Eight senior SABC staff and insiders with close knowledge of developments in the broadcaster’s procurement division told City Press that the suspensions were in part linked to the procurement of a much-heralded Rugby World Cup studio for R42.3 million.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing they would lose their jobs or jeopardise their colleagues’ jobs, claim that the managers are being targeted after they were unwilling to sign off on a number of payments (involving at least five companies) because of procedural irregularities.
The R40-million studio amounts to little more than a hi-tech presenter’s desk and video monitors, according to reports.
“Letters of intention to suspend have basically been served on all senior managers in procurement,” said one highly placed source.
“The people working there say it feels like it’s part of a purge,” said another.
The aim of the new studio was to facilitate coverage of the Rugby World Cup.
The Sunday Times reported in October that the SABC paid a supplier:
• R28.68-million for system integration;
• R3.2-million for set design;
• R1.6-million for lighting;
• R2.1-million for technological developments;
• R1.5-million for the multi-screens – including a video wall;
• R2-million for project management; and
• R300,000 for furniture and wall padding.
The SABC did not respond to City Press questions about the dramatic week in its procurement department. In response to earlier questions about suspended group CEO Frans Matlala and the multimillion-rand studio, spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago indicated that the “organisation will not comment further on this matter until all processes are finalised.”
Executive head of procurement Madoda Shushu confirmed to City Press that he was suspended, but was unwilling to comment further. Shushu has been in charge of procurement since June 2013.