Governance Matters at MDDA, DCDT on: Quarterly Performance, BDM Policy update, status of SAPO funding; with Minister

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Communications and Digital Technologies

23 August 2022
Chairperson: Mr B Maneli (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


DCDT progress update on BDM (awaited document)

The Committee met virtually with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and its entities to be briefed on their third and fourth quarter performance.

The Department also provided an update on the Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) project influenced by the recent Constitutional Court judgment.

 A brief update on the Council Performance Management System of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) was also made.

The Minister also briefed the Committee on governance challenges at the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). The MDDA also made a presentation on its governance irregularities.

Regarding the South African Post Office (SAPO) funding update, the Department requested National Treasury grant SAPO R1 billion for funding. Earlier in the financial year, the Department had agreed with Treasury to allow SAPO to draw down half a billion of the universal access services. The money was availed to SAPO.

Regarding the draft ICASA Council Performance Management System, after it was submitted to the National Assembly, the Department had further engagements with ICASA. The last engagement was the present month, when the Minister referred the final draft to ICASA for its comments. Regarding the improvements made to the draft Performance Management System (PMS), ICASA replied to the draft favourably. The Department and ICASA reached consensus and the draft has since been updated. The updated draft will be submitted to the Committee. The Department will then await the formal approval or concurrence of the National Assembly, which the ICASA Act requires. Inputs from the councillors have been finalised and the system is ready for consideration.

Regarding the Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) project, the Department, Sentech, and the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) intensified its awareness campaigns since the Constitutional Court judgment. These awareness campaigns were ongoing. A special focus was directed toward provinces which had not been switched off, namely, Gauteng, the Western Cape, and Kwa-Zulu Natal. However, the improvement in numbers was still mild and below expectation, but the Department is committed to ensuring no one is left behind.

Members were generally not pleased with the quarterly performance of the entities, with special mention of the SABC and SAPO, and were generally concerned with the inconsistent performance of the entities. Members also noted concerns about the net losses incurred by SAPO, amounting to R830 million; SABC, amounting to R276 million; and Broadband Infranco, amounting to R34 million.

Members asked questions about corrective measures; under-spending and under-performance of entities; the appointment of a permanent Director-General for the Department; high vacancy rates; and the Tribunal Appeals Committee.

Some Members appealed to the Department to ensure the South African Post Office was resuscitated because of its role in South Africans’ lives. The Post Office cannot implement its new strategy without funding. Members noted the importance of a funding model for the SABC’s public mandate. Intervention for this may be considered by the Committee.

Regarding MDDA governance matters, on 17 March 2022, the MDDA Board received a letter from the Public Service Commission (PSC) on allegations of irregular extension of the contract of appointment of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). The complaint had been made to the PSC by the MDDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The first complaint came in May 2021 and related to contractual and other human capital-related issues pertaining to the MDDA. On 21 May 2021, the Acting Chairperson asked the Corporate Affairs Committee (CAC) of the MDDA to investigate these allegations. The CAC divided the inquiry into two phases. Phase one related to the complaint about the CFO being irregularly appointed to a permanent position, and phase two dealt with the remaining complaints.

After a series of engagements and processes, the Department was still waiting for the status update from the board. According to the MDDA Act, the Minister has no role to play during the appointment of the MDDA CEO, as there are no concurrent provisions in the Act.

The Committee dealt with the matter of comments on the SA Post Bank Limited Amendment Bill, and processing vacancies on the boards of the SABC and ICASA.  

Meeting report

The Chairperson said the agenda was full and all items before the Committee were important. As the Committee opens the term, some Members will be deployed to the subcommittee responsible for the appointments to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board. This will be done in consideration of the Committee’s main programme. Once constituted, the subcommittee’s meeting dates will be determined. There is also a vacancy at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), resulting from the resignation of the Member of Council, who is also the chairperson of the Council. The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) also has a board member who resigned. Filling such vacancies must be fast-tracked to ensure the entities operate at full capacity. Hopefully, these processes will be completed timeously.

Minister’s comments
Ms Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, said the Department would present its reports, and the reports of its entities, and raise the issue of the South African Post Office (SAPO) funding. The Department has already submitted a request to National Treasury for the mid-term budget review process to consider an amount of R1 billion for SAPO. Earlier in the financial year, the Department agreed with Treasury to allow SAPO to draw half a billion of the universal access services. The money was availed to SAPO.

Regarding the ICASA performance management system, the inputs from the councillors at ICASA have been finalised and the system is ready for consideration.

Speaking on the Broadcast Digital Migration (BDM) progress, she said the ConCourt judgement would be detailed in the presentation. The Department has continued with its public awareness through the officials of the Department, Sentech, and the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), which have been running awareness campaigns in various provinces. A special focus has been directed toward the provinces which have not been switched off, which included Western Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal. As a result, improvement in registration numbers is evident, but still quite mild and below expectation. No one has been left behind and the Department is confident about this. It will ensure no one is left behind.

On the ICASA vacancy, the councillors of ICASA, in line with the law, have appointed Dr Charley Lewis as the Acting Chairperson until April next year. The finalisation of the appointment of the four councillors to fill positions at ICASA is eagerly awaited.

Consolidated briefing by the Department on the third and fourth quarterly reports of its entities
Mr Omega Shelembe, Deputy Director-General: SOE Oversight, Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), took Members through the presentations and began with the Third and Fourth quarterly performance reviews of the entities, starting with State Information Technology Agency (SITA).

State Information Technology Agency
Quarter three performance
A total of17 targets were planned to be completed for the period under review. SITA achieved 11 of the 17 targets, bringing the quarter's performance to 64.71%.

Following the delays in finalising the Agency’s audit, the Auditor-General finally released audit results which reflected a financially qualified audit opinion with findings on compliance and applicable legislation for the past two financial years. SITA reported it is employing additional efforts to undertake a comprehensive and critical analysis of the underlying root causes.

Quarter four performance
A total of 19 targets were planned to be completed for the period under review. SITA achieved 12 of the 19 targets, bringing the quarter's performance to 63.16%.

