by Veronica van Dyk MP – DA Shadow deputy Minister of Communications
Date: 14 September 2017
Type: Press Statement
The DA has called for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), as another Communications entity cannot be allowed to slip into the same dysfunctional state as the SABC.
In today’s meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and her Deputy, Thandi Mahambehlala, shockingly contradicted one another on the reasons for the bleak state of affairs at the MDDA.
Minister Dlodlo blamed the several vacancies at the MDDA for the agency’s poor performance – stating that major operational issues can be addressed once vacancies are filled.
However, the Deputy Minister, on the other hand, stated that new appointments would not solve the problems at the MDDA. She proceeded to make various allegations regarding the agency’s failure to implement certain recommendations from a 2015 report.
Minister Dlodlo also flagged the instances of intimidation at the MDDA and cited the Acting CEO, Donald Liphoko’s illegal dismissal as well as the instance of him being locked out of his office.
The Deputy Minister for her part defended Mr Liphoko’s dismissal by stating that he was fired for cancelling irregular contracts at the MDDA. She did, however, admit that the Board Chairperson is guilty of terrorising the employees at the MDDA.
There is clear victimisation and intimidation at the MDDA, both the Minister and the Deputy Minister attested to this. Instances of intimidation and bullying have no place at our public entities and it must be rooted out.
The fact that Minister Dlodlo and Deputy Minister Mahambahlale are contradicting one another does not inspire any confidence that the situation will be resolved. The Ministers must get their acts together and commit to turning things around at the embattled entity.
The DA has received various complaints from MDDA staff members since 2014 and has written numerous letters to the Committee about this and it is unacceptable that these issues are only being addressed now.
The DA will not stand by and watch as the same disasters of the SABC are repeated at the MDDA.