South Africa: Coalition Wants SABC to Act On Gobodo Report

Regulation & Policy

Independent TV producers have called on the SABC's new board to put conspiracy theories in the past and either take action or publicly reject a report alleging corporate governance failures.

The appointment of Solly Mokoetle to the position of group CEO last month by the interim board, whose time was to expire, set tongues wagging, bringing memories of the appointment of a previous SABC board by former president Thabo Mbeki .

Concern was raised about the interim board's decision to appoint him rather than leaving it to the new board which takes office next week. News broke at the weekend that Mokoetle had apparently been implicated in an audit report five years ago, when he was chief operating officer at the broadcaster.

But the Gobodo report, which dealt with the findings of an investigation, has not been publicly released. Mokoetle started work this week.

The TV Industry Emergency Coalition, which represents independent production companies, yesterday sent an open letter to the new board. "Get legal opinion and act upon the report if there is substance, thereby allowing the respondents a fair and legally transparent process, or openly declare the inquiry and the subsequent report as flawed and invalid," the coalition said, calling on the board to put the era of conspiracy theories behind it.

"Along with the infighting within the SABC over the past eight years or so, we have seen a period where character assassination entered into our political culture," the producers said.

"We believe the Gobodo report has been put to sinister use and continues to be used for dubious ends." It suggested that the Gobodo report might be a way of diverting attention away from last year's auditor-general report on the SABC. "(The new SABC board and Group CEO) should rather get stuck into the task of rebuilding the teetering public broadcaster, which still has a huge debt outstanding to the production industry and is in desperate need of new content and morale," the coalition said.

(Source : Business Day 8th January 2010)