Nicole Van Wyk
SABC Group Chief Executive Officer, Solly Mokoetle, has resigned and will be released from his post with immediate effect.
The public broadcaster’s board chairman Cedric Gina said the parties have settled all disputes calling the resolution a confidential agreement but not a “handshake”.
“This is a sad day for me that I had to submit my resignation from SABC as GCEO,” said Mokoetle at a press conference that was held less than 2 hours after it was called on Wednesday.
Mokoetle said his decision was not an easy one but it was in the best interest of the SABC, its staff, the nation and his family.
“This was in the best interest of the board and also my family who have suffered in the last six months. I leave with a heavy heart the organisation that I have loved and served,” he said.
When asked what he planned to do going forward, Mokoetle replied that he essentially didn’t know. “Only God knows, I don’t. I’m very exhausted. I’ll take a while to rest so that I will be able to consult with my family and decide from there. I’m a broadcaster, that’s all I know, so I may not be totally lost to the industry. I’m grateful to South Africans and hope to continue to serve them,” he said. Mokoetle also thanked the board for releasing him without animosity.
Mokoetle’s lawyers and the board representatives would not be drawn into the speculation about his settlement amount.
Gina stated that Rob Nicholson will remain in his current position as acting CEO until a new CEO is appointed, a decision that will supposedly be taken soon. “Yes Nicholson will continue to act as CEO but the board will meet to decide on a new CEO. Nicholson can apply for that position if he so wishes. We cannot leave executive positions vacant for a long time, we will meet to fill these positions and we are looking forward to adding more members to executive positions”, he said.
Gina also confirmed that the Minister of Communications, Roy Padayachee’s role in Mokoetle’s resignation was nothing more than a nudge. “We must be thankful for his role in terms of nudging all of us and Mr Moeketle in saying 'Can’t you find each other, please try and find a solution to this'. That’s all he did”, Gina said.
Gina and Mokoetle agreed that the resignation was exactly that, a ‘solution’. “After the six month process of wanting to initiate a disciplinary hearing, which did not take place, it became clear that there was a difference between myself and the board. The relationship had collapsed. So it was in the best interest of the SABC and also clear to myself that I should make up my mind and look for something else,” Mokoetle said.
Gina stated that the reason the disciplinary hearing was not followed through was because a litigation process would have taken two years, delaying the appointment of a new CEO and in effect create instability. “We came from different angles, but this morning we received what was an offer for settlement from Mokoetle’s lawyers. Stability will be brought back with immediate effect because we will be appointing a new CEO with immediate effect. As Mr Moeketle put it, it is in the best interest of the corporation to look at the board and make decisions that are in the best interest.”
When asked about the SABC board’s relationship with Chairperson Ben Ngubane, Gina stated that “all is well”. We believe that we have turned a corner. The relationship with the chairperson is fine”, he said.