Two senior SABC group executives spent about R48m on consultants from
October 2007 to last month, according to documents obtained by Business

The documents show spending by the SABC’s chief financial officer, Robin Nicholson, and its head of strategy, Sipho Sithole, writes Jocelyn Newmarch.

The broadcaster faces a R784m loss this year. Although falling revenue is to blame for at least R400m of that, expenses of R5,6bn for the year to this March were R1,3bn higher than the previous year’s expenses of R4,3bn, showing poor cost control.

The documents detailing the spending by Nicholson and Sithole add to previous reports of inept management and loose cost control.

This documentation could also demonstrate an overreliance on consultants, despite the SABC’s top-heavy management structure.

According to the Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu), the largest trade union at the SABC, only 55,98% of all SABC staff are involved in its core operational functions.

Senior officials and management, who account for 11% of employees, earn 24% of the salary bill, a total of R308m a year, Bemawu said on its website in March, citing the SABC’s own employment equity report.

“Consultants are employed for a specific reason,” said SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago.

Gemini Consulting, he said, helped the organisation implement a strategy, and had been appointed in line with the SABC’s processes.

“We wanted an implementation partner. They have to be independent from us so they can help. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come for free,” he said.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.