Maroleng guilty of three charges at SABC

Chris Maroleng.
Chris Maroleng.

SABC COO Chris Maroleng has been found guilty of three of four charges, some of which relate to his alleged role in the controversial reappointment of sports presenter Robert Marawa back to the SABC.

Maroleng had been subjected to a disciplinary process since January this year. The sanction for his alleged indiscretions will be delivered at a later date. 

Presided over by Professor Takalani Samuel Madima as chairperson, the DC, according to the findings seen by Sunday World, was concluded two weeks ago, while the findings were released on April 8.

According to the documents seen, Maroleng, who was initially cleared of all charges relating to Marawa's reappointment, was this time charged for his role in trying to save former SABC acting group executive for sports Marcia Mahlalela's job at the SA Rugby Union (Saru).

Mahlalela resigned from the SABC in a huff late last year on the day she was set to appear before a DC to answer for alleged irregularities relating to Marawa's reappointment. She later joined Saru.

However, after noting Sunday World reports about Mahlalela's sudden resignation and that she was charged before jumping ship, Saru wrote a letter to the SABC, specifically Maroleng, enquiring about the seriousness of the charges which Mahlalela was facing before her resignation.

The documents show that Maroleng, who appears to have been worried that Mahlalela's new job could be on the line, told Saru that she was not found guilty of any wrongdoing.

He, according to the documents, allegedly wrote to the rugby body and told them that the charges against Mahlalela were not substantiated, including that the SABC would have found it difficult to prove any of the allegations.

"Ms Mahlalela had already resigned before the issue of charges against her. In light of the above, the SABC and Ms Mahlalela agreed to abandon the disciplinary hearing and Ms Mahlalela was allowed to resign with immediate effect. The SABC now acknowledges that the envisaged disciplinary hearing was flawed," reads parts of Maroleng's response to Saru.

According to the SABC charge sheet, the SABC board took issue with Maroleng's tone in the letter and argued that he seemed to have represented the interest of Mahlalela over those of the SABC.

In defence of this charge, according to his submission seen by Sunday World, Maroleng said "my main intention was to assist Ms Mahlalela to rescue the precarious position that surrounded her employment at Saru, and not to get her unemployed, if at all that was possible".

Maroleng further said, according to his submission, that his statement about the charges against Mahlalela were also informed by a legal advice from head of legal Nompumelelo Phasha.

However arguing for the SABC, CEO Madoda Mxakwe argued that Maroleng was not authorised to respond on behalf of Mahlalela, and he further said that he had lied to Saru that Mahlalela was facing three charges while she was facing six charges.

The charge sheet indicated that another charge related to the secondment of one Carmen Schneider, an HR employee, to Maroleng's office to lead a change management programme initiated by Maroleng called Sparkle.

The SABC said that Maroleng ignored HR advice by giving Schneider a R15,000 allowance to act as Sparkle Project leader, despite having agreed with the SABC Group Executive for HR Jonathan Thekiso that there won't be any material changes to Schneider's terms of employment contract and salary.

"He knew that it was wrong, stated the SABC."

Maroleng's lawyer Itayi Gwaunza confirmed that he represented his client at the disciplinary hearing against the SABC.

SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said: "The SABC can confirm that a disciplinary hearing was held against the SABC's COO, Mr Chris Maroleng. The recommendations of the disciplinary hearing will be handed over to the new board.

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