Based on the Auditor-General audit, the Agency had 151 findings for the 2020/21 financial year. SITA reported it is employing additional efforts to undertake a comprehensive and critical analysis of the underlying root causes. SITA reported it is employing additional efforts to undertake a comprehensive and critical analysis of the underlying root causes. It indicated its internal audit had closed 71 out of 151 (47%) findings by the end of quarter four.

Films and Publication Board (FPB)
In quarter three, the FPB achieved 11 out of its 16 targets, leaving only five targets not achieved.

For quarter four, only 50% of the targets were achieved.

National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA)
Quarter three performance
The entity achieved 84% of its 19 targets, leaving 16% unachieved. 84% of the targeted 90% of interns were retained in the internship. 12 670 (84%) people were trained, versus the target of 15 000 people set to be trained in Digital Literacy. 1 029 citizens were trained in specialist technology courses, which is 29 more than the targeted 1 000. Further, 112 people are reported to have attended the digital transformation advocacy and awareness campaign. As required, NEMISA increased its digital skills spending during quarter three of the financial year 2021/22. This is because of the implementation of a catchup plan in the rollout of digital skills training programmes, which fell short in the previous quarters, and the utilisation of the unspent funds from quarter one and quarter two, was increased in quarter three.

Quarter four performance
In quarter four, NEMISA performed exceptionally, achieving 100% of its quarterly targets. In quarter four, 90% of the targeted 90% of interns were retained in the internship. 49 565 people were trained in Digital Literacy, versus the set target of 10 000 people to be trained.190 learners completed annual training in creative media courses versus the target of 120. 2 808 citizens were trained in specialist technology courses, which is 2 558 more than the quarterly target of 250. 46 people attended the digital transformation advocacy and awareness campaign, although there was no quarterly target. As required, NEMISA increased its digital skills spending during quarters three and four for the financial year 2021/22. This is because of implementing a catchup plan in the rollout of digital skills training programmes, which fell short in quarters one and two. The utilisation of unspent funds from quarter one & quarter two was fully utilised in quarter four, and some of the unspent funds from the previous financial year were utilised. NEMISA exceeded all the training targets for the year, which is an improvement from the previous two years.

Quarter three performance
In quarter three, ZADNA achieved nine out of 12 targets planned for the quarter. This translates to 75% achievement. The targets not achieved relate to the registration of domain names and the promulgation of the registry and registrar license framework. The non-achievement results from high deletions that have recurred in the past quarters. The state law advisors gave a legal opinion on the input the Department made on the draft regulations.

Quarter four
In quarter four, ZADNA achieved 12 of 13 targets planned for the quarter. This  4translates to 92% achievement. The target not achieved relates to the 0.25% domain name registrations through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) platform. The non-achievement is the result of system failures which occurred during the quarter.

Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF)
In quarter three, USAF achieved 75% of its targets. The USAF targets which have not been achieved are (i) the 20% reduction of wasteful and fruitless expenditure and (ii) the 15% reduction of irregular expenditure. The non-achievement was attributed to delays in the analysis, classification, and investigation of irregular expenditure due to capacity constraints. The entity performed the same in quarter four as in quarter three.  

Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA)
Quarter three performance
In Quarter three, the entity achieved 67% of its six targets. Two targets were not achieved namely, (i) 12% reduction of wasteful and fruitless expenditure, and (ii) nine percent reduction of irregular expenditure.

Non-achievement was attributed to delays in the analysis, classification, and investigation of irregular expenditure due to capacity constraints.
Quarter four performance  
In Quarter four, it achieved 50% of its targets for the quarter. Three targets were not achieved namely, (i) 12% reduction of wasteful and fruitless expenditure, (ii) nine percent reduction of irregular expenditure, and (iii) 100% of valid invoices paid within 30 days from the date of receipts. The latter target was not achieved because of the departure of the Acting Chief Financial Officer (ACFO) in January 2022, which left USAASA with no authorised person to release payments.

South African Post Office
Quarter four performance
In quarter four, SAPO achieved only 21%, being three, of its 14 targets. Continued poor revenue performance is the main concern, which resulted in the ongoing worsening of the entity’s net loss position to R830 million in quarter four from the prior quarter’s net loss of R591 million against the projected net loss of R368 million for quarter four, with a negative variance of R462, being125%. The company’s year-to-date net loss amounts to R2 457 billion, an increase compared to the prior year’s net loss of R2 454 billion. During the entire 2021/2022 financial year, the company has been operating under severe cash flow shortages and persistent threats of possible near-state collapse. The Department facilitated SAPO’s funding requests and SAPO’s development of the Post Office of Tomorrow’s Strategy (Strategy). The Board-approved Strategy was subsequently presented to Cabinet, and it is vital the Strategy get funded. It is vital SAPO’s requests for funding get supported to mitigate the entity’s risk of business collapse. The funding will also help pave the way for implementing the Post Office of Tomorrow Strategy. Without financial assistance, SAPO cannot survive.

Broadband Infraco (BBI)
Quarter three performance
In Quarter three, BBI managed to deliver 13 out of the 19 targets, giving the company an achievement of 68.4%, which is a drop compared to the 78.9% achieved during the same period in the last financial year. BBI said revenue at R31 million was five percent lower than the same period in the previous financial year and was 45% below budget by quarter three. The organisation blames this on the allocation of SA Connect sites and anticipated upgrades from a high-data State-Owned Company (SoC) which did not materialise. The company said it maintained positive Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) of R13 million for the year to date. Although this is the case, BBI remained cash constrained as no new cash upfront deals’ Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) were signed or received over the past 24 months. The company said it suffered an operational loss of R34 million for the quarter under review compared to a loss of R25 million for the same period in the previous financial year.

The company said it had a total of eight audit findings for the financial year 2020/21, three have been addressed, one is partially addressed, and four are not yet due. Although the shareholder conversion process was concluded, the going concern finding by the Auditor-General (AG) is still not resolved because the company not being able to raise funding.

Quarter four performance
During quarter four, BBI managed to meet 15 of 19 targets, giving the company an achievement of 78.9%, which is an improvement compared to the 68.4% attained in the past two quarters. BBI said its revenue was five percent lower compared to the same period in the previous financial year and was 52% below budget by the end of quarter four.  

Quarter three performance
In quarter three, Sentech achieved 64% of its targets and 73% of its targets for quarter four. 

