SENIOR management of embattled state-owned broadcast and signal distributor Sentech have been called before ParliamentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s portfolio committee on communication to explain business decisions made by Sentech, including its involvement in a cable project on the west coast of Africa, writes Chantelle Benjamin in Business Day.
A report handed to Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda by a ministerial task team last week showed Sentech was in ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œterminal declineÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and needed rescuing.
Committee chairman Ismail Vadi said yesterday Sentech was set to appear on February 24 and had been listed as a priority for this year.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt has been involved in too many projects that have not yielded results, and this with public funds. MyWireless (a broadband scheme that brought multimedia to the South African market) is now being written off at great expense; it cannot be allowed to happen again.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Alarm bells were already ringing in November after a presentation of annual results by, among others, CEO Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane, chairman Colin Hickling , chief financial officer Siddique Cassim , and chief operating officer Beverly Ngwenya. Ngwenya said there was a R150m shortfall in SentechÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s capital expenditure budget, and it needed R588m to cover operating expenditure.
Vadi said SentechÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s involvement in the New Partnership for AfricaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s DevelopmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s high-capacity undersea African Coast to Europe (Ace) project needed interrogation in light of other failed projects.