Muthambi: SABC paid out R42m to departing staff

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has confirmed that the SABC paid out R42-million in early termination packages to 12 top executives and managers in the past seven years.

A written reply by the minister to a parliamentary question submitted by the Democratic Alliance, shows that the single biggest amount went to former chief executive Dali Mpofu. He left in 2009 with a golden handshake of R6.7-milllion plus a restraint of trade payment of R4.4-million. Communications Minister Faith Muthambi disclosed that the “agreed separation” between the SABC and Mpofu cost the public broadcaster R2.1-million in legal fees.

Her reply also confirmed that the former head of news at the SABC, Phil Molefe, was paid R4.9-million to cover the remainder of his five-year contract when he left in 2013 after a long legal wrangle. At the time it was speculated that the had received R1.5-million.

As it did with Mpofu, the SABC also paid a restraint of trade fee to former chief executive Lulama Mokhobo, in this case R1.4-million, on top of a severance agreement of R4.2-million, in 2014. Former acting chief operating officer Christine Mampane receied R4.3-million when she left in 2012 after falling foul of current COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and former chief executive Solly Mokoetle was paid R3.8-million as a “12–month pay-out” when he left the SABC in 2011.

SABC group company secretary Thelma Melk left in 2012 with R3-million after she was suspended for poor work perfomance. Former news resources general manager Peter Montsho received R1.2-million, while sales director Zaiboonisha Jones received a six-month pay-out and commission of R1.7-milllion.

DA communications spokesman Gavin Davis said most of the departures flowed from political feuding and calculated that the sum total of money spent in the process was equal to “26, 415 annual TV licence renewals.”

“In virtually all of these cases, the executives receiving the payouts were purged for political reasons. As with other public entities, SABC executives are hired on the basis of their perceived loyalty to the dominant faction of the ANC instead of their ability to do the job. When deployed cadres fall out of political favour, they get dumped with a massive payout to soften the landing,” he said.

Davis added that if the broadcaster wished for future stability, it should start hiring people on the basis of their ability to do the job at hand.

“If it does not, our TV licences will continue to be spent on multi-million rand golden handshakes.” – ANA

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