Quarter three performance
In quarter three, the SABC achieved 21 out of its 53 targets. Poor performance was driven by capacity constraints in the supply chain management (SCM) division and the lack of adequate content. Commercial revenue performance (advertising) remains a major challenge and concern for Department. The profit recorded for quarter three was mainly driven by cost savings emanating from savings on Compensation of Emloyees (COE), however, the cost-to-income ratio remains unsustainable. The SABC implemented 96% of the activities in the Turnaround Plan and spent R2.2 billion, against R3.2 billion in bailout funds, resulting in a balance of R1 billion by the end of quarter three.

Quarter four performance
In quarter four, the SABC improved and achieved 25 out of its 55 targets. Poor advertising revenue generation, capacity constraints, poor marketing, and lack of key local content properties in key slots contributed to poor performance. Additionally, declining audience share and commercial revenue performance continued to threaten the SABC's financial sustainability, which is a concern for the Department again. There was zero Over-The-Top (OTT) revenue collected at the end of quarter four. The reported implementation status of the turnaround plan remained at 96%, the same as in quarter three, and it spent R2.3 billion against R3.2 billion bailout funds, resulting in a balance of R917 million by the end of quarter four.

Quarter three performance
in quarter three, ICASA achieved 72% of its targets. Major areas of non-performance were under policy & research analysis as well as engineering and technology. Telkom South Africa filed an urgent application to interdict ICASA from decommissioning temporary radio frequency licenses. The ongoing litigation matters derailed the auctioning of the high-demand spectrum during quarter three. Savings mainly drove underspending on operational expenditure items such as travelling costs and vacant posts. ICASA maintained a satisfactory vacancy rate of five percent with a total headcount of 324 employees by quarter three.

In quarter four, ICASA achieved 42 of its 48 targets. Quarter four’s overall performance improved by 15% compared to quarter three. Major areas of non-performance were under the administration, policy & research analysis, and engineering and technology programmes. ICASA reported a satisfactory vacancy rate of 2.8% and completed 90% of its action plan to address Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) findings. The entity successfully concluded the spectrum auction process. Its underspending was mainly driven by litigation on the spectrum auction process, which negatively impacted multi-faceted projects linked to the spectrum. ICASA remained in healthy liquidity and financial position.  

Update by Sentech on the Broadcasting Digital Migration
Mr Tebogo Leshope, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Sentech, said since the last BDM update to the Committee, there are two key developments which shaped the focus and influenced the deliverables for the BDM project, and these were around the ConCourt outcome. On 28 June 2022, the ConCourt handed down a judgement on the matter between eTV/Others and the Minister. The ConCourt set aside the Gauteng High Court judgement of switching off analogue transmitters by the end of June 2022. It said it is the Minister’s power to determine the analogue switch-off date as part of exercising executive authority. It further held the Minister must notify members of the public about the planned analogue switch-off and inform the public about the need to register for government subsidised Set-Top Boxes (STBs). It is vital for South Africa to conclude digital migration, and the ConCourt also said analogue switch-off is an urgent national priority and therefore, once adequate notice is given to the public, digital migration should proceed without further delay.

The BDM project is continuing to give effect to the Court judgment. The Minister had set 30 September 2022 as the final date. The SABC analogue transmission has been switched off in five provinces - Free State, Northern Cape, North West, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo. During the past period, eTV switched off additional five sites. In those provinces, Sentech has concluded frequency restacking of spectrum bands for completion of digital migration in these provinces. ICASA is continuing to release the auctioned High Demand spectrum in these five provinces. Until the analogue switch-off (ASO) is achieved in Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and Eastern Cape, digital migration cannot be completed and all the auctioned spectrum cannot be released.

The new deadline for STB registration is 30 September 2022. At the time of the court judgement, against the end of the October 2021 registrations, all provinces had been completed except for KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape, which were affected by floods. A total of 94 113 beneficiary households were not connected in the two provinces. These floods affected registrations, and installation is happening concurrently with the new registrations.

After a process of consolidation, the Department has 258 051 remaining installations.

At the last update to the Committee, 987 small businesses were appointed to conduct the STB installations across all the provinces. The installer capacity has since been increased with an additional 543 installer companies in the last round of bidding.

The Department will continue its now heightened communication and awareness campaigns to ensure no indigent South African household is left behind. The Department has collaborated with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to ensure households register before the 30 September 2022 deadline.

Briefing by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies on its Third and Fourth Quarter Reports
Ms Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani, Acting Director-General, DCDT, took the Members through the presentation and focused on the Department’s key areas of performance. The presentation covered quarter three and quarter Four on the programme and the financial performance of the Department. The presentation covered areas of significant achievement and non-achievement. Only three of the 35 targets were not achieved.

The Minister referred to approval for ‘Broadband to the Home’ as being part of the critical project SA Connect is handling. Unfortunately, it was not completed last year but the Department commits to completing the outstanding work from last year and the work for this year.

On BDM, the Department’s work with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) includes getting local councillors to distribute BDM in the councillor’s local communities by getting people to apply. The support from SALGA and the National House of Traditional and Khoisan Leaders was appreciated.

Mr M Basopu (ANC) said the performance of departmental entities seems to be getting there, but the issue is consistency. All the entities' reasons for not achieving certain targets were highlighted, however SITA did not highlight why the set targets were not achieved.

Secondly, for the non-performing entities, there should be a quorum which outlines the corrective measures to meet those targets going forward. The auditors do not only audit the financial statements of the entities, but also performance measures, adherence to policies and legislation, and failure which affects the overall performance of the Department.

The Department’s performance seems fine, but he wanted to know if the Department can take the Committee into confidence regarding how it will utilise all the allocated funds. Members were once told there is a glaring departmental underspending in government, quoted to be around R26 billion. The Department should give the Committee a status update on its expenditure. Underspending directly means underperformance. This underperformance directly affects service delivery.

Lastly, he said he joined the Committee in January and it is now August, but there is still no permanent Director-General (DG) in the Department. He asked what the plans are to have a permanent DG in the Department; and what the challenges are around filling this post.

Mr W Madisha (COPE) welcomed all the achievements by the Department and the entities, but said there was no clear indication of what would be done to address the underachievements.

