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Mpofu's legal battle with board continues

By unknown | Sep 01, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

The board of the SABC had no power to suspend Dali Mpofu because he was appointed by the minister of communications.

"So he was suspended by the wrong people," Mpofu's lawyer, Advocate Vincent Maleka, told the Johannesburg high court.

The embattled SABC group chief executive has launched another bid to have his suspension by the corporation's board declared illegal.

Maleka said it was Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri who had the power to appoint and remove the GCEO.

"The minister is the appointing body not the board, so it is the minister who has the power to suspend the GCEO," he argued.

Mpofu wants the court to find the meetings held on June 2 and 11, at which a decision to suspend him was taken, unlawful.

Maleka said the conduct of the board in suspending Mpofu was unlawful and unfair.

He also argued that the board did not follow the correct procedures in appointing acting GCEO Gabriel Mampane, who was appointed by the other directors.

"Colleagues can't appoint a colleague," he said.

He said the minister, as the appointing authority, had not been involved in the appointment of Mampane, which rendered his appointment unlawful.

In response, SABC lawyer Advocate Paul Pretorius argued that the court did not have jurisdiction over the matter since it was between employer and employee.

He said the matter should be heard by the labour court.

But he said if the court found it had jurisdiction he would submit that the board had the power to institute an enquiry and suspend.

"The minister's role is to merely approve contracts," Pretorius said.

He said it was the board's function to manage the SABC.

Matsepe-Casaburri's lawyer, Advocate Karel Tip, concurred with Pretorius: "According to her belief and conduct the board appoints."

Tip said the minister decided to leave the legality of Mampane's appointment to be adjudicated in court.

Judge Frans Malan reserved judgment.


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