Take action against Molefe, says SOS

2010-06-03 15:36

The SABC board must take urgent action against the recent

appointment of Phil Molefe as head of news, the SOS Campaign said.

The organisation said: “We note with dismay that SABC CEO Solly

Mokoetle has gone ahead and confirmed the appointment of Mr Phil Molefe as head

of news. Mr Mokoetle is now further deepening the corporate governance crisis at

the SABC.”

The SOS Campaign represents a number of trade unions, independent

producer organisations, non-governmental organisations, community organisations,

academics and freedom of expression activists. It was previously called the Save

Our SABC Campaign.

In light of these events, the organisation also believed the board

needed to take immediate, appropriate and strong action against Mokoetle and

board chairman, Ben Ngubane.

SOS said: “ Ngubane showed flagrant disregard for good corporate

governance practices. We once again note a statement he released last month

where he stated that he had taken the decision to appoint the head of news on

his own, thus circumventing the SABC’s own internal processes. We call on the

board to take strong, decisive action against the chair and conduct an enquiry

into the matter.”

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda on Tuesday said he would

meet the board soon about Molefe’s appointment.

Nyanda said he was “concerned” about the development and appealed

for “calm and restraint”.

He urged all board members to refrain from making statements while

this issue was being dealt with.

SOS said: “This is a critical moment for the SABC, in particular

the SABC board.”

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

to discuss Molefe’s appointment.

Reports suggested Mokoetle and Ngubane were in favour of Molefe’s

appointment but the rest of the board was opposed to it.

Senior positions at the public broadcaster have 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 CEO.

He was appointed by the interim 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 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 past

financial year.

The Pan Africanist Youth Congress of Azania said: “We are perplexed

by the lack of accountability at the SABC. The public broadcaster has been in a

shambles for too long.”

 

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