Paying tax is something no one really enjoys, but at least we can rest easy in the knowledge that our hard-earned money is being well spent by those at the helm.
Of course that last bit was said through gritted teeth, because I think we’re all aware that our government has shown a massive disposition for squandering taxpayers’ money.
Latest glaring example – the farce over at SAA, the shambolic operation losing a staggering R5,6 billion during the past financial year.
One that sometimes flies under the radar is our fondness of the massive ‘golden handshake’ – you know, where someone who has done a terrible job is rewarded for their efforts with a huge cash payout.
Ready yourselves, because BusinessTech have one example that’s going to make your blood boil:
An alleged settlement awarded to former SABC CEO, Frans Matlala [pictured below] was one such occasion. According to media reports, Matlala’s legal team and the SABC agreed on a settlement amount of R18 million, in July this year. This came a day before his disciplinary committee hearing. Frans Matlala was suspended in November 2015, four months into his five year contract.
So the guy worked four months, was suspended and then rewarded with a monster payday? By now you know who pays when the SABC drops the ball, much like that awful excuse for a concert they put on a few weeks back (HERE).
Matlala’s settlement is the largest ever by the SABC, but it’s by no means a stand-alone example:
- Dali Mpofu’s R6.7 million payout by the public broadcaster.
- In 2015, the Minister of Communication revealed that the SABC had paid former CEO Lulama Mokhobo R5.6 million in 2014;
- former head of news Phil Molefe R4.9 million in 2013;
- acting COO Christine Mampane R4.3 million in 2012;
- another former CEO Solly Mokoetle R3.8 million;
- and former company secretary Thelma Melk R3 million.
I think I could handle working under Supreme Leader Hlaudi if it meant I became a millionaire the moment I was sacked.
Of course the SABC isn’t the only state-run institution handing out the dosh willy-nilly:
There seems to be a general trend of huge payouts and financial mismanagement in the public sector. In just the past two years we have seen the number and monetary value of golden handshakes increase.
Anrwa Dramat [Hawks], Peter Richer [SARS], Ivan Pillay [SARS], Tshediso Matona [Eskom], Tsholofelo Molefe [Eskom] and Mxolisi Nxasana [National Director of Public Prosecutions] were paid out to the sum of nearly R60 million. The payments included severance payments, outstanding leave, legal costs, restrain of trades and pay lieu of notice; these are all justifiable in accordance with employment contracts and relevant legislation. However, in one form or another, these payouts seem far larger than necessary.
Just why are our government-run institutions so keen to hand over the cash, and why is it of such concern to us? Gee, it’s almost like they’re trying to hide something from us:
What we are seeing at present in the public sector is a grave cause for concern. The key distinctions between competence and incompetence, wrong doing, corruption, mismanagement, and political interference are not made.
Employees are often suspended haphazardly pending an inquiry, disciplinary action or legal action. In many cases the inquiry is terminated before its conclusion, with the parties then reaching an agreement resulting in millions of Rand at the taxpayers’ expense.
It avoids embarrassing exposure of dirty laundry in employment relationships or in the working of public institutions. It also averts public scrutiny of such terminations, setting a dangerous precedent which can be seen as fostering a corrupt relationship between the parties…
Understandably the reason for golden handshakes is a mix of the law, cost of litigation, goodwill standing, and unjustified reputational damage to the parties. However, in the public sector we are dealing with taxpayers’ money and care needs to be taken to minimise this cost.
Care that, given the staggering amont of money being handed over with little or no consideration for the struggles of our citizens, clearly isn’t being taken.
It’s a disconnect like this that makes people angry, and you only need to look at the #FeesMustFall protests around the country (HERE) to know that South Africans are officially gatvol.
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