Primedia senior exec steps down following sexual misconduct allegations

Former Primedia Broadcasting CCO Mark Jakins (LinkedIn)
Former Primedia Broadcasting CCO Mark Jakins (LinkedIn)

Cape Town – Senior broadcast executive at Primedia Broadcasting, Mark Jakins, has resigned after a number of complaints over alleged sexually inappropriate behaviour emerged.

The executive was identified by Primedia Broadcasting CEO Omar Essack.

"I can confirm that the executive concerned is the former CCO Mark Jakins," he said.

"He resigned on Monday," Essack revealed during a radio interview on one of Primedia's own radio stations.

According to EWN, the affected women have requested that details of the incidents should not be made public.

When asked about the delay in bringing the executive to account, Essack responded: "The formal complaints come in on Tuesday, the executive is asked to leave on Wednesday, a senior female advocate is brought in to investigate on Thursday and Friday, by Monday formal charges are presented to the executive, by Monday the executive resigns."

Essack maintained that the executive was named as soon as due process was followed, but admitted that they were overtaken by events on social media, where Jakins had already been named, and allegations of multiple complaints against the same executive emerged.

'Sexually inappropriate behaviour'

"Just in terms of process, pace, speed, efficiency, we have to balance and respect the privacy and dignity of our staff, with the fairness of the legal processes we have," said Essack.

"In our code of conduct, we guarantee the confidentiality of this process until it is completed."

According to a statement by Primedia Broadcasting, the company had received three complaints from staff members last week regarding Jakins' "sexually inappropriate behaviour at a staff function".

Jakins was initially placed on special leave following the claims, and later suspended. He resigned before an official internal hearing could take place, which according to Essack, means "the allegations were not formally tested".

"However, the company wouldn't have proceeded to the point of making formal charges, if the company did not believe that they could prove sexual harassment," said Essack.

Essack said that since Jakins resigned and terminated his relationship with the company, Primedia "as company no longer has recourse".

However, Essack said that the company encourages the affected staff members to pursue criminal charges against Jakins, "if they need to" and the company will offer support.

In the same radio interview, Essack denied claims that Jakins was a personal friend of his and was being protected.

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