Numsa slams Molefe appointment

2010-05-21 18:28

Cape Town – The reported appointment of Phil Molefe as head of SABC News raised fears that the public broadcaster was being turned into a propaganda machine, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Friday.

"We are deeply concerned about this seemingly unprocedural and flawed appointment of Molefe as the head of news," Numsa said in a statement.

"This appointment raises serious suspicions that the GCEO (SABC group chief executive Solly Mokoetle) acted to appease certain individuals who want to use the SABC as their propaganda spewing machine."

The union demanded that the appointment of a new news chief to fill the long-vacant post of Snuki Zikalala be done "through a transparent and open process".

It said the decision to appoint Molefe "compromises the board’s immediate mandate of rebuilding the public broadcaster from the board’s previous squabbles and shenanigans".

Molefe has been acting in the position since Zikalala left more than a year ago.

There was considerable confusion on Friday as to whether he had indeed been appointed on a permanent basis.

Key positions filled

Mokoetle on Thursday issued a statement saying: "The board and I are happy that this matter has been brought to finality as promised as this was a key vacant position that needed to be filled to stabilise the corporation."

But newspapers reported on Friday that Felleng Sekha, the deputy chairperson of the SABC board and head of the board's news subcommittee, said the board had yet to take a decision.

The Cape Times said Sekha recorded an interview for SABC's PM Live radio programme in which she distanced herself from the executive's decision but it was never aired.

The newspaper quoted fellow board member David Niddrie as saying: "I was surprised to learn of the appointment."

"There was a panel delegated to consider and recommend to the board ... We have not received those recommendations."

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago could not be reached for comment.

Mokoetle's appointment on a five-year contract also sparked an outcry when the new board complained that the decision had been "imposed" by Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.