Ms T Bodlani (DA) said the Film and Publication Board (FPB) has reported a high vacancy rate, and asked why this is the case and how it is affecting the operations of the FPB. She also asked what the main reason for the delay in setting up the Tribunal Appeals Committee was; what challenges the entity is facing; and what intervention the Committee can make.

NEMISA reported 112 people attended a digital awareness programme, and Ms Bodlani asked what the attendance target was for this programme.

She noted the R830 million net loss by the SAPO despite the Department's interventions so far. It was a reminder there is a long way to go in rebuilding the South African Post Office. BBI also reported an operating loss of R34 million. The net loss in Quarter Four for the SABC was an amount of R276 million. The SABC could be placed in the same basket as SAPO. These are public entities where every cent should count to improve the lives of the country's citizens. If the company reports such losses, Parliament should do more as an oversight, and ensure the business models are also proper. It is currently sitting with entities which cannot self-sustain and constantly ask for government bailouts. This is detrimental.

ICASA said the underperformance in quarters three and four was the low reporting on policy and research analysis and engineering technology. If we are going to use ICASA as a springboard to ensure we advance technologically as a country, there should be interventions to ensure there are no shortfalls in research and technological infrastructure in the country.

She welcomed the report on digital migration.

Mr T Molala (ANC) noted his concern regarding the entities’ performance. There is no relationship between financial performance and its targets. Secondly, there was no mention of the status update for the merger between ICASA and FPB. Thirdly, both SAPO and the SABC have performed below 50%, but the expenditure is far above its performance. It is near the end of the board’s term and the performance is not a good reflection on the outgoing board, which appears to be heading for another bailout.

The Committee should sit and discuss the issue of SAPO, especially considering if it was serving its purpose. An honest conversation about SAPO is long overdue, as SAPO is close to communities and it cannot be allowed to fail. The Committee could consider engaging with the National Treasury as well.

Sentech has been doing quite well but it looks like there is a decline in its performance as of late. He said the entity began looking into that.

Mr T Gumbi (ANC) asked about the non-achievement of the target of reduction in irregular and wasteful expenditure, and if the irregular and wasteful expenditures were re-occurrences or new matters. Secondly, the issue of the departure of the Chief Financial Officer has impacted the institution negatively because of the lack of authorisation of payments, and he asked how this matter is being addressed.

He asked for clarity on the revenue of the SABC regarding local content, and asked if it relates to the procurement of it, or if it is because it cannot secure local content.

The Minister said the third and fourth quarter reports come in when the annual reports have already been done. It indicates the corrective actions which have been taken throughout the year in the Department and the entities. The work the entity oversight includes an analysis of performance to ensure what is deemed performance is genuine performance, and not some tick-box exercise. Feedback is given to the entities on matters which must be corrected, even if they had proposed their own corrective actions. The Department also imposes timelines on those corrective measures. The corrective actions have already been included in the annual report and Members will be given the annual report for consideration.

As for performance and financial performance, the performance of the Department is reported at 91% and financial performance is at 92%. These two are congruent. A gap of one percent is not an issue. As indicated by the Auditor-General, the variance resulted from the broadband to the home project. A satisfactory explanation was provided to the AG. Similarly, in the entities, there is congruence between performance and financial performance. Where there is no congruence, explanations have been sought by the Department from SAPO and the SABC.

As for the DG vacancy, there are processes which must be followed and it is being finalised. An advertisement will be out soon for the position. Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) has also been revising how the positions of DGs and Deputy DGs (DDGs) are completed. The Department needed to ensure it was aligned with this work and mechanisms. Regarding the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), the Acting DG is also a DG - the responsibilities are executed by an Acting DG in the same way as an appointed DG.

The Department will be going to Cabinet next week for the appointment of the FPB Appeals Tribunal. The positions have been re-advertised because of the poor quality of applications in the first advertisement. A process of evaluating candidates has started and the recommendations have been made to Cabinet.

SAPO would continue to experience losses for the next three years, though there will be a decline. The concern is that the losses are unabated, but the Department is making serious efforts to implement the new turnaround strategy. The Department has resolved to transfer the costs and profit centres to each region, area, and branch. The leadership of SAPO has committed that by 1 April, the branch managers must start taking responsibility for the cost and the profit of its own branches. It is not every branch of SAPO which incurs losses. By next year, the Department will be able to outline which branches are making profits and losses and the ones breaking even. It will also highlight the plans to improve the branches making losses, and improve the ones breaking even. The insight gained when visiting the post offices across the country during the BDM has helped analyse if the new strategy will work. There is a strong feeling of confidence it will work if implemented with focus and determination. Discussions with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SAPO have also been held about the headquarters of SAPO, which is where the call centre is; it must justify its value-add. All the post office branches were visited and the Department is confident it will be turned around. The Department asked the Committee to join in some of the oversight visits. It will look at the ones making a profit and those which do not make a profit, as well as plans to improve. The losses at SAPO were anticipated. An analysis is being conducted to ascertain if SAPO is realising the anticipated improvements. The Committee will be updated on this, and SAPO remains critical in the country.

As for the SABC, the Minister wrote to Parliament saying the Ministry is concerned about the over-reliance of SAPO on the bailout funds, and the board and management have not monetised SABC Sport and SABC Education. If these platforms are properly monetised, achievements could be made. Plans have been requested on how it can monetise these platforms. The plans have not yet been submitted. There has been a tendency at the SABC to blame BDM, which is false. SABC started experiencing revenue losses before the switch-off took place. The funding model of the SABC is also a serious challenge and therefore the coming, proposed SABC Bill. The Bill will seek to change the funding model of the SABC as well. For the public mandate, there must be a review of how it must be funded.

Revenue is income-generated from business activities. The bulk of the entities of the Department are self-funded and must generate their own revenue to have funding for their business activities.

On the ICASA and FPB merger, the Ministry will be going to Cabinet to review the decision. It has engaged both ICASA and FPB. With the new FPB Act, the Department does not think the merger will advance the cause of the FPB. There will be more focus on the work of the ICASA. Therefore, the Department is working on these two entities separately.

As for USAASA/USAF, the departure of the acting CFO is not an issue. He was not an employee of the entity anyway and there is now a new acting CFO. The latter provides deeper insight into these entities' challenges as the Department nears the close-up of USAASA.

