File photo: ANA/Karen Sandison

JOHANNESBURG - SABC group chief executive officer officer Madoda Mxakwe and the chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon are considering legal action after the leaking of a "memorandum authored by two non-executive directors containing untested allegations".

On September 13, a memorandum by SABC board deputy chairperson Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi and Marcia Socikwa was submitted for board consideration, the board said in a statement on Saturday.

The memorandum alleged improper conduct by Mxakwe and Van Biljon. The memorandum was not discussed by the board, as the document was distributed shortly before the meeting was set to commence, the statement said.

Consequently, the board decided that the memorandum and matters relating to complaints against Mohlala-Mulaudzi and Socikwa would be discussed at the next meeting.

The board believed that the leaking of the memorandum "is highly prejudicial to the SABC GCEO and CFO, as it contains allegations that have not been tested". 

The leaking of the memorandum before its discussion was intended to bring the SABC, the board, and the two executive directors into disrepute. Until the allegations contained in the memorandum were tested and found to be factually correct, they should be treated as allegations, the board said.

Because of the prejudicial nature of the untested allegations, Mxakwe’s preliminary response was: “The allegations contained in the memorandum are wholly unfounded, baseless, and defamatory to me and the CFO in particular, and we are consulting our legal advisors in this regard.

"The issues dealt with in the memorandum are operational matters within the domain of the executives and are being attended to in various legitimate and legal forums created to deal with such cases. All the names mentioned are of employees that are either going through disciplinary processes or have been dismissed having followed due processes," Mxakwe said.

"Former SABC employees are exercising their rights by challenging the outcomes of disciplinary processes at the CCMA [Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration], Labour Court, and the Labour Appeal Court. These cases are pending and we urge everyone to respect the processes by refraining from pre-empting the outcomes, interfering, or creating parallel processes.

"In pursuing matters of fraud, mismanagement, sexual harassment, irregular salary increases or irregular appointments, the SABC is doing so to ensure that it instills proper governance and a culture of accountability. The SABC has had a sustained systematic collapse of governance and financial systems and the current leadership team is committed to a process of rehabilitating and renewing the SABC. Disciplinary hearings are aimed at ensuring appropriate consequence management, where applicable, and following due processes at all times," he said.

"It is clear that there is an intense ‘fight back’ campaign waged against both the board and the executive management team responsible for consequence management at the corporation. This campaign entails the unlawful accessing of official SABC documents for leaking to certain media houses in a deliberate attempt to undermine the independence and effective functioning of the SABC and to create the impression of a divided leadership of the corporation. We shall not be deterred,” Mxakwe said.

The board reaffirmed its support "for the excellent work" performed by the current executive management team under the leadership of Mxakwe, and was pleased with the various successes already achieved by the current leadership under challenging circumstances.

"As the board, we are fully behind the executives who - acting within the confines of law - will ensure that the corporation will rid itself of all its legacy issues," the board said.

African News Agency