Cape Town – MPs spent Wednesday morning trying to piece together the misdeeds, misbehaviour and mismanagement of the SA Broadcasting Corporation.
The chairperson of the Parliamentary communications committee Ismail Vadi seized on a suggestion by Eric Kholwane, ANC communications spokesperson, that the corporation chiefs were called with 'group executives' implying that there is a group of subsidiary companies.
Vadi suggested that such subsidiaries could be used "for money laundering".
"Are these funds for the siphoning of money and laundering of money for individuals?" Vadi asked.
Robin Nicholson, SABC acting chief executive, admitted that one of the subsidiaries, which supplies air tickets to employees could be used for money laundering, but the management is aware of the risk and it is carefully monitored.
MPs were also told that the special investigating unit was probing a series of discounting transactions.
Nicholson explained that large advertisers were given discounts on the prices they paid for prime time advertising, and in addition were often given free advertising slots during unpopular times of day.
"There were very large concerns in the course of this fiscal year about how well that was being controlled, and that is the subject of an SIU investigation right now and the organisation has taken disciplinary action around those events where people went well outside our discount policy."
Johnny de Lange of the ANC asked the SABC executive how much senior staff were being paid. Nicholson promised he would draw up a list and submit it.
The executive staff also admitted that scarce skills pay scales were not always used to retain people with scarce skills, but also from time to time to encourage people to apply for posts.
The Democratic Alliance's Natasha Michael expressed her concern that the discounting policy might be a way of giving cheap advertising to the government or ruling party, and thus discriminating against other political parties.
She was advised by Vadi to leave such worries for a future occasion.