SABC responses
Ms Yolande van Biljon, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), SABC, said the main pillars that relate to the SABC's non-performance are human resources, digital platforms, some elements of the finance division, and underlying these pillars are issues related to the supply value chain. The other pillar was governance and there are two reasons underpinning this; the first one is the number of policies in the organisation and the pace at which it is being refreshed. There are nearly 150 policies at the SABC, and the pace has been slow. Secondly, it was the delayed finalisation of the audit. However, in the current financial year, the audit was completed on time. These underperformances relate to underspending, and it has been very slow in utilising the bailout. There is a connection between the non-achievement of the pillars and underspending. The funding is still being availed, but spending has been delayed, and the SABC has been engaged on this.

The current solvency and liquidity ratios, and the bailout money, are supported by mathematical calculations, but the bailout is ringfenced internally and excluded when planning cash flow management. There are measures to ensure the SABC is liquid and meets its obligations.
The main and biggest concern is what is happening with the audience ratings, which impact the advertising revenue generated. In this quarter, nearly 24% of the revenue is underspent. The generation gap in revenue is offset by the underspending in expenditure. The audience ratings stem from a number of issues and an internal lack of fresh content.

For the most part of the year under review, there was this constraint. In the latter part of Quarter Three, the SABC was able to bring in new content. In the last month, it issued a public advertisement for a request for proposals for local content. The Head of Content joined the organisation three months ago, and she is pivotal in yielding the activities or the results of what is being done around local content.

Management has re-engineered the video and entertainment department to meet the latest industry practices. The way the organisation was structured, and the specific organisational model was not aligned with how media and broadcasting take place today. This was finalised in the last month. SABC is now waiting for the results of this to come to fruition.

The SABC has been constrained in the way it procures content. With major support from the Minister, the SABC received an exemption from the National Treasury in February, which has been translated into a policy.

The SABC has not had marketing agencies on board in the last four years. Three agencies’ panels have come on board in the last month. It is a very important activity to ensure the SABC takes video, entertainment, and a bouquet of services to new audiences. In the last two months, it brought early awareness of what is coming regarding video and entertainment. This building block should set it up for success in regaining the audience’s ratings. Furthermore, viewer behaviour has changed tremendously in the past few years, together with advertising behaviour, and it is important for the SABC to understand those behavioural trends and respond appropriately.

On action plans for this year, the audience ratings were on an upward trend at 45%, compared to five or more years ago, and management hopes it will go back to this level. It is currently hovering at 21%, and will return to about 25% by the end of this financial year.

When the audience ratings are restored, SABC is confident revenue initiatives will follow.

Lastly, in this current financial year, specific action plans and a few individuals responsible for these functions on performance improvement have been put in place. It shows a high level of seriousness regarding what needs to take place.

Films and Publication Board responses
The Acting CEO said the vacancy rate originates from the earlier decision to measure three regulators. Following the assumption of the new political leadership in September, all the regulators were required to submit proposals, reinvesting into the new environment. The FPB did the same. Management was now awaiting approval from the Minister, subject to the outcome of the process of consultation with Cabinet. Once this is done, the moratorium on the appointment of new positions will be lifted and the FPB will be able to bring additional capacity, in line with the new strategy to implement the Act which was operationalised this year in March.

BBI responses
The Acting CEO replied to questions about the operational losses of the entity. The Minister already referred to the time lag in the annual report, and in the reports presented today. Some of the issues have been addressed in the annual report. Historically, the underperformance is related to insufficient funding and the Minister is helping the BBI with this. Once the funding can be resolved, the entity can begin the process of implementing measures to improve profitability and revenue. Part of the remedial actions includes the process of merging BBI and Sentech. There are some action points related to this which can unlock the capacity of both entities to be able to leverage each other and improve on performance going forward.

USAASA responses
Mr Simphiwe Thobela, USAASA Board, confirmed the entity was working well with the seconded CFO. If he had come much earlier, perhaps some of the issues that confronted the board the previous year would have been resolved. He assured the Committee that the board and the audit function of the entity had been seized. The bigger percentage of the irregular expenditure was historical. It was incurred long before the Interim Board was appointed. In the period under review, the entity has managed irregular expenditure.

The Acting CEO said the only things accumulating irregular expenditure are the long-term contracts like rent. Outside of these commitments, there has not been any irregular expenditure in the year. Regarding the failure to adhere to the 30-day payment period, there were technicalities on the banking system side, which also affected the entire reporting for the quarter. The entity had received about 100 invoices, but only six were not paid. The target was therefore not met. This has been corrected since the appointment of the CFO in the entity. Management has also completed the classification of the historic, irregular, fruitless, and wasteful expenditures, and saw how it could condone some of it because some of it expired. In the next reporting period, the entity will provide an update on this.

The disciplinary process of the officials who were suspended for various maladministration matters is virtually complete and the verdict of this process will be implemented. The entity has also embarked on the process of ensuring those who are responsible for the irregular expenditure will be charged by the entity.

SAPO responses
Mr Sipho Majombozi, Acting Deputy Chairperson, SAPO Board, said SAPO welcomes all the support demonstrated by the Department and the Committee. The people of South Africa have an affinity for the Post Office. It may appear that the performance has been exponential, from 21% in the past period to 46%. On the face of it, this is more than a 100% improvement, but it also calms the Minister in de-crying the past performance. It has urged SAPO to implement the new strategy and not concentrate only on the aspects of the strategy which will require funding. Possibly, the 46% is an indication of this.

Sentech responses
Mr Mlamli Booi, CEO, Sentech, acknowledged the comments made by Members on the performance of Sentech. Sentech is working on improving, but the challenges of the last two years have hit the entity. However, Sentech will ensure it does not drop the ball.

NEMISA responses
Mr Trevor Rammitlwa, CEO, NEMISA, replied to the question on the 112 people who attended the training. The target, which related to the training of government officials in digital transformation, applied to quarter three. The annual target was 800. For this quarter, Sentech targeted 300, but only did 112. In the earlier quarters, Sentech had covered a lot of ground and it was running short of just 62 to achieve the annual target. Basically, by quarter three, the annual target was achieved.

