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Knives out for SABC 'consultant' Justice Ndaba

The knives are out for Justice Ndaba, SABC acting head of human capital and strategy, who is said to be a consultant and not a permanent employee - as board chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane told Parliament recently. But, BEMAWU president Hannes du Buisson told today, Friday, 21 October 2011, "Ngubane is a blatant liar; he must resign".
Knives out for SABC 'consultant' Justice Ndaba

Ndaba's employment letter, signed by former CEO Robin Nicholoson, shows that he is employed for the period of 1 January 2011 to 31 January 2012. And, on 24 January 2011, the board met and decided to delegate all responsibilities of that department to Ndaba. "You cannot delegate such responsibilities to an outsider," du Buisson said.

According to page 140 of the SABC recent annual report, Ndaba is listed as 'Senior Management, Acting Group Executive, earning a salary of R450 000 for the 2010/11 fiscal'.

One-year fixed-term contract

Du Buisson, whose union has about 1000 members at SABC, said Ndaba was appointed by the board in terms of the corporation's turnaround planning unit (TPU) on a one-year fixed-term contract. Despite hinting that Ndaba's appointment was done outside of the SABC's approved governance structures and recruitment processes, he however said he was not a consultant.

"A consultant does consulting work and only makes recommendations to the corporation but does not sit in board meetings, whereas Ndaba attends senior executive and board meetings and signs off documents. You don't take a consultant to Parliament and make him or her sit next to you to present reports to Parliament," he said.

"It is misconduct in the extreme to lie to Parliament - dismissible misconduct; he must resign," an enraged and furious Du Buisson said.

Source of embarrassment

It is believed that Ndaba, whose reputation has been severely tarnished after newspaper reports suggested that he had a dispute with prostitutes in London and never completed the R246 000 leadership overseas course paid for by the SABC, has become a source of embarrassment to the public broadcaster.

Ndaba was due to fly to Singapore and Dubai, when he was arrested alongside a colleague for not paying prostitutes as agreed, according to media reports.

"The worst part is that he also claimed substance and travel allowances from the SABC, which cannot be granted to a contractor, even in terms of income tax purposes," du Buisson said. "That money could have been well spent to train ordinary employees who are struggling to keep things up, but who cares about them?"

Pay back the money

Now, the SABC wants Ndaba to pay back the money.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago could not be reached immediately for comment. Messages left on his cellphone were also not answered.

SOS Support Public Broadcasting Kate Skinner told yesterday that it is critical that the SABC follows scrupulous good corporate governance practices and procedures.

"There are a lot of questions around Justice Ndaba's appointment. If the appointment is illegal then the SABC management and board must move swiftly to rectify the situation," Skinner said.

'Board needs to show they have the backbone'

Asked whether the board could be cooking up some sordid recipes behind the scenes to get rid of Ndaba, she replied: "I don't know what the board is thinking; they haven't told the public. But what they should be doing is showing that they have the backbone to run the corporation along the correct legal and good corporate governance lines. We need to see them take action.

"There needs to be complete transparency here. They also need to tell us what they are going to do in future to stop violating good corporate governance procedures."

Skinner deplored the increase incidents of corporate governance violations, which she called an ongoing pattern at SABC.

"Dr Ben Ngubane flouted all the correct procedures in terms of the appointment of the head of news in 2010. Also, those guilty of violating good corporate governance principles need to be brought to book," she said.

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About Issa Sikiti da Silva: @sikitimedia

Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to as a senior news writer.

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