AXED SABC boss wins court case

SACKED SABC chief executive officer Dali Mpofu was gloating yesterday after his second court victory over the public broadcaster's board. He felt vindicated.

SACKED SABC chief executive officer Dali Mpofu was gloating yesterday after his second court victory over the public broadcaster's board. He felt vindicated.

For him it was a matter of "I told you so".

"This is a confirmation that the first judge was right when he said the board was unfit to stay in office," Mpofu said.

"My biggest regret is that since this whole thing started last year, they have run the organisation down."

He was commenting on the Johannesburg high court's dismissal of the board's appeal against Judge Moroa Tsoka's ruling that Mpofu's suspension was unlawful.

Asked if he was planning to return to work more than a year after he was suspended, Mpofu said: "Of course. That's the spirit, that's the objective. My lawyers will be looking at the judgment. Today's judgment, of course, strengthens the reinstatement application made at the labour court."

His lawyers confirmed that they were waiting for the labour court date.

Mpofu was suspended on May 7 last year, a day after he suspended former SABC news chief Snuki Zikalala for allegedly leaking sensitive information to the media.

He took the matter to the high court, where Judge Tsoka ruled that the meeting at which it was decided that he be suspended, which he was asked not to attend, was unlawful.

Suspension was unlawful

The SABC board appealed against the ruling but Judge Margaret Victor ruled in Mpofu's favour.

In her 32-page judgment, Victor said Mpofu should have been at the meeting that decided his suspension.

"The chairperson's decision to exclude the respondent and the two executive members when the decision was taken to suspend him precipitated a fatal flaw in the process as found by the court," she said.

The judge also lashed out at Khanyi Mkonza, the board's chairperson at the time, saying she had become emotional about the Zikalala's suspension.

"Ubuntu manifests itself through various human acts and behaviour patterns in different social situations," Judge Victor said.

"This was clearly lacking when the determination to suspend the respondent was made.

"The actions of the chairperson as well as her other board members were made in haste.".

Ashwin Trikamjee is acting chairperson of the board, having replaced Mkonza, who resigned recently.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the broadcaster would first study the judgment before commenting.

"He took the matter to the Labour Court, which makes it clear that he wants his job back. The court will decide when he should return to his post."

In a bid to get rid of Mpofu the SABC offered him R7 million as a golden handshake, which he rejected.

Mpofu said yesterday: "I put the money in a trust fund account. They can come and get it anytime."

His lawyer, Sandile July, said Mpofu would wait until the court matter had been finalised before returning to work.

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