissenting view to be recorded, which was received with ... hostility by some of the board members.”
In a statement, DA MP and communications spokeswoman Phumzile Van Damme revealed that the candidate in question was Alan Mukoki, a former CEO of the Land Bank, who she said was “wholly unsuitable and inappropriate for the position”.
Van Damme pointed out that a 2007 Deloitte & Touche forensic audit commissioned by the then minister of agriculture, Lulu Xingwana, had found that Mukoki and his executives had, without board approval, diverted almost R2bn meant for emerging farmers towards projects that had nothing to do with agriculture, including luxury golf estates, a sugar mill, equestrian estates and residential developments. Some of the beneficiaries of irregular loans were Mukoki’s business associates and high-ranking ANC politicians.
“Mukoki resigned and was given a R4.5m golden hand-shake. A few months later, the Land Bank was placed under administration and transferred to the Treasury.... Given this history, it is absolutely unfathomable why anyone in their right mind would think Mukoki suitable to be the GCEO of the SABC,” said Van Damme.
Mukoki said allegations that he had diverted funds were untrue and the Deloitte report had been found to be “flawed and irregularly produced”.