Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mpofu gets R12m to leave SABC

Former SABC boss Dali Mpofu has ended his R20-million legal dispute with the broadcaster and will pocket R12-million for his troubles. by Buddy Naidu
Mpofu and the SABC’s interim chairman, Irene Charnley, announced at a rather jovial news conference on Friday that they had reached an “amicable agreement” whereby he will drop his legal case for wrongful dismissal against the broadcaster.

The two said “ongoing costly legal battles are not in the interests of public broadcasting”.

Mpofu also signed a restraint-of-trade agreement valid for 18 months.

He has already been paid R6.7-million, or the remainder of his contract, after his axing. He will pocket a further R900000 as part of his package, and the Department of Communications will pay him R4.4-million as part of the restraint-of- trade deal. As part of the agreement, signed to “safeguard the SABC’s protectable interests”, Mpofu will be prevented from working for any entity in competition with the broadcaster, even as a consultant. He will also receive R2.1- million for legal fees he incurred during his battle with the former board, which initially suspended and then axed him early last year.

Charnley said the scrap between Mpofu and the previous board, which was dissolved in June, had cost the broadcaster R4.8-million in legal fees alone.

A jovial Mpofu said he was relieved the saga was over and insisted he had no intention of applying for his old job, which is advertised in national newspapers today.

“Fairness, in principle, was what I was fighting for,” Mpofu said.

He maintained that his tenure was a “success” — saying his record “speaks for itself” — and praised his senior management team for their work.

“I’ve no regrets. .. people will see the kind of contribution we’ve made as a collective.”

He also took a dig at the former board, saying he paid no heed to their attempts to publicly discredit him. “(I) don’t worry about people who are ignorant about how the SABC functions.”

DA spokesman on communications Niekie van den Berg said it was ridiculous that Mpofu could walk away with a R12-million payment when his inability to manage the state broadcaster led to its financial crisis. “I hope this is a lesson for the ANC as Mpofu was a political appointment.”

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