Johannesburg - Fired SABC chief operations officer Chris Maroleng has vowed to fight back and challenge his dismissal outside the public broadcaster's disciplinary process.
A devastated Maroleng revealed that he will take the fight for his job to the CCMA.
The SABC board announced that Maroleng's contract had been terminated with immediate effect after he was found guilty in an internal disciplinary hearing.
In a short statement, the public broadcaster said: “The SABC board met on Tuesday April 23. After due consideration of the findings and recommendations of a disciplinary process, the board resolved to terminate the contract of... Maroleni (sic) with immediate effect.”
Maroleng was found guilty of three out of the four charges he faced. He was found guilty of approving a monthly acting allowance of just over R15 000 for an employee, despite a written human resources decision to the contrary.
He was also found guilty of 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 R5.5 million three-year contract.
Mahlalela resigned with immediate effect after being charged at the conclusion of a two-week investigation. Maroleng was found not guilty for how he dealt with Mahlalela's resignation.
Maroleng said he felt “pretty down” after being fired but still had the will to fight.
“I am currently taking legal advice. My legal advisers will most likely say I can appeal and we will take this outside the SABC disciplinary processes and follow the normal appeals route,” he said.
“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. I did not defraud the SABC. I did not act corruptly to enrich anyone, including myself, but ultimately here I am fired,” Maroleng argued.
His submissions to the SABC board after being found guilty stated that he wanted to be given a final written warning for his transgressions.
He states that he is a breadwinner and has three young children aged between 13 and two. His expenses include school fees, two properties and two cars.
“A dismissal in the circumstances will be catastrophic for the Maroleng family,” the submission states.
“Maroleng is playing a significant executive role for the SABC in relation to the broadcasting of the 2019 national and provincial elections. Maroleng is playing a significant role for the SABC's claw-back campaign with a view to reducing the SABC's revenue gap,” his papers state.
On whether the SABC would be an ideal environment to go back to, Maroleng said: “It probably would not be an ideal environment to work. We are dealing with an organisation that itself has significant trauma due to governance, but having said that, someone has to do it. I tried and I don't regret the decision of having tried to contribute to the turnaround of the SABC. We are already starting to see progress.”
Maroleng said he did not regret leaving his high-flying position at MTN to join the SABC.
“I believe we all have to support our institutions like the SABC. [By joining the SABC] I felt that I could use my skills one way or the other to help turn around the SABC.
"I didn't go there because I was hard up. I went there because I wanted to contribute to my country and its development,” he said.