Molefe 'will not take golden handshake'

2012-04-15 21:00
Johannesburg - SABC head of news and current ­affairs, Phil Molefe, is determined not to walk away from the public broadcaster with a golden handshake.

An emergency board sub­committee meeting will be held on Monday to investigate his effective suspension and Molefe may well be reinstated.

He was placed on special leave for the second time last week after refusing to hand over editorial powers to the broadcaster’s group chief executive Lulama Mokhobo.

Three highly-placed insiders, speaking on condition of anonymity, spoke of the dispute between Molefe and Mokhobo concerning what the former’s news team was covering for national bulletins.

Molefe was appointed by the board and any action against him must be taken under board mandate.

It was reported last week that Mokhobo was concerned Molefe was allowing suspended ANC Youth League president Julius Malema too much airtime.

“Mokhobo wanted to run operations in the newsroom,” said one insider.


Molefe is believed to have told Mokhobo that he was only ­prepared to update her on his news operations from time to time. Had Molefe agreed to Mokhobo’s orders, this would have meant the chief executive “decided who gets to be profiled”.

However, the SABC, through its spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, insists that Molefe was placed on special leave due to “issues of ­conduct”.

All Molefe would say was that he did not back any political faction or any party across the political spectrum. “As a professional, my role is to ensure that all sides of a story are reflected in news output.”

Although Mokhobo is editor-in-chief of news by virtue of her position, the SABC’s editorial policies state her role “should not be confused with the functions of the heads of radio, television news”.

“The GCEO’s [group chief ­executive officer] role is not to make day-to-day programming or newsroom decisions,” reads the policy document.

No settlement

Molefe, insiders say, will refuse a settlement even if the broadcaster makes him an offer. “There will be no settlement, he will return.”

The SABC has in the past paid out a number of executives to leave the organisation. These include:

» Former GCEO Dali Mpofu ­received R14.1m;
» Former GCEO Solly Mokoetle received R3.4m;
» Former company secretary Thelma Melk got R3.2m;
» Former advertising and marketing head Martin Evans received R2.5m; and
» Former chief people officer Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande took home R1.8m.

After his tenure at the SABC, Mokoetle went on to be appointed by Communications Minister Dina Pule to the position of special technical manager in her ministry.

The problem for the SABC is that Molefe is overseeing the launch of its 24-hour news channel. This was the reason his bosses asked him to return earlier this year, after about a month on the sidelines.

He had been acting as group chief executive, and was placed on special leave for the first time, soon after Mokhobo landed the top job. Said one of the insiders: “He will return to the public broadcaster because it needs him for the [24-hour news channel] launch.”

Power struggle

Molefe’s rise to the position of SABC’s top journalist has not been smooth.

In May 2010, chairperson of the board Dr Ben Ngubane ­unilaterally appointed him as news and current affairs head leading to yet another power struggle within the board.

He replaced the controversial Snuki Zikalala in June 2009 and the SABC board confirmed his ­appointment a year later despite noting that “news audience have been in steep decline both under Zikalala and Molefe”.

Molefe beat 16 other applicants to the position.

He earns a yearly salary of just under R2m and is a former head of the international affairs desk as well as SABC Africa.
Read more on:    ancyl  |  sabc  |  ben ngubane  |  julius malema  |  solly mokoetle  |  phil molefe  |  kaizer kganyago  |  johannesburg  |  politics

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.