Political parties yesterday welcomed a police investigation of fraud
allegations against suspended SABC legal services head Mafika Sihlali, writes Borrie La Grange in The Times.

The Times has established that Johannesburg’s commercial crimes unit is investigating Sihlali for fraud, amounting to about R1,8 million, that was discovered by an internal audit . The audit report fingered Sihlali as authorising “inflated” payments to law firms to which he had given work.

Democratic Alliance spokeswoman Dene Smuts said: “At long last there is some action. We can only assume the SABC laid the complaint and now it finally seems [the matter will] be handled correctly.”

Smuts said questions put to SABC board members by the parliamentary portfolio committee were not satisfactorily answered.

She said: “Their answers have been very evasive. If the allegations in the audit report are true, it amounts to a national scandal. Is their reticence to be explained away by embarrassment? We think they have been a little too correct in pleading procedure in this instance [regarding Sihlali’s suspension and the police investigation].”

ID leader Patricia de Lille said SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu’s silence might indicate he was upset that the press got wind of the police investigation.

She said: “He should be gladthe police are now investigating … as it is in the interests of clean administration of the SABC’s affairs.”

Click here to read the full report, posted on the Sunday Times website.