Ecstatic ex-SABC boss hits pay dirt

Thabo Mokone and Khethiwe Chelemu

SABC group chief executive Solly Mokoetle resigned yesterday after reaching a settlement with the board that will see him walk away with millions – and he could not be more delighted.

Although he was only in the job for an effective eight months, Mokoetle is set to receive a pay-out from the cash-strapped public broadcaster which includes his salary until 2014, when his contact was due to expire.

Neither Mokoetle nor the SABC would reveal the terms of the settlement, saying a strict confidentiality clause was in place.
 But according to last year’s financial report, Mokoetle was on a salary of R3-million a year, which means he could leave with about R10-million.

A delighted Mokoetle said yesterday he wanted to spoil himself.

“The celebrations start tonight. I am going to buy myself an expensive bottle of whisky. I will also be going on holiday … play a bit of golf and I will also go fishing.”

Mokoetle announced his resignation yesterday with SABC board member Cedric Gina at a press conference in Johannesburg.

His resignation follows months of acrimony between him and the board, which saw him suspended in September and brought before a disciplinary hearing in November.

He began working at the SABC in January last year. Disciplinary charges against him included the failure to devise a coherent turnaround strategy and failing to discipline acting group chief operations officer Charlotte Mampane for allegedly eavesdropping on one of the board’s meetings. He was also charged with failing to appoint a replacement when he went on leave.

Mokoetle said “unresolved irreconcilable differences” between him and the SABC had forced him to resign.

He said the allegations levelled against him by the board carried no weight, and “we had all agreed that there was no point in going ahead with them”.

Kate Skinner, co-ordinator of the Save Our SABC coalition, a non-governmental organisation which lobbies for an efficiently run public broadcaster, slammed the SABC board for being secretive about Mokoetle’s early-exit package.

“As the public, it would be good to know what kind of money was part of the package because the SABC is not in a healthy financial situation,” she said.

DA MP Natasha Michael hailed the resignation of Mokoetle as an opportunity for the board to get the SABC back on the right track.

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