Make Mokoetle settlement public - editors

2011-01-20 19:37
Johannesburg - The public has a right to know the details of the financial settlement bestowed on embattled former SABC CEO Solly Mokoetle, the SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said on Thursday.

"The public interest and the fact that public funds could be involved dictate that a full and proper public statement is called for," said Sanef chairperson Mondli Makhanya in a statement.

The New Age on Thursday reported that Mokoetle was "laughing all the way to the bank after securing a massive golden handshake to leave the corporation".

It said lawyers representing him agreed on the settlement, believed to be about R30m. Mokoetle denied receiving the settlement.

Mokoetle told SABC radio news he left with nothing not due to him, following Wednesday's announcement that he had stepped down.

"I had served the SABC even before that. When I left [then] I left with nothing else but my pension and my salary. This time around I am leaving also in the same way, with nothing else that is undue to me."

'Secrecy a cause concern'

Sanef said the "secrecy" surrounding Mokoetle's departure was a cause concern.

"The public have a right to know the details of this senior state official's departure benefits. Sanef has noted that the secrecy has led to much speculation surrounding the terms of his departure. This result is highly undesirable but the most important reason for public disclosure is the public's right to know."

The forum viewed the silence over the matter as another move to "deny the media and the public information concerning state conduct".

It was another example of government's "increasing desire to cloak state activities in secrecy" - as shown by a number of draft bills including the companies amendment bill.

"The reason given for maintaining secrecy of the terms of Mokoetle's resignation and the financial package settled on him - that it was based on a confidentiality agreement between Mokoetle and the board - is unacceptable.

"Mokoetle was the head of a state-owned institution and was accused of a failure to carry out certain duties."

Sanef called on the SABC board to immediately make a public statement.

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