ICASA responses
Dr Lewis drew Members’ attention to slides 40 to 43, which deal with the Annual Performance Plan (APP) targets, which were not met by the end of the Fourth Quarter. Over the year, there were a total of 48 targets, but ICASA only met 42. As for the policy; research and analysis; and engineering and technology targets; the way the former project is divided depends on the primary nature of the project. This project had one target which was not met at the end of the year, and related to the subscription TV marketing enquiry. It is a complex environment, it is a fast-moving environment, and it is an enquiry which has dragged on for a fairly long period of time. The Council had a recommendation on the project right towards the end of the financial year. It resolved to refer it back to the Committee to ensure, even at the price of missing the target, that the outcome of the enquiry and the proposed regulatory interventions coming out of it, would be fully correct and justified.

One of the projects under the latter policy related to rapid deployment and rapid deployment guidelines. This target was not met because the project depended on issuing ministerial policy direction in relation to rapid deployment. This is in the pipeline and will probably be achieved in the coming year. Two other targets included the compliance system, which turned out to be more expensive than the budget provided. There has been a suggested model of implementation which would allow ICASA to engage the system in a way which would not exceed the budget. This has required engagements with the National Treasury, which are ongoing. The target was met at the end of the fourth quarter.

The final target under engineering and technology was the Central Karoo Astronomy Advantage Site, where there were some glitches in the supply chain and the work was not completed by the end of the financial year. The deliverable was, therefore, not met, but the work was proceeding on an ongoing process.

The Chairperson summarised some key points and noted and appreciated the targets which have been met. The reports are for the fourth quarter, and all stakeholders are aware of the activities which would have taken place in the entities after this period. Some of the information is covered in the annual report, which will come before the Committee. Members would then see if the action plans have yielded any results. Quite clearly, there are capacity challenges in some of the entities, and vacancies have not yet been filled. These processes must be fast-tracked.

The Committee appreciates the clarity provided on the FPB merger because the uncertainty may cause a negative impact. Competent staff may be lost over time. Hopefully, the decision which will come out of Cabinet will be positive, based on the evidence put before Cabinet. However, there is a need to move quickly to ensure the FPB is capacitated enough to implement the additional requirements brought about by the amendments in the Act.

As for SAPO, support must be given from a point of budgeting. Similarly, more financial or funding support for the public mandate of the SABC should be provided.

The update on the BDM is appreciated and there is an action plan ready.

The agenda item on the briefing by ICASA on the Council Performance Management System was just an update. The matter was postponed as ICASA requested to have the matter workshopped first. This will allow some engagements between ICASA and the Department.

Update on the ICASA Council Performance Management System
Mr Shelembe said he had prepared a presentation, but it rehashed the issues which had been presented to the Committee already. After the draft ICASA Council Performance Management System was submitted to the National Assembly, the Department had further engagements with ICASA. The last engagement was in the present month when the Minister referred the final draft to ICASA for its comments.

ICASA responded to this draft and was indeed complementary regarding the improvements made to the draft Performance Management System. The Department and ICASA reached consensus and the draft has since been updated. The updated draft will be submitted to the Committee. Subsequently, the Department will await the formal approval or concurrence of the National Assembly, which the ICASA Act requires.

Dr Lewis confirmed the summary provided by Mr Shelembe. And said ICASA looks forward to the completion of the process as Council.  

Briefing by Deputy Minister in the Presidency and the MDDA Board on allegations of governance irregularities at the MDDA
Ms Thembi Siweya, Deputy Minister in the Presidency, said it was safe to say the entity has managed to meet its targets, and where it failed, it was because of financial constraints. However, Treasury has ongoing engagements to obtain more funding for the entity. Even in this financial year, the entity is still struggling with funding.

There was a whistleblower complaint concerning operations at MDDA which the entity was advised to consider and investigate. Once this was received, the Ministry wrote to Brand South Africa (I think she meant the Public Service Commission), asking it to investigate the complaint. Subsequently, the board wrote a letter to the Ministry saying it was suspending the chairperson of the board. During this time, the Minister had a meeting with the previous CEO, and she wrote a report for Minister Ntshavheni, DCDT. The meeting was official, it was recorded and minutes were taken. After the meetings with the previous CEO and the board, the Minister also met with them separately to ascertain the issues. As a result, there are four reports from those engagements which can be scrutinised.

The issue was deliberated on and it was resolved to seek a legal opinion regarding the way forward. At the time of engagements, the Ministry sought more understanding and information about what transpired. The legal opinion said the Ministry should allow the board to deal with the employer (I think she was referring to the former CEO as an employer). The issue was between the employer and the board.

The former CEO reported the issue to the Public Service Commission (PSC), which wrote to the Ministry outlining the issues reported to it. The PSC gave the Ministry 30 days to respond. The Ministry responded in accordance. The PSC has not yet responded, and it is our understanding the process is still ongoing. The Ministry would now ask the board for a status update on the matter. Once this update is received, the Ministry will report to the Committee.

In conclusion, the organisation is running smoothly and is not affected by this matter. The Ministry met with the funders as well and brought the funders into confidence about the entity having continuity.

Briefing by the Ministry in the Presidency on quarterly reports of the GCIS
Ms Nomonde Mnukwa, DDG: Corporate Services, took Members through quarters three and quarter four presentations of the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS). The presentation outlined key performance highlights; performance status on both quarters; reasons for missed targets and financial information.  

See presentation for details

Governance challenges at MDDA by Ministry in the Presidency
Ms Mnukwa began on slide 12 of the presentation. The slides prior to slide 12 outlined the process undertaken since the whistleblowing; the status of the MDDA Board; Board actions and response; the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer; obtaining information from the board; and the information presented by the Deputy Minister. Ms Mnukwa went on to present the relationship between the Minister and the MDDA board, and the intervention by the shareholders.

On 17 March 2022, the board received a letter from the PSC regarding allegations of an irregular extension of appointment in connection with the contract of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) by MDDA. The complaint had been written to PSC by the MDDA CEO, Ms Zukiswa Potye. The first complaint came in May 2021 and was received by Deputy Minister Siweya and former Minister  Ntshavheni, when she was acting in the Presidency, and the Portfolio Committee on Communications (PCC) regarding contractual and other human capital-related issues pertaining to the MDDA. On 21 May 2021, Acting Chairperson Hlengani Mathebula asked the Corporate Affairs Committee (CAC) of the MDDA to investigate these allegations. The CAC divided the inquiry into two phases; Phase One related to the complaint regarding the CFO being irregularly appointed to a permanent position, and Phase Two dealt with the remaining complaints.

