SABC appointment of O’Neil gets media grilling


Clare O’Neil may be the right person to oversee the hard hit SABC sales and marketing division but experts in the media sector and unions have criticised the procedures of her appointment, according to a report by Chantelle Benjamin in Business Day (8 March 2010)

O’Neil, former SABC GM of sales between 2001 to 2005 and currently a SABC board member, is to oversee the troubled sales and marketing division and she is expected to hold this position for several months. She was also involved in the set up of Telkom Media as GM of advertising sales and at On Digital Media (ODM).

Her appointment was announced in a press statement by the SABC on Friday 5 March. The statement said group CEO Solly Mokoetle had recommended O’Neil because of her “specialised knowledge and experience in the field of advertising and related activities’.

The Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) said it was “highly unethical for a board member to use his/her position of trust and the advantage of being a board member to secure a position at SABC’. It called for the position to be advertised and for qualified people to apply.
It also raised concern that the appointment contravened King 3 rules which dealt with the segregation of duties and delegation of authority between a board and management.
The union felt the position should have been filled by an independent person.
“When Robin Nicholson (chief financial officer) was suspended, the SABC appointed an acting external professional person to take over his functions,’ it said.
The SABC insisted that O’Neil, despite contributing to the “strategic and operational planning on SABC revenues and exercising oversight over implementation of the turnaround programme, will not serve directly in SABC structures’.


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