Molefe is head of news: SABC

2010-06-02 08:04

SABC chief executive officer Solly Mokoetle has announced that Phil

Molefe was indeed the public broadcaster’s new head of news, despite the board

opposing the appointment.

“He (Molefe) was introduced by the chief executive as such (head of

news)... yesterday was June 1, according to the appointment, his first day in

office,” said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago today.

Mokoetle introduced Molefe yesterday to staff as the new news

boss.

Asked if this was not in defiance of the SABC board, Kganyago

replied: “That is not for me to comment on.”

A board member contacted by Sapa was unaware of the latest

development, saying the board would comment later in the day.

Last weekend, 10 members of the 12-member SABC board held a meeting

to discuss Molefe’s appointment.

Afterwards, Kganyago said in a statement: “The SABC board resolved

that the purported appointment of the group executive news and current affairs

head, Mr Phil Molefe is null and void and has no legal effect.”

Reports suggested that Mokoetle and board chairperson Ben Ngubane

were in favour of Molefe’s appointment but the rest of the board was opposed to

it.

Meanwhile, Kganyago today denied reports that the head of radio,

Mapule Mbhalati, faced disciplinary action for airing the statement by the board

that Molefe’s appointment was null and void.

She had since requested to go on early retirement.

“She was never disciplined... there is no such thing. There was no

pending disciplinary hearing against her,” said Kganyago.

“I don’t think there’s any problem when people ask for early

retirement... now they (media reports) want to bring the connotation that she

was pushed, which I don’t understand. There’s no evidence to support

that.”

Senior positions at the public broadcaster had been the centre of

controversy for months.

In January, the new SABC board was said to be unhappy with the

appointment of Mokoetle – the former Telkom Media chief content officer – as the

chief executive.

He was appointed by Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda, and not

by the board.

Mokoetle, who was the SABC’s chief operations officer between 2001

and December 2006, succeeded Dali Mpofu, who was paid R11 million to leave the

broadcaster.

Mpofu’s departure came after he had a public spat with the then

head of news Snuki Zikalala, whom he accused of leaking confidential SABC

documents to the media.

Mpofu subsequently suspended Zikalala, but then the board suspended

Mpofu.

At the time, it emerged that the SABC was in dire financial

straits.

In July last year, the SABC reported a loss of R839 million for the

previous financial year.



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