The SABC is back in court to face another angry executive – this time one demanding a top job after the appointment process was bungled, writes Louise Flanagan in The Star.


SABC group executive for content enterprises Mvuzo Mbebe was to ask the Johannesburg High Court to order his appointment as the broadcaster's chief operating officer (COO), one of SABC's top three jobs.

The SABC board spent a year dithering over the appointment, recommended Mbebe to Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, then dropped him because the minister was "uncomfortable" about appointing him.

'The appointment of executive members is not that clear'
The SABC and the minister lost the paperwork around the failed appointment. The broadcaster has now been without a COO for about two years, and the acting COO's term runs out at the end of this month.

In court papers, Mbebe said he applied for the COO post in 2006, went through an extensive recruitment process, and in July last year the board recommended to Matsepe-Casaburri that he be hired.

The minister failed to respond for nearly a year. In April this year he was told that the minister was "uncomfortable" with recommending to the cabinet that he be appointed, although no reasons were given for this, so the board had decided to look for a new candidate and re-advertised the job.

The COO, the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer are the three executive directors on the SABC board. The other 12 members are non-executive and are appointed by the president.

"The appointment of executive members is not that clear," Mbebe said.

He said the SABC's articles of association state that the non-executive directors compile a shortlist to recommend to the minister, but both the articles and the Broadcasting Act "are silent" on whether it is the minister, the president or the board who then makes the COO appointment. The articles state that the CEO is appointed by the board chairperson following the recommendation process.

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