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Controversial SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng may have to wait a bit before he can be permanently appointed as the broadcaster’s chief operations officer.
The SABC advertised the job last Sunday, only to discover days later that they could not act on an appointment, as the case brought against them by former executive Mvuzo Mbebe has not been settled.
Mbebe claims he was promised the job by then-communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, and wants to be paid for the five years he would have served in the position.
The SABC board had been under the impression that Communications Minister Dina Pule had sorted out the matter last year, which allowed it to go ahead and advertise the position.
An SABC board member, speaking anonymously, confirmed that appointing a chief operations officer would be put on hold, as the Mbebe issue had not been resolved.
“The board thought the minister had settled, but we hear they have not. We will have to wait for the case to be resolved. It was quite surprising to hear it,” the member said.
Another senior official at the broadcaster said Matsepe-Casaburri did not get cabinet approval. “We are hoping to get the cabinet nod.”
The two could not be named because of communication rules at the SABC.
A source in the communications department said Mbebe’s lawyers were delaying and frustrating the process to get a payout.
But Mbebe’s attorney, Mncedisi Ndlovu, said there was no agreement and the communications department and the SABC were still subject to a court interdict, which stopped them from making an appointment.
“I am not sure when it will be resolved, but we are awaiting instructions (from) our client,” Ndlovu said.
He said when they saw the advert in the newspapers, they wrote a letter to the SABC and the broadcaster promised not to proceed with the appointment.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that the letter had been received by the broadcaster.
Mbebe, now Afcon chief executive, was allegedly promised the job and took the SABC to the Johannesburg High Court, demanding he be appointed, as was recommended by the previous board to Matsepe-Casaburri. If the board did not give him the job, he claimed, it would have to compensate him for the five-year period he would have served in the post. This would amount to millions of rand as the operations officer earns at least R2 million a year.
In the adverts, the requirements for the chief operations officer were a relevant degree or diploma and/or an equivalent qualification, and extensive broadcasting experience at managerial level (minimum five years).
But Motsoeneng does not have a matric certificate and had lied to the SABC about it.
The chief operations officer is the second-most powerful position in the SABC after the chief executive and, in companies of a similar size, the appointee would be required to have a Master’s degree at least, and more than 10 years’ experience in management.
For instance, the risk and legal group executive is required to have a commercial law degree, seven years’ job-related formal training and 10 to 12 years’ job-related work experience. The requirements for head of strategy is an Honours degree in business management and five to six years’ management consulting experience.
When asked why the requirements were less stringent for the chief operations officer, Kganyago said he could not comment, but the human resources department, with the advice of the board, had approved the adverts. - Sunday Independent