The SABC has accused former chief operations officer Chris Maroleng of being unwilling to assume responsibility for his own “serious misconduct”, and said it would oppose any legal actions instituted against the public broadcaster by the former employee.
In a hard-hitting statement, the SABC said gross dishonesty, or dishonesty of whatever form, was regarded as serious misconduct. “It renders the continued employment relationship intolerable…There can be no greater act of dishonesty than what Maroleng did. Ignoring company policies and procedures by an Executive Director is serious misconduct,” it said.
Maroleng, in court papers, has demanded his job back, or a R16 million settlement as a payout for the remainder of his four year contract, City Press reported. “I am looking to the courts to clear my name and reputation as we have put out in the court papers that the manner that things were done was untoward,” Maroleng told the newspaper.
The SABC holds a different view. It said an employment relationship, “broken down as a result of an act of dishonesty, can never be restored by whatever amount of mitigation”. It said an employer could not be expected to “keep dishonest workers in his/her employ”. And it added, the SABC had to send “an unequivocal message to other employees that dishonesty will not be tolerated. Maroleng’s actions are so serious given his position that it becomes apparent that an employer cannot be expected to keep a dishonest employee in their employ”.
Maroleng was charged after “breaching his fiduciary duties as a director, for acting in a manner which breaches good faith, trust, honesty, loyalty and confidence, and for two charges of gross negligence”, it said.
In has affidavit, Maroleng said the unlawful and summary dismissal and ultimate termination of his contract of employment by the SABC “constituted a breach of the respondent’s contractual obligation to address allegations of misconduct against the applicant”.
The SABC has refuted this claim. It said Maroleng had undergone disciplinary hearing chaired by an independent chairperson. “At all material times during his disciplinary hearing, Mr Maroleng was represented by a legal team of his choice. He was found guilty of three charges and not guilty on one charge. Both the SABC and Mr Maroleng made representations on the appropriate sanction to be imposed to the Chairperson of the disciplinary hearing”, it explained.
The chairperson, having considered submissions by both parties, recommended summary dismissal in respect of each charge Maroleng was found guilty of.
On Maroleng’s claims that the SABC board was responsible for his dismissal, the broadcaster said such allegations were “baseless”, saying he was unwilling to assume responsibility for his conduct.
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