Fired SABC Chief Operations Officer Chris Maroleng. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency/ANA

Johannesburg - Fired SABC Chief Operations Officer Chris Maroleng believes the public broadcaster's board chairperson, Bongumsa Makhathini, short-changed him by insisting that he could not launch an internal appeal against his dismissal.

Maroleng wants the Labour Court to direct the SABC to allow him to appeal his axing internally and reinstate him to the plush job “pending a decision regarding such appeal”.

Maroleng launched an application against the SABC at the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

He argued in the papers that his dismissal in April this year was unlawful and should therefore be set aside. Maroleng was shown the door after being found guilty of three out of the four charges he faced.

He was found guilty of approving a monthly acting allowance of just over R15000 for an employee, Carmen Schneider, despite a written human resources decision to the contrary.

He was also found guilty on two charges relating to protecting former acting group executive for sport Marcia Mahlalela.

Mahlalela resigned from the public broadcaster before facing a disciplinary hearing into the hiring of sportscaster Robert Marawa on a R5.5million three-year contract.

Mahlalela resigned after being charged at the conclusion of a two-week investigation. Maroleng was found not guilty for how he dealt with Mahlalela's resignation.

Following his dismissal, Maroleng told The Star he found the SABC's decision "too harsh".

“I may have not followed processes to the T, or I may have demonstrated some sort of bad judgment, but the truth is that I never did anything that will ultimately result in the financial loss of the SABC,” he said in April.

“I did not defraud the SABC. I did not act corruptly to enrich anyone, including myself, but ultimately here I am fired.”

The father of three children aged between 13 and two is currently jobless. He had held the job for a year when he was shown the door.

In the papers filed at the Labour Court, Maroleng argued that Makhathini acted improperly by barring him from appealing internally. He said Maroleng was barred from appealing because he was an executive director.

“Please be advised that there is no internal appeal for dismissed executive directors, as the dismissal is effected by the accounting authority,” wrote Makhathini.

Maroleng challenged this position: “SABC’s disciplinary code and procedure does not provide that there is no internal appeal for executive directors."

SABC did not respond to queries sent on Tuesday.

The Star