SABC man 'demanded sex'

2003-04-19 20:55

Johannesburg - SABC Africa executive editor Thami Ntenteni has been accused of demanding sexual favours from a prospective employee in exchange for the position of news producer.

Johannesburg police spokesperson Captain Mashadi Selepe confirmed this week that a case of sexual harassment had been opened against Ntenteni on April 10, the day the alleged incident took place.

This is not Ntenteni's first brush with the law. In December 1998, Ntenteni was sentenced to five years in prison for the death of Elizabeth Molefe. He was also sentenced to two years for drunken driving and negligence after the car he was driving was involved in an accident which killed Molefe and injured three of her friends.

Yoliswa Matomela (25), from Port Elizabeth, this week said Ntenteni, with whom she had several meetings, had promised her a job as a news producer.

Matomela, who said she had done freelance work for radio stations in the Eastern Cape, said she was referred to Ntenteni by one of the channel's employees.

"When I first met him in October last year he was very polite. He asked me about my qualifications and I told him I had studied public management but had done some freelance work and that I also write short stories and poems.

"I told him I desperately needed a job to support my two children and to further my studies. He was sympathetic to my situation and promised to help me.

"He told me he could help me with a job but only after the end of the financial year," she said.

Several meetings

Matomela subsequently had several meetings with Ntenteni. She said in November he advised her to take her two children home to the Eastern Cape because she would not cope with the job while taking care of them. She duly did so. The two met again in the SABC reception area on April 8.

"Everything in his tone changed. He told me he could not employ me because I have not studied journalism.

"He said he would get into trouble if he employed me, and find that I made a lot of mistakes on the job.

"He said unless I offered him sex he could not take the risk of employing me. He also offered to enrol me in a journalism course at Damelin."

Matomela added: "I am devasted. I was excited and told my parents to take care of my kids because I would be starting work in April. Now my dreams are shattered because I refused to sleep with him (Ntenteni).

Claims denied

"If he knew I was not qualified for the job, he should have told me the first day we met, instead of creating false hopes."

Ntenteni has rubbished Matomela's claims as malicious, unfounded and aimed at tarnishing his reputation.

SABC spokesperson Victor Dlamini said SABC Africa posts were frozen and emphasised that appointments at the channel were handled by the human resources department and not individual staff members.

Dlamini said Ntenteni explained to CEO Peter Matlare that he had met Matomela while she was looking for a job but denied promising her one.

"We don't want to engage in a wild goose chase every time someone makes unfounded allegations against a staff member, and this case sounds like one," Dlamini said.

Selepe said police had taken statements from Ntenteni in the presence of her lawyer and a witness. He said the matter would be referred to the public prosecutor for a decision.