The Board meeting dated 8 March 2021 was called to ratify this permanent appointment and the report from Ms Potye was provided to the PSC. The report by CAC also found that Ms Potye, in her capacity as the Acting CEO, signed the CFOs letter of appointment on 1 September 2018, which is silent on the term of the CFOs appointment, and, therefore, on the face of it constitutes a permanent appointment. The report further revealed Ms Potye failed to ensure the said CFO has a signed employment contract.

The report noted that the CEO informed the board for the first time, through the CAC interviews, that the CFO had never signed an employment contract and still does not have such a signed employment contract. The CEO advised CAC that the CFO maintains he applied for a permanent position and the previous financial manager, Mr Sungano Mutsvedu, had instructed a recruitment agency to headhunt suitable CFO candidates, on the basis the successful candidate would be appointed permanently. The net result was the CFO had applied for a permanent position, and in accordance with the recommendation of Ms Potye and the MDDA, appointed the CFO permanently with the letter of appointment signed by Ms Potye.

The report also found Ms Potye signed the CFOs letter of appointment on 1 September 2018. As such, the current MDDA Board has merely confirmed a previous decision of the board, in accordance with a MDDA Board meeting held on 7 November 2018 wherein: “The acting CEO requested the board to ratify the appointment of the CFO as a senior executive member. The board was asked to ratify on the basis of the board members having been part of the recruitment process of the CFO. The board quotes Section 12(6) of the Act, which states “The terms and conditions of service of the Chief Executive Officer and other staff of the Agency, including their remuneration, allowances, pensions and other service benefits, are determined by the Board.”

As such, the Act does not prohibit the MDDA from appointing a CFO permanently. The board fails to understand why Ms Potye, given her involvement in the appointment of the CFO, and given her recommendations to the board, lodged a complaint with the PSC, and now refuses to prepare a permanent employment contract for the CFO. The decision of the board also included agreements by board members, including former member Ms Andiswa Mcingwana.

As for the suspension of the CEO, Ms Potye was appointed as the MDDAs CEO in January 2020 after she acted in this capacity in 2018, seconded by the former Minister of Communications. After the resignation of the former chairperson, a new chairperson was appointed on 21 May 2021. The MDDA Board was made aware of complaints regarding the employment contract of CFO Mr Yaseen Asmal and the lack of records management within the entity. Mr Asmal was appointed in September 2018 permanently, even though the recruitment advertisement for the position referred to a five-year fixed-term contract. Following due process, Ms Potye was served with a disciplinary notice with six charges and was found not guilty. The incompatibility inquiry came because the board made numerous allegations against the CEO:
Appears to have a complaint the board took her for a disciplinary hearing;
Is hostile to the Chairperson of the Board and the Company Secretary;
Raised her frustration with the board to the Executive Authority whereby she listed several issues against the MDDA Board, specifically the chairperson of the board, Company Secretary and the CFO; and
Considers herself a whistleblower as she escalated the matters to the Office of the Public Service Commission when the board wanted her to make an irregular appointment.

As for the intervention by the stakeholder, according to the MDDA Act, the Minister has no role to play during the appointment of the MDDA CEO, as there are no concurrence provisions in the Act.

MDDA on allegations of governance and irregularities
Mr Hlengani Mathebula, Chairperson of the Board, MDDA, took Members through the presentation, which outlined the complaint from its inception, being the time it was received; the processes undertaken by the Minister, Deputy Minister, the board, both phases one and two of the inquiry into staff appointments; governance issues as outlined by the CAC inquiry; and the remedial actions.

As things stand, the remedial measures by the board were as follows:
-           Consequence management has been applied to erring staff members, specifically Ms Z. Potye, Ms D. Lebea, Ms N. Ndawonde and Ms T. Sibeko
-           Mr M. Tsotetsi has been demoted and the process to recover payments to Ms T. Sibeko has begun.
-           The MDDA has conducted an audit of all personnel files.
-           An experienced Human Resources Manager and Human Resources Officer have been appointed and the human resources policies have been reviewed to strengthen internal controls.
-           An investigation is underway as regards the leaking of confidential information, and consequence management will be applied in this regard.
-           Letters have been written to funders to advise funders, although the CEO has been suspended, the organisation remains committed to fulfilling its mandate and functions.

The Chairperson said the Committee had intentionally asked board members to be present at this meeting to avoid misinterpretation of issues.

Dr Basopu said it looked like the performance of GCIS had improved, but the issue which needed attention was financial resources. He asked if there was any way the Committee could intervene to assist the entity in receiving the much-needed funding.

The MDDA matter is very complicated, if one follows the suspension of the CEO and the appointment of the CFO. The report says the CFO was appointed by the CEO, but in 2018 and at the time, the CEO was only Acting CEO. Down the line, the reports show the post was for five years, but instead of signing the letter for the period of five years, the CEO appointed the CFO permanently, or there was no clear indication. It was later discovered the CFO was now appointed permanently, and the Committee was trying to rectify this.

There is a letter of complaint from the PSC and the former CEO who appointed the CFO. Clearly, there is something very wrong if the matter is still under review with these complications. It is uncertain what the Committee can recommend. He suggested the Committee impose a timeframe on the finalisation of the matter. He also sought clarity regarding if it was indeed true it was the very same CEO who appointed the CFO she complained about in the PSC. The Committee cannot do much right now because the matter is still being investigated and reviewed. As the processes must be given space to unfold, timeframes must be imposed.

Ms Bodlani said with all the information presented before the Committee, it is impossible to believe the MDDA is operating optimally. She appreciated the Deputy Minister thinking a clean audit and compliance with the requirements of the AG is a good reflection of the status of the entity. However, if the CEO and CFO are at loggerheads, it does little to boost the staff morale. The clean audit is appreciated but there is a governance crisis at the entity.

