Ex-SABC boss Chris Maroleng wants R16m or his job back

Chris Maroleng is challenging his dismissal
Chris Maroleng is challenging his dismissal

Ex-SABC boss Maroleng accuses CEO of using flawed disciplinary process to fire him

Former SABC chief operating officer Chris Maroleng wants a whopping R16 million or his job back.

This ultimatum is contained in his court papers filed at the Johannesburg Labour Court this week.

He is challenging his sacking for misconduct in April last year.

Maroleng, who was fired less than a year after succeeding Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is now in a tug-of-war with the public broadcaster over his dismissal.

In his court papers, which City Press’ sister publication Sunday Sun has seen, an aggrieved Maroleng is demanding payment for the remainder of his four-year contract.

He also casts a shadow on the process which led to his dismissal. He accuses the SABC of dropping the ball by not affording him the right to appeal an allegedly questionable disciplinary process.

“The unlawful and summary dismissal and ultimate termination of the applicant’s contract of employment by the respondent constituted a breach of the respondent’s contractual obligation to address allegations of misconduct against the applicant,” reads part of his affidavit.

In his amended notice of motion, Maroleng also highlights the dismissal of other SABC executives in similar fashion, and accuses group chief executive officer (CEO) Madoda Mxakwe of conspiring against him.

He refers to a supplementary affidavit by James Shikwambana, a former manager at SABC, as proof the CEO wanted him gone.

In his detailed affidavit, Shikwambana claims: “I have been warned several times by different people about Mxakwe’s utterances that he would stop at nothing to ensure that I exit the organisation. I take these utterances seriously, even though he did not say it to me directly.

I have no reason to not believe this because Mxakwe did try to interfere with the disciplinary case of former Good Hope FM station manager, Brendan Ficks, who has since left the company after his contract was not renewed at the end of July last year.

A few days before the disciplinary committee [DC], he wanted to know who the chairperson of the DC was.

He indicated that he worked with Ficks at Nestlé and he was very lazy.

He further wanted to know when his contract was ending, and when I said July, he said ‘that’s too far’.

“He uttered similar words [they have to go] on the phone about general managers in Limpopo and the Free State in my presence, and they are gone now,” read the affidavit.

“The other day I was driving both Mxakwe and the chair of the board from the airport to Parliament. The conversation was about some negotiation between the SABC and Safa for the airing of Bafana Bafana’s Afcon qualifier matches last year.

After the call, he said: ‘Chair, we must build a case against this guy’, referring to the chief operating officer.

I was very shocked because he was less than a month in office.

“The conversation between the two went on and on and it made me very uncomfortable. My conclusion was that the former chief operating officer was a threat to him. When the newspapers reported that Maroleng was going through a DC, I was not surprised,” Shikwambana said.

Asked to comment, Maroleng said: “I am looking to the courts to clear my name and reputation as we have put out in the court papers that the manner that things were done was untoward.”

Maroleng, who was fired less than a year after succeeding Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is now in a tug-of-war with the public broadcaster over his dismissal.

The SABC said in a statement: “The SABC is not aware of the recent papers filed at the labour court by Maroleng. The SABC can confirm that Maroleng faced serious charges which prompted the SABC to conduct a disciplinary process.

On April 23 2019, after due consideration of the findings and recommendations of a disciplinary process, the SABC board resolved to terminate Maroleng’s contract.

“Following this decision, Maroleng approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitrationbut later withdrew his arbitration case. Should the SABC receive court papers from Maroleng, the corporation will respond accordingly.”


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