SABC: ‘Challenge legality of Molefe appointment’

2010-06-14 10:59

A prominent academic has called for a legal challenge to contest

the lawfulness of the appointment of Phil Molefe as SABC news and current

affairs boss.

Professor Jane Duncan, the Highway Africa chair of media and

information society at Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media

Studies, said if the board was unable to reverse Molefe’s appointment, then a

legal challenge must be brought to contest the lawfulness of this most strategic

of appointments.

“It’s pretty clear that SABC board chairperson Ben Ngubane has

exceeded his mandate by railroading Molefe’s appointment,” Duncan said.

She said Molefe did not have a strong reputation for

independent-minded journalism, which was needed if the broadcaster was to make a

decisive break from the unctuous practices of the previous news

management.

The furore surrounding Molefe’s appointment last month has brought

the focus back on the running of the SABC.

His appointment was announced by Ngubane and chief executive Solly

Mokoetle, and was allegedly made without the input of the other SABC board

members.

A former SABC board member, who spoke to City Press on condition of

anonymity, has advised the public broadcaster to implement the auditor-general’s

recommendation following last year’s probe.

The ex-board member said the SABC was experiencing a failure of

corporate governance in top management.

When the report was released, the interim SABC board agreed that

the broadcaster’s fundamental challenges and the underlying causes contributing

to the current situation were the lack of its quality of reporting, governance

arrangements and leadership oversight.

The interim board promised to address the challenges facing the

SABC and to reduce the risk of deficiencies identified by the auditor-general

from recurring in future.

The former board member admitted that moving forward would be

difficult for the SABC.

“There should be trust between the board and its chairperson,” she

said.

Promises by the SABC to change to certain policies, practices and

schemes are yet to materialise.

The Freedom of Expression Network’s Siphiwe Segodi said Ngubane

should resign and a replacement be appointed from the other eleven non-executive

board members.

“The other board members have shown integrity,” Segodi said.

He said the network, which is part of the Save Our SABC Coalition,

and its partners tried to meet both Ngubane and Mokoetle.

“Ngubane didn’t respond to our e-mails and calls,” he said.

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