The biggest issue is how the CEO was allowed to keep the signing of the contract of the CFO in limbo for four years, with the board on watch. Ms Bodlani asked if it was a question of scapegoating, where the CEO was now taking the fall; and why it took so long for the board to ultimately act against the CEO. There seems to be some level of a lax approach in dealing with the matter, considering it is documented. Ms Bodlani also asked how long the board envisions the CEO being suspended for.
Lastly, she said there was a junior employee who was on sick leave for a couple of months but continued to be paid. It was agreed the employee would pay the money back. She asked for details regarding the amount and the arrangement regarding how the money will be paid back.

Mr Molala said these problems were not exclusively administrative. The issue was one of personalities and people not working together well professionally. The board has a lot of explaining to do about these ‘shenanigans.’ The Ministry should engage the board so when the report comes to the Committee it is clear what the actual problem is; where the board was when the appointment was made; what its resolutions were; and the Committee also needs to get deeper into the professionalisation of the institution. This matter has not been dealt with professionally. The Committee is not able to do its work properly because this matter is being dealt with in another process.

Deputy Minister Siweya said she was not certain about the timeframes, but she would ensure, as the Ministry, to write to the board to obtain the status update on the process. Unfortunately, the issue is sub iudice and there is only so much information which can be provided to the Committee. The matter should be prioritised to find a solution. The Committee could perhaps consider inviting the previous board members who were there when these matters occurred. For example, with the appointment of the current CEO, the Committee must also be informed of how this process unfolded.

The issue of the CFO had taken so long because the board did not want to rush the process, wanted to ensure everybody was treated fairly, and all relevant protocols were observed. The whistleblowers’ letter outlined several issues, so the process also includes those other matters.

Dr Hlengani said the board has currently dealt with this matter and acted on the whistleblower’s allegations. Almost none of the current board members were there before; only one was there in 2018. When a question is raised about why the CFO was allowed to sit for almost four years without a contract, it is not a question which he can answer because he did not preside over this matter. The new board did not preside over this matter.

Secondly, ordinarily one would have thought when the Committee asked the board to discharge responsibilities, it expected some consequence management would have to follow. In this instance, the board is dealing with consequence management but the person the board is busy doing this to is all over the show and making it seem the board is acting subjectively. The board can be subjected to any legal process to review if it has done its job properly. All the processes undertaken by the board can be shared with the Committee and any vital documentation, if necessary. The board is ensuring the work of the MDDA is discharged appropriately. Unfortunately, there are other matters thrown at the current board that must be dealt with and resolved.

The board sat with the CCMA on 19 and 20 July, dealing with the CEO matter. It is sitting again on 14, 15, and 28 September. The CCMA cannot be put under pressure to expedite the matter. Hopefully, when the CCMA makes a finding, it will be accepted or it will be appealed, if deemed necessary.

Ms Bodlani said there were no details provided on the staff member who was granted sick leave and was then paid for a couple of months. She supported the idea of a closed meeting between the board and the Committee, to receive more detailed information on this matter. She also suggested the Committee should seek legal opinion on the matter because this matter is said to be sub iudice. Members need to know where Members powers start and end in carrying out their oversight role in dealing with the matter.

Regarding GCIS, the Chairperson said the Committee appreciates its efforts and the work it does, but funding remains an issue. This is a legacy issue of the digital divide and discrimination people would have been subjected to, spatially or otherwise. The government remains a source of information for those who would have been excluded. The funding should reflect this. The Committee may need to seriously investigate this matter and raise it sharply. While the Committee clapped hands for the clean audit the GCIS received, GCIS still raised the issue with the Committee of equipment which needs serious attention, to the point where some of it was not being used. Therefore, when the collapse finally happens, the Committee must be practical and remember the Committee was faced with these issues, and the issue of lack of funding for the GCIS as well.

The Committee will consider dedicating some time to conduct oversight and meet with the board about the MDDA matter. In this meeting, all parties included should not be left behind. The previous board members must also be invited to explain where explanations are required. At this point, the Committee could decide if the actions taken so far were satisfactory. In the end, the report expected now was an assurance that the board made the necessary intervention, and there was correct political leadership where needed, without breaking the law. It is important to note the Committee appreciates the work of MDDA, and it is this good work which has encouraged the Committee to get answers so the good work is not disturbed. The performance of the MDDA is not an issue. The closed meeting will help the Committee understand how this issue came about and how it can be resolved.

Dr Mathebula said that because the meeting was public, he could not disclose the details surrounding the employee who took sick leave, how much the employee got paid, or when the money will be paid back to MDDA. However, in a closed session, the Committee may be provided with this information.

Consideration of the committee programme
The Chairperson presented the term’s programme for consideration and adoption. He suggested the adoption of the programme, and once approval from the House Chairperson is obtained, the Committee will amend it accordingly.

The programme was adopted without any changes.

Feedback from the Content Advisor on the South African Postbank Limited A/Bill
Mr Mbombo Maleka, Content Advisor, Portfolio Committee on Communications, provided feedback on the status of the public comments received on the South African Postbank Limited A/Bill. Only one response was received from COSATU, and the submission date closed on 25 July.

The Chairperson welcomed the update on the South African Postbank Limited A/Bill and the Committee would like to invite COSATU to come before the Committee to make a submission. When the management committee(Manco) received this report, the Committee also asked if it needs to check with legal if it would be seen as offside to the agreed public participation process if the Committee were to make specific invitations for comments from various stakeholders, in case stakeholders may not have had sight of the call for submissions. This Bill is an entry point for the establishment of a state bank.

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Communications on the filling of four vacancies on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Council
The Chairperson said the Committee had made recommendations for candidates to be considered for appointment at ICASA. One of the candidates communicated with the Committee saying the candidate was no longer available, and the next candidate was considered.

The report was submitted to Members for adoption. It was adopted without any changes.

Adoption of subcommittee members for SABC Board vacancies
The Chairperson asked the Democratic Alliance to provide the names of its Members who will sit in the subcommittees for SABC, ICASA, and MDDA for the filling of vacancies.

Ms Bodlani submitted the name of Ms Kohler-Barnard (DA) for the SABC board vacancies, who will sit on the ICASA and MDDA subcommittees.

The Chairperson asked to receive this information in writing as well.

The meeting was adjourned.

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