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How SABC salaries ballooned while reserves nosedived under Hlaudi’s rule

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The SABC saw a R411 million revenue loss last year under the leadership of acting CEO, James Aguma and Hlaudi Motsoeneng, while its cash reserves nosedived and salaries ballooned over a number of years.

This was revealed yesterday at a meeting between Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications and the Auditor General (AG) yesterday.

According to the AG that the SABC’s cash reserves declined from R1.5 billion in 2014 to R200 million in December 2016. Incidentally, 2014 also happens to be the year Motsoeneng unlawfully assumed the position of COO at the public broadcaster.

“Cash reserves refer to money which the SABC should have saved to cover any emergency. According to treasury regulations, the liquidity requirement of SABC is allegedly R650m a month on average,” said DA and Portfolio Committee member, Phumzile van Damme.

“Not only has this left the SABC as barely a “going concern”, it is at risk of being forced to cease operations, unable to pay its staff and meet its obligations,” she added.

While cash reserves nosedived, salaries, including that of Motsoeneng, rose sharply.

van Damme pinned the blame mostly on Aguma, an accountant by profession, saying this was a situation he was aware of and that he should have taken steps to protect the public broadcaster’s cash reserves.

“Aguma is complicit, and in fact, central, along with Hlaudi Motsoeneng, for the current dire straits the SABC is in and should be held accountable,” she said.

She also called for Aguma to be suspended pending the conclusion of a forensic investigation into the public broadcaster.