Just weeks after President Zuma appointed four new members to the board of the beleaguered South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), comes news of the unexplained resignation late last week of board member Peter Harris and the termination of the contract of Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Robin Nicholson, who was up until last week, also the SABC’s Acting Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO). Nicholson was appointed after former GCEO Solly Mokoetle was suspended and later paid out.
The SABC’s Head of News & Current Affairs Phil Molefe is now Acting GCEO and Mike Siluma has been appointed Acting Head of News & Current Affairs.
On 29 June Minister of Communications Roy Padayachie, during a specially convened SABC general meeting, amended the corporation’s Articles of Association to accommodate Molefe’s appointment as Acting GCEO. Neither Nicholson nor board chair Ben Ngubane were present at the meeting. Latest news is that Nicholson, who was expecting his CFO contract to be extended, will sue the board for damages. This move is reminiscent of dismissed former GCEO, Dali Mpofu, who sued the SABC and won an R11m settlement.
Meanwhile, according to Independent Online, the SABC board has completed its selection process for the vacant GCEO position and its preferred candidate is Tau Morwe, CEO of the Transnet National Ports Authority. According to Independent Online, Minister Padayachie favours Joe Mjwara, a director at Business Connexion who previously worked as the deputy director-general in the Communications Department. The ruling ANC party is reportedly unsure of Morwe’s political stance hence its reservation about him. All of which again reflects political interference in the appointment of SABC executive management, one of the besetting problems of the SABC.
The SOS: Support Broadcasting Coalition has complained about the hasty way in which Minister Padayachie changed the SABC’s Articles of Association and has requested an explanation as to why Peter Harris resigned his board membership. SOS points out that the SABC’s coroporate governance crises date back to 2007. During these crises the SABC lost close to a R1 billion and was forced to seek government guarantees of R1.47bn. (Additional sources: Sunday Times, TV with Thinus)