Reports about SABC GCEO irresponsible - ministry

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pretoria - The Ministry of Communications has described a weekend media report regarding the appointment of Solly Mokoetle as Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) grossly irresponsible and lacking in credibility.

"We find the report, as published in the Sunday Times of 3 January 2010, to be grossly irresponsible and lacking in credibility as the statements are merely attributed to so-called anonymous sources," said the department in a statement.

In the weekend report, an anonymous source claimed that the board would protest the appointment, because due process had not been followed and it would hinder the board from appointing its own CEO.

The ministry said it was irresponsible for anyone to attempt to portray a picture of discontent and perpetuate the notion that there was a crisis regarding the appointment of a GCEO by the SABC interim board.

It further said that the interim board was well within its rights to make such an appointment "because it has the equal amount of authority as a full, permanent board".

The reports had suggested that the incoming board should have the prerogative to appoint a GCEO, however, the ministry said this was baseless and unfounded.

"A GCEO is not the property of any particular board and there's nothing in the Broadcasting Act and/or the Articles of Association that govern the SABC; that dictates that the term of a GCEO should be synchronized with that of a board of directors.

"Neither is there any clause that states that every board should appoint its own GCEO. The Ministry of Communications also finds as irresponsible and unprofessional the conduct of the board member/s quoted as the anonymous sources."

The ministry said it was unbecoming for any board member to disregard the available channels to raise whatever grievances they may have and instead opt for planting baseless stories in the media.

"This goes against the letter, spirit and purport of corporate governance which board members should endeavour to uphold at all times."

It said no one had approached the office of the Minister of Communications to raise concern about either the legitimacy of the process of appointing the GCEO or the successful candidate's suitability to hold that kind of office.