Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mokoetle hearing in camera

Nov 8, 2010 11:16 PM | By KHETHIWE CHELEMU

Disciplinary proceedings against suspended SABC CEO Solly Mokoetle took place behind closed doors at the Arbitration Board of SA in Sandton yesterday.

Mokoetle was suspended in September, following claims by the board that he failed to provide a turnaround strategy for the public broadcaster.

The embattled SABC board has brought 24 charges against Mokoetle - including one of failing to bring disciplinary action against acting group chief operations officer Charlotte Mampane for allegedly eavesdropping on one of their meetings.

The other charges are yet to be revealed.

The Times understands that the chairman of the hearing, advocate Karel Tip, ruled that no details of the hearing be revealed to the media.

Appearing calm and backed by a team that includes senior advocate Jurgens Bekker and attorney Bongani Dlodlo, Mokoetle joked with the media during breaks.

"It is still a long way to Damascus," he said.

The proceedings are likely to proceed in camera for the next seven days.

The board of the state broadcaster has been plagued by infighting.

Four board members have resigned as a result and lobbying has begun among the ANC and its alliance partners about who will fill their positions.

Last week, the Cosatu-led pressure group Save our SABC said it does not want a call for nominations to the SABC board until SOS's conditions have been met.

SOS is demanding that the chairman of the SABC board, Ben Ngubane, either resign or be fired. The group also wants parliament to deal decisively with alleged breaches of corporate governance at the SABC.

These include, SOS says, the appointment of the head of news Phil Molefe, and the board's decision to appoint an acting CEO from outside the corporation in violation of the articles of association of the broadcaster's board.

The group wants the remaining board members - including executive members of the board who are part of the management team - to commit themselves publicly to scrupulous adherence to good corporate governance practices and protocols.