THE Minister of Communications, Siphiwe Nyanda, is to sack the entire Sentech board – including its chief executive, Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane – on Thursday, according to a reliable source, writes Wiseman Khuzwayo in Business Report.

This follows a scathing report by a task team that was appointed by the minister last year to ensure a turnaround of the situation at the SABC and Sentech. The 12-member team, comprising industry experts and union representatives, handed its report to Nyanda in October.

Tiyani Rikhotso, Nyanda's spokesman, said he was not aware of the intended sackings.

The source said that Nyanda had met on Monday with Colin Hickling, the chairman of the Sentech board, and had asked him for his resignation and those of the rest of the board.

It would appear that Hickling had refused, otherwise there would not have been a need for Nyanda to resort to such a drastic measure.

Hickling confirmed that the meeting between him and Nyanda had taken place, but refused to say what was discussed, citing confidentiality.

"I cannot comment on speculation and rumour," he said.

Mokone-Matabane said: "I don't know anything about that (the dismissals). This is the first time I hear of it from you. It comes as a shock."

Her contract is due to expire in September and she has already indicated that she does not intend to have it reviewed.

Business Report has in its possession a copy of the task team's report. It states that one of the underlying causes affecting sound management at Sentech is the lack of adequate leadership and oversight.

The report says staff have raised several complaints with Hickling relating to the power that has been given by Mokone-Matabane to the company secretary, Rachel Ramokhofi, who has now been appointed general manager.

"All the staff that we interviewed and documents that we reviewed indicate that the chief executive has delegated all her duties to the general manager. The general manager is effectively running Sentech. The staff morale is very low because the company secretary is bulldozing everybody," the report states.

The task team said Sentech received a lot of negative publicity in the press, and its financial performance had been negative over the past two years, yet the board had approved salary increases for executives.

"The executives have been rewarded for poor performance. This poor performance has also been supported by the board. They attribute all the problems to lack of funding, yet the money is being wasted on irregular expenditures."

The task team said it had studied the Deloitte & Touche report relating to corporate governance at Sentech.

"The audit findings of the report indicate that the board… is not experienced to manage a company like Sentech… There is a mismatch of skills and the tasks at hand," said the task team, adding that a forensic audit concluded there were irregularities involving staff.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Businessz Report's website.