Keene-Young, who is married to Golding, reportedly handed in her resignation on Wednesday in a strongly worded letter that slams e.tv chairman John Copelyn. The letter exposes the extent of the breakdown in relations between Copelyn and Golding, who together founded the free-to-air broadcaster.
Keene-Young’s mobile phone was switched off on Wednesday morning and she could not be reached for comment.
Her resignation is the latest bombshell to hit e.tv after Golding’s resignation on Monday. This follows his suspension as executive chairman of e.tv parent Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI) last week. HCI has a 63% stake in e.tv.
HCI accused Golding of an unauthorised share trade, saying he did not have approval to buy shares worth R24m in technology company Ellies. It said it would pursue a disciplinary inquiry into allegations of “gross misconduct”.
Golding appealed against his suspension in the labour court, but lost that application on Monday morning. He reportedly claimed he was being ousted in a battle for control of e.tv’s editorial independence, something HCI denied.
Former cabinet minister Barbara Hogan also tendered her resignation from the HCI board this week, defending Golding in her resignation letter, saying she was “uneasy with the proposition that the discontent with Marcel’s leadership can solely be attributed to the alleged unauthorised trading in Ellies shares”.
“While the latter required investigation, I am mindful of the briefing that [HCI director] Yunis Shaik gave me when he claimed that Sactwu, a significant shareholder in HCI, had lost patience with the editorial practices of e.tv, citing the failure to give prominent coverage to [economic development]minister Ebrahim Patel’s economic pronouncements, as an instance of such dissatisfaction,” Hogan wrote. Sactwu is the South African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union.
She said, too, that she was “appalled” at the way the inquiry into the Ellies trading matter had unfolded. “That a subcommittee of the HCI board, which was appointed to inquire into the merits of the allegations, took it upon itself to take such drastic actions, such as the suspension of Marcel Golding … without even a formal report … is unacceptable to me.”
In her resignation letter, Keene-Young said Copelyn failed to explain in a letter sent on Tuesday to e.tv staff that he was “fully aware of the ‘Ellies shares’ matter from early August and that he did nothing about it until early October until all other attempts and threats to get Marcel to resign had failed”.
Keene-Young reportedly wrote in her letter: “Copelyn is silent on how he has attempted to manipulate this company from behind the scenes.
“He fails to tell that earlier this year, when I resisted editorial instructions from Yunis Shaik, he [Copelyn] sought my removal from the company. After pushback from our exco, he agreed to let me stay on provided that I was sidelined into a new position in which news no longer reported to me.
“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he has told our exco that eNCA’s news coverage is ‘problematic’ for HCI’s other interests and that our news had to be reined in so that it didn’t affect HCI’s ability to source gambling licences from government.
“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he told me that the line of editorial independence was not one for the news editorial team to determine and nor was it for [e.tv parent] Sabido management to determine. That line would be determined by HCI.” — © 2014 NewsCentral Media, with Sapa