Jocelyn Newmarch, Business Day, 6 January 2009
THE Congress of the People (COPE) has called on Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda to explain Solly Mokoetle’s appointment as SABC group CEO when a disciplinary hearing suggested he face criminal charges.
The controversy around Mokoetle’s appointment erupted after weekend media reports said the new board was unhappy with the choice of CEO.
The saga has inflamed fears that the SABC, which needs to be stabilised, may instead be facing another damaging battle.
Mokoetle was appointed by the interim board late last year, and started work this week.
The appointment has been controversial as some observers believe it should have been left to the new board, which takes office next week.
It was reported in weekend papers that Mokoetle had been accused of a major failure of corporate governance in a 2005 investigation carried out by Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting.
Mokoetle left the SABC in 2006, after serving as the organisation’s chief operating officer. The Gobodo Report was not released and was not acted on by successive SABC boards.
The investigation apparently dealt with the practice of “collusive tendering”, whereby some production companies had relationships with senior executives at the SABC.
Yesterday, COPE called on the SABC’s board to make public the charges Mokoetle faced.
COPE said it had learned that Mokoetle was “subjected to a disciplinary process” when he was chief operating officer at the SABC. “Despite this, the minister has seen fit to appoint this person as CEO of the SABC.”
The TV Industry Emergency Coalition, which represents TV production companies, welcomed the choice of Mokoetle as CEO but said it was unfortunate that the appointment had not been left to the new board.