Mpofu in firing line again

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The words "give up" is not part of the vocabulary of SABC board it seems as its latest and third attempt to suspend the corporation's group chief executive, Dali Mpofu, shows.

Sowetan has learnt that the board chairman Khanyi Mkhonza has now written Mpofu asking him to show reason why he should not be suspended.

Unlike the two previous occasions when Mkhonza suspended Mpofu with immediate effect and telling him not to set his foot on SABC premises or communicate with staff, she now seems battle weary and is coming up with a conciliatory attitude.

An SABC source said Mkhonza had given Mpofu sufficient time to respond. But we could not establish by when Mpofu was supposed to respond because Mpofu himself refused to comment.

Yesterday the board's spokesman promised to take our enquiry to Mkhonza, saying, "she is the only one allowed to speak on these matters".

Mkhonza had not responded at the time of going to press.

Last week the Johannesburg high court rejected the board's application for leave to appeal against the lifting of Mpofu's first suspension.

Mpofu had immediately returned to a warm and hysterical staff welcome. Fellow executive members even signed a petition calling on the board to immediately step down.

Mkhonza later condemned the conduct of the seven SABC executives and described their petition as "mischievous" and "divisive" and aimed at "undermining the integrity and authority of the board".

But calls for the board to resign came from various bodies, including the SACP, Freedom of Expression Institute and opposition groupings.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said the board must pay back the wasted legal costs.