In spite of the rumour mill, Dali Mpofu, the suspended SABC boss, says he is not demanding a R15-million payout to leave the troubled broadcaster and just wants his job back, writes Edwin Naidu in the Sunday Independent.
"Why should I look for a settlement? I am receiving my salary, I have cases [against the SABC board] coming up in court contesting the actions against me [and] Parliament is gearing up for another move on the corporation. People are mischief-making. I have not made any demands," he said.
The defiant Mpofu spoke to The Sunday Independent in the week in which it emerged that advertising revenue was down at the SABC by more than R300-million since the beginning of the year, staff morale was at an all-time low and there were renewed threats by the ANC in Parliament to get rid of the board.
Gab Mampone, the group acting chief executive, tried to position himself for the top job by giving a media interview in which he outlined his plans for the SABC. But the corporation is in crisis, losing millions and is racked by internal division – at the heart of which is the bitter battle by the board to get rid of Mpofu, which has cost millions.
Mpofu, who earned R4,5-million (R1,8-million basic salary, R325 000 allowance, R276 000 employer's contribution to medical aid and pension funds, and R2,1-million in bonuses and commission) in the past financial year, said he would contest in court any attempt to get rid of him should the board try to terminate his contract, which ends in August 2010.
"The rumour about me asking for a R15-million payout might be an attempt to portray me as greedy but my issue is not about money. When I joined the SABC I gave up shares worth R10-million. In fact, I am one of the lowest paid in the public sector," he said.
Mpofu said he spent a considerable sum of his own money challenging the SABC board, which twice unsuccessfully tried to suspend him, in April and May, before the third attempt in June resulted in him being ejected from the hotseat for more than five months.
The SABC board met two weeks ago to discuss Mpofu's case and another meeting was on the cards for this week, according to Kanyisiwe Mkhonza, the board chairperson, who said the board was gearing up to appear before Parliament on November 18 to present its annual report.
"I have not heard about the settlement and cannot discuss the matter until it has been [discussed] with the board," she said.
Khotso Khumalo, the spokesperson for the ANC's parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, said the amendments to the Broadcasting Act requested by the National Council of Provinces would be ratified by Parliament after a vote on November 18. The amended act would give the president sole authority to appoint the corporation's board. At present, that authority was vested in the president and the speaker of Parliament.
"We are then going to get rid of the board. They simply must go," said Khumalo. "After we get rid of the board, we will turn our attention to the SABC, where we have raised serious issues of bias against the corporation.
"We are upset that ANC gatherings have been ignored while the national convention, because it appeals to sympathisers in the SABC of former president Thabo Mbeki, is getting widespread coverage. It is also unprecedented that the mother of a former president is being used as an analyst on SABC. Why don't they use [Jacob] Zuma's mother or Ma Sisulu, or look for other veterans?" he asked.
Click here to read the full report, posted on iol.co.za.