Friday, January 21, 2011

Hunt starts for next big boss at the SABC

Jan 20, 2011 9:56 PM | By KHETHIWE CHELEMU


The SABC has begun the search for a new group CEO and its board is expected to meet soon to discuss a head-hunting strategy.

CEO Solly Mokoetle resigned on Wednesday after a protracted battle with the broadcaster's board following his suspension last year.

Advertisements for the post are expected to be placed soon.

Mokoetle, one of the briefest- serving SABC group CEOs, is said to have walked away with a golden handshake of millions, eight months into his job.

But neither he nor the corporation will reveal the terms of the settlement, citing a confidentiality clause.

Mokoetle was appointed by the SABC board in December 2009 but did not start work until January 4 last year.

He was suspended on full pay in September after claims by the board that he failed to devise a turnaround strategy for the finance-strapped broadcaster.

Minister of Communications Radhakrishna "Roy" Padayachie commended both the SABC board and Mokoetle for the "mature" way in which they handled the protracted dispute .

Padayachie said he hoped that Mokoetle's resignation would allow the board to start focusing on stabilising the SABC and creating an environment conducive to the implementation of a turnaround strategy.

"The importance of a stable public broadcaster, that functions optimally to meet its mandate, cannot be overemphasised," he said.

He said that in recent months the SABC had been bedevilled by reports of tension between board members and senior management, a total breakdown of corporate governance and financial instability leading to cash flow difficulties.

DA MP Natasha Michael yesterday called on both the SABC and the Department of Communications to reveal the amount of the "under-performing" Mokoetle's settlement payout. She said it appeared that he was at the job only to ride "the gravy train".

Mokoetle's predecessor, Dali Mpofu, who has gone back to practising as an advocate, was given a R14-million settlement on his departure from the SABC.

Michael said it is becoming a trend for [parastatal] companies to pay huge payouts to badly performing CEOs and that this practice had cost the public about R250-million in the past 10 years, with no company held accountable.

"In fact, in most instances, senior management have directly benefited for their lack of performance," said Michael.

She said that most senior managers were rewarded with inflated bonuses, golden handshakes and senior positions in the government.

"Mr Mokoetle would be yet another example of just such a CEO."