The clash between the SABC board and Dali Mpofu, the corporation's
embattled group chief executive, took another dramatic twist this week
when he was suspended again, writes Ediwn Naidu in the Sunday Independent.
Mpofu was given notice of his latest suspension at his home last Sunday, but he defied the order and returned to work on Monday.
He was then ordered, in a letter sent to his home in Houghton at 10pm on Thursday, to leave the premises of the SABC, in Aukland Park, Johannesburg, and not to return unless to attend a meeting of the corporation's board, of which he is a member.
The dispute between the SABC board and Mpofu will resume in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday, when the board will hear if it will be granted leave to appeal against the ruling last month by Judge Moroa Tsoka that it acted unlawfully in suspending Mpofu on May 7 at 1.40am.
The legal battle being waged by the SABC board against Mpofu – described by his lawyers as frivolous and an attempt to harass him – has already cost the corporation R500 000. The board was sent packing and saddled with the costs when Mpofu's first suspension was declared invalid last month.
The latest assault on Mpofu by the board, which is already under fire from the ANC's parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, has left the SABC in chaos. Concerned staff and unions at Aukland Park are calling for an urgent investigation into what they call the board's breaches of corporate governance regulations.
The ANC has asked Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, the minister of communications, to send in corporate governance experts to help the board resolve its problems. Joe Makhafola, the spokesperson for the minister, said she had noted the ANC recommendation but was precluded by the Broadcasting Act from intervening in the SABC's affairs.
SABC staff this week accused the board of disregarding the group executives' recommendation on the choice of a company to supply outside-broadcast vans. The board made a different selection.
In what has been described by SABC managers as "another example of interference" by the board, group executives were instructed on Thursday, in a memorandum from Kanyisiwe Mkhonza, the chairperson, not to comply with instructions given by Mpofu. She told group executives that "Gap" (Gabriel) Mampone was the only person authorised to act on behalf of the corporation.