The appointment of Phil Molefe as the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) head of news was unlawful, the public broadcaster’s board said on Sunday.
“The SABC board resolved that the purported appointment of the group executive news and current affairs head, Mr Phil Molefe is null and void and has no legal effect,” spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said.
The statement follows a board meeting held on Saturday after Molefe’s appointment on Thursday. Molefe had been acting in the position for a year.
“In a special board meeting held yesterday [Saturday] the board heard legal opinion that the appointment was not lawful because it had not been made by the board in a manner required by the SABC’s memorandum and articles of association.
“The articles of association and delegation of authority framework states that appointments at a group executive level must be made by the board,” Kganyago said.
The ten members of the 12 member board who attended the meeting on Saturday agreed to continue with the “process of assessing candidates, which had not yet been concluded”.
“The decision taken by the board is not intended to harm or prejudice any candidate but is solely aimed at conforming to corporate governance rules.
“It should be stressed that the board regrets any embarrassment to any of the candidates for the position of chief executive news and current affairs,” he said.
‘No breach of corporate governance’
Ngubane said on Saturday that there was no “breach of corporate governance” in Molefe’s appointment.
“I believe that all processes were followed and there was no breach of corporate governance.”
Ngubane said he authorised the appointment because he felt that Molefe satisfied all requirements for the position.
“After considering all the factors before me that necessitated the speedy finalisation of this process, and after going to the SABC booklet on criteria for interviews, I made the decision … because he satisfied all the requirements as agreed to by all board members,” he said.
Meanwhile, opposition parties have also called on Ngubane to explain the exact processes followed in the appointment of Molefe.
“We need assurance that this is not another political appointment,” said Inkatha Freedom Party spokesperson Reverend Musa Zondi in a statement.
He said the party was “concerned” that the public broadcaster was again making the news for “all the wrong reasons”.
The Democratic Alliance said it would write to Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications to request the summoning of the SABC Board to appear urgently before the committee to account for the events of the past four days.
Spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko said: “If reports about Molefe’s appointment are accurate, then it is clear that due process has not been followed.
“The SABC board needs to move swiftly to avert a leadership crisis …” — Sapa