The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
The SABC office in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The SABC spent more than R680‚000 on the travel costs of board members and officials who were supposed to testify before a parliamentary ad hoc committee looking into affairs at the broadcaster.

Some of the board members refused to testify even after travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

This is according to a reply to a DA parliamentary question.

The SABC paid more than R20‚000 for flights and accommodation for former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and spent more than R31‚000 on the travel costs of former CEO James Aguma.

Other estimated travel costs the SABC covered include R183‚000 for former SABC chairman Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe; R100‚000 for former SABC company secretary Theresa Geldenhuys; and R34‚000 for SABC company secretary Lindiwe Bayi.

The officials stayed in the five-star African Pride Crystal Towers and the Hilton Hotel in Cape Town, among others.

In the parliamentary reply‚ the financially distressed SABC said it would not recover the money from the individuals who did not attend the inquiry.

"This means that the public essentially footed the bill for a luxury holiday in Cape Town for people who destroyed a once world-class public broadcaster‚" said the DA’s Phumzile van Damme.

The Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers‚ formerly the African Pride Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa‚ located near Century City‚ boasts "sophisticated guest rooms and suites", and perks like free Wi-Fi‚ plush bedding and 24-hour room service.

The Hilton Hotel markets its location‚ which is close to Parliament‚ the convention centre and the V&A Waterfront.

Van Damme said her party would write to SABC board chairman Bongumusa Makhathini‚ to request that the SABC recoup the costs from all individuals who travelled to Cape Town for the SABC inquiry but refused to testify‚ or walked out.

"The SABC is facing financial ruin and every cent that has been unduly spent … must be returned to the public broadcaster‚" she said.