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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has briefed members of the Portfolio Committee on Communications with regard to investigations at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), in which the unit reported that two contracts, which were found to have been awarded irregularly, have since been set aside by the courts. The contracts were irregularly awarded to Lonavision, valued at R62 million, and Vision View, valued at R52 million.

Adv Andy Mothibi, who is the head of the SIU, briefed the committee that investigations were conducted in terms of two presidential proclamations, namely R29 of 2017 and R19 of 2018. He further said the SIU, together with the SABC, are currently in the process of instituting civil claims against the two companies in order to recover money lost by the public broadcaster, resulting from irregular contracts.

According to Adv Mothibi, in the course of its investigation in line with proclamation R29 of 2017 and R19 of 2018, the SIU has made several referrals to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a decision on prosecution, and SABC for disciplinary proceedings.

“The investigation has produced evidence to initiate or join in civil litigation, instituted in the name of the SIU and SABC in 10 high court matters to the value of just over R560 million. The SIU also provided evidence to defend the Asanta Sana claim for R350 000 on March 2018,” he said. 

Members of the committee welcomed the presentation, in which they said it reflected a positive progress to root out corrupt elements at the public broadcaster. However, they expressed a strong view with regard to the apology of the NPA, saying that the prosecuting authority should be invited to appear as soon as possible in order to give updates on decisions on whether or not to prosecute, based on the SIU referrals.

The Chairperson of the committee Mr Boyce Maneli, however, cautioned members of the committee not to take the apology of the NPA in bad faith, in which he reminded them of the fact that the committee is in possession of a letter which makes undertaking by the prosecuting authority to cooperate. “Since we have a letter from the NPA which expresses its commitment to cooperate with us, it would be advisable to receive its apology in good faith, and avoid assumptions that its failure to appear before the committee today was out of undermining the process,” said Mr Maneli. 

By Justice Molafo

10 September 2019