THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Thursday, March 2, 2017

SABC CEO James Aguma reveals that the SABC has been running TV licence checks on members of parliament.


The SABC told members of parliament that the public broadcasting had been individually profiling them and has run parliamentarians' names through its "database" to check if they have paid their SABC TV licences.

It’s not clear why the SABC has decided to do a targeted name sweep and conducted a SABC TV licence name and payment check on specifically members of parliament.

Parliament's ad hoc committee has been investigating the beleaguered South African public broadcaster since December last year with current and former SABC executives and former SABC board members who came in for bruising questioning, with a number of shocking revelations of alleged mismanagement that surfaced in the past three months in explosive testimonies.

Parliament's portfolio committee on communications this week also convened again to get updates on the SABC's 2016 first and second quarter performance and expenditure where yet another shockingly bleak picture about the SABC’s financial status emerged.

James Aguma, the SABC's acting CEO, revealed during the sitting of the portfolio committee on communications that "we also took the liberty of trying to run members of parliament here through the database to see how many are paying. And the figures are interesting."

"I will slip a note to the chairperson so that he can be aware of some members here.We just took the liberty," said James Aguma.

He revealed that the SABC had to write off a staggering R17.7 billion in SABC TV licence fees due to a "corrupt" database that was filled with deceased people, people not living in South Africa and others like old grannies for instance owing R15 000, who can't ever be reasonably expected to pay off massive accumulated fees and penalty charges.

James Aguma said "either people were too lazy or too negligent to do that job" when it came to upkeep of a correct SABC TV licence database in previous years and that it prompted the hiring of consultants and the massive write-off.