Media reports saying that former SABC CEO Frans Matlala got a severance package of R18m are false, said his incumbent James Aguma on Tuesday at parliament.
Media reports suggested that Matlala, who was suspended because he had allegedly helped national treasury with a procurement deal, received a golden handshake of R18m a day before he was due to appear for a disciplinary hearing.
Democratic Alliance MP and party spokeswoman on communication, Phumzile Van Damme, insisted that Aguma revealed the severance package Matlala received.
“How much have you paid the former CEO of the SABC? You spent millions paying him off. We’re duty-bound to know why,” Van Damme said.
But Aguma maintained that the information was confidential. “It’s confidential. Because the information was leaked to the media we’re not going to bother too much,” he said.
Aguma was part of a delegation from SABC which appeared before parliament to report back on the problems at the SABC. Communications minister Faith Muthambi was also part of the delegation.
During question time, Muthambi was asked why she continued blaming the media for the SABC’s woes and why she had such a poor relationship with the press.
“I don’t have a relationship with the media,” Muthambi said. “You know the posture the mainstream media is taking — they took a deliberate position to be hostile towards government. Whatever this government does, they say it’s corrupt that we can’t do anything right.”
She accused the media of manufacturing stories about a crisis at the SABC. “Most of the questions we had to respond to today were because of media reports. But now you can hear the truth from us.”
ANC MPs serving on the portfolio committee agreed with Muthambi, saying they were under another impression because of what was written in the media.
“What I read in the media was totally different from what I’ve heard here today,” said ANC MP Maesela Kekana.
“We hear the SABC board member (Aaron Tshidzumba) is a professor and the CEO (Aguma) is a chartered accountant. The media writes about you as if you’re a standard five girl,” Kekana said.