SABC ghostworkers and jobs for pals scandal resolved

Moshoeshoe Monare. | Debbie Yazbek

Moshoeshoe Monare. | Debbie Yazbek

Published Feb 27, 2024


The SABC investigations into allegations of ghost workers that rocked the public broadcaster in December last year have been resolved.

This is according to SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo, who also said that the corporation was not aware of any documentation pointing to a litigation process in this regard.

Seapolelo was responding to questions from The Star after allegations that the public broadcaster’s former news producer and “Expressions” presenter, Jacqueline Maphala, was taking legal action against the broadcasting giant.

The Star was tipped off by an anonymous source that Maphala and some of the freelance producers of the “Unfiltered” current affairs show, airing on the SABC News channel, were fired recently after the SABC News division managers discovered that the staff were claiming hours that they didn’t work for.

The investigation into “ghostworkers” was resolved after a whistle-blower pointed out to management that the public broadcaster was infested with “ghostworkers”.

However, Seapolelo said that the public broadcaster had moved on and were not aware of any lawsuits from former or current employees.

“The SABC can confirm that the matter has been resolved and closed and that the corporation has not received any documentation pointing to a litigation process in this regard,” Seapolelo said.

Maphala’s phone rang unanswered when The Star tried to contact her to ascertain whether it was true that she was seeking legal action after she was let go.

The mole further alleged that the signatures on the time sheets to pay these freelancers to work “ghost hours” were signed by the controversial executive producer Busisiwe Ntuli; SABC News Head of Output, Mlungisi Shivamba; with the final signature of group executive of news and current affairs Moshoeshoe Monare, who is the most senior person.

It is alleged that Ntuli has since been “redeployed” to an investigative department that she held under Shivamba and Monare.

“In addition, as it stands, the SABC can’t trace back workers who worked ghost hours. It’s only now that Shivamba is ambushing staff meant to be on duty with unexpected phone calls to check if they are at work or not.

“He only started doing that in January 2024. Imagine how many hours and money unaccounted for?” said the source who is close to the SABC.

The “ghostworkers” scandal came after Monare lodged an investigation into the matter.

The alleged “ghost workers” had been paid in its news division following allegations that surfaced through an anonymous email regarding the payment of “ghostworkers”.

The Star previously reported that a widely circulated email -- that the SABC then had described as “fake” -- stated that Monare had come under fire after the scandal broke.

Monare said at the time: “I don’t know what the email is referring to. We are living in the era of misinformation and fake information.

“So I’m not aware what they’re referencing. So I cannot attest to that. And also, we need to be careful not to really give credence to some of this information because we are actually amplifying them,” he said.

This follows a forensic investigation that uncovered the existence of the “ghostworkers” who are being paid public funds.

It was reported that the public broadcaster has since acted against one of its managers, Livhuwani Mutshatshi, who was implicated following the scandal.

According to reports, the investigation launched by Monare uncovered that there were at least 20 such workers being paid by the public broadcaster.

Another source inside the SABC said the matter was not about “ghostworkers” but a manager who was not named, hiring friends to be in the payroll of the public broadcaster.

The source said the manager has since been fired and the people they had employed were also let go.

The Star