SABC CEO Solly Mokoetle intends to challenge his suspension by the public broadcaster’s board and any disciplinary action that may follow, his attorney said in a statement on Sunday. “Mokoetle has been treated most unfairly. His suspension comes at a time when the functionality of the board that suspended him is an issue that is currently before the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications,” Jurgens Bekker attorney Bongani Dlodlo said.
SABC CEO Solly Mokoetle has been suspended by the public broadcaster’s board pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, SABC radio news reported on Friday. The board said the decision was made following a meeting with Mokoetle on Thursday. Formal charges were still being prepared and would be given to Mokoetle.
The SABC board has moved to suspend CEO Solly Mokoetle, it emerged on Tuesday. The news was revealed soon after the Western Cape high court overruled attempts by parliament to hold a briefing on the latest trouble at the public broadcaster behind closed doors. “They have served him with a legal letter with the intention to suspend him and he has been given an ‘x’ number of days — exactly how many days I don’t know — to respond to the letter to explain why he should not be suspended,” said Ismail Vadi, chairman of parliament’s portfolio committee on communications.
The Western Cape high court has ordered that parliament’s communications portfolio committee may not proceed with Tuesday’s closed meeting with the SABC board. The ruling was handed down as an interim order shortly before noon by acting judge Sven Olivier. It followed an urgent application by the SA National Editor’s Forum.
A proposed public broadcasting law will place the SABC under the control of the communications minister and mark a return to the days when the ruling party determined what was aired on television and radio, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said on Friday. “It is the final plank in the ANC’s plan, hatched at Polokwane, to ensure that the SABC reflects the values of the ANC,” Zille wrote in her weekly newsletter.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications, chaired by ANC MP Ismail Vadi, has summoned the boards of the SABC and Sentech to answer questions about problems affecting both organisations. The committee on Thursday said it had “decided to invite the full board of the SABC to appear before it on 24 August 2010”.