SABC decision to pay music legends R50k gratuity unlawful, SIU tells court

The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. File photo.
The SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. File photo.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/Sunday Times

SABC executives rubber-stamped an unlawful decision to pay “music legends” a R50,000 windfall without any business case before them.

This is the argument that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the SABC is pushing in the Special Tribunal as it tries to set aside the controversial decision and recover R2.5m paid to music legends in 2016.

Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and nine other former executives, including former Group CEO James Aguma, have been hauled before the Special Tribunal by the SIU and SABC in a bid to declare their decision to make “gratuity payments” to 180 “music legends” unlawful and set aside.

Motsoeneng and the nine executives decided that 183 musicians would be paid for the role they played during apartheid. Only 53 of them were paid R50,000 each in 2016.

Jabu Motsepe SC, for the SIU and the SABC — joint applicants in the matter — argued there was no budget for the expenditure and there was no business case presented for the payments.

Motsepe said the payments were unlawful and there was no policy to  authorise them.

“The decision was made without a policy, the operations committee sat there and approved the decision when it did not even have a business case in front of it and the SIU will show that in terms of the delegation of authority framework they ought to have had a business case before deciding on this matter.”

The operations committee should have sought a motivation before approving the decision, which committed the SABC to R10m as 180 “legends” were approved to receive the “gratuity payments”.

Motsepe said members of the committee who did not dissent have to be held personally liable for the decision.

The matter continues.



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