Snuki Zikalala, group executive of news and current affairs, told TheMediaOnline on Friday (16 May) he has “not really” made a final decision to take legal action against the SABC, but he has told “them I will take legal action if they don’t rectify it (the fact that he was suspended)”.
align=leftHe says he is at the moment “having discussions” over the matter.
align=leftMeanwhile, the SABC’s suspended group chief executive officer, Dali Mpofu, is requesting that the Johannesburg High Court set aside a decision taken by the SABC board to suspend him.
He alleges that the board was acting on “political instruction to get rid of him”. Mpofu also claims his suspension is linked to an attempt to protect Zikalala from an investigation and possible disciplinary action as a result of his suspension by Mpofu.
In a 47-page affidavit, Mpofu claims the political instruction came from “a member of the cabinet… Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad,… who bears personal animosity towards me because I resisted his unwarranted attempts to interfere during the PSL and SuperSport matter towards the end of 2007”.
The SABC lost the television broadcasting rights for the Premier Soccer League (PSL), over five seasons, to SuperSport after a protracted battle.
Mpofu has also requested that Gabriel Mampone’s appointment as acting group chief executive officer be declared unlawful.
The urgent application made by Mpofu was postponed a number of times on Thursday (15 May) after the SABC submitted its own affidavits earlier that day.
In the affidavit, Mpofu goes through a series of arguments challenging the way in which the board handled the leaking of a board memorandum to the Sunday Times, which subsequently published an article claiming the board was moving to fire Mpofu, as well as the suspension of Zikalala and his own suspension.
Mpofu confirms he suspended Zikalala without the consent of the board. He did try to make contact with SABC board chairperson Kanyi Mkonza, but was unable to reach her. During a meeting on 6 May, Mpofu claims that “Zikalala admitted that he had given a confidential internal audit report to a third party”.
“He said (Zikalala) that whilst he knew that this constituted serious misconduct, he was influenced by some external pressure to do so,” Mpofu states in the affidavit.
He also states that Zikalala’s conduct was “in direct contravention of the SABC’s disciplinary code and his employment contract” and uses similar action taken by the board against the company secretary on 6 March for leaking an internal audit report to the media to back up his decision to suspend Zikalala.
On finding out about the suspension, Mpofu states Mkonza phoned him and stated that she did not recognise the suspension of Zikalala.
The board called an urgent meeting the following day (7 May) and suspended Mpofu.
mce_keep=”true”Ã¢Â–Â Sapa/IOL reports Mkonza, in court papers, states that Mpofu’s “conduct as a manager” and his “unlawful” suspension of Zikalala caused his (Mpofu’s) suspension.
mce_keep=”true”Judgement has been reserved until Monday (19 May).R