The SABC board's plans to urgently fill its pivotal vacant post of chief operating officer have been put on hold by the Johannesburg High Court, writes Baldwin Ndaba in The Star.


The court's decision followed an urgent application by Mvuzo Mbebe, the SABC group executive for content enterprises, who is challenging the board's decision to award the job to someone else after he was initially earmarked for it in 2006.

In his application on Wednesday, Mbebe told the court he had applied for the job in 2006. In July last year he was informally told by board members that they had recommended his appointment to Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, and her approval was awaited.

In court papers, he said he was surprised earlier this year when the SABC board placed several advertisements in various newspapers for the chief operating officer post.

The judge slammed them for their failure to give Mbebe their reasons for not appointing him
The post was previously held on an acting basis by Charlotte Mampane – who has since been removed after the High Court ruled in an unrelated matter that procedures where not followed when she was given the post.

However, Mbebe in his application is disputing the board's decision not to appoint him after being advised not to do so by Matsepe-Casaburri.

The court heard that the SABC board made the recommendation for the appointment of Mbebe to the post. The minister was expected to present the recommendation to the cabinet, but instead, the court heard that the minister then consulted several of her colleagues in parliament, who advised her against doing so.

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