‘Eavesdropper’ resigns

Charlotte Mampane, the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) acting chief operations officer, who was caught on security camera eavesdropping outside a board meeting earlier this year, has stepped down from the post.

Following the board’s dismal performance before Parliament’s public spending watchdog — the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) — last month, Mampane came under pressure to give up her post, although she retains her lucrative job as a group executive in the office of the chief executive officer and regions.

The 2010 annual report shows Mampane, listed as the broadcaster’s acting chief operations officer, was earning an annual salary of just over R1,5-million. Mampane declined to comment, but it has been established that she was expected to respond to Scopa’s questions about what action had been taken to address a damning report by the auditor general on the SABC’s finances last year. In the absence of feedback Scopa members lashed out at the board for failing to hold its staff accountable for transgressions and fraud.

It is believed that she later disputed that it was her job to account to Parliament, but her silence in the Scopa hearing was believed to be “the final straw”, after she had been caught eavesdropping outside a board meeting earlier this year.

At the meeting in question, Solly Mokoetle, the SABC’s chief executive, was discussing Mampane’s performance, as he apparently wanted to remove her from her acting position. Her eavesdropping was discovered after she sent a text message asking why certain allegations had been made about her in the meeting. The board requested security camera footage, which allegedly showed that she listened outside the boardroom door for about 20 minutes.

Spokesperson not aware of allegations
The board demanded that disciplinary action be taken against her. The fact that Mokoetle did not act on the instruction is one of the 18 disciplinary charges he currently faces. Mokoetle, who has been suspended, appeared before a closed arbitration board to consider his case in Sandton this week.

Mampane was appointed acting chief operations officer when Dali Mpofu was chief executive. Kaizer Kganyago, the SABC spokesperson, said he was not aware of the details of the eavesdropping allegations against Mampane, or of any disciplinary action being taken against her.

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