Johannesburg - Public broadcaster the SABC has paid R42.6m over the last six years to prematurely terminate former executives’ contracts.
This is according to a reply by the Department of Communications to a parliamentary question from opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA).
The biggest golden handshake was handed to former SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu in 2009. He was paid out R6.7m in what is termed “agreed separation” in the parliamentary reply.
However, additional payments of R4.4m were also made to Mpofu in restraint of trade; this amount was funded by the department. The SABC further paid R2.1m in legal fees regarding Mpofu’s exit.
The parliamentary reply further disclosed that former CEO Lulama Mokhobo - who stepped down in 2014 - was paid out R5.6m, ex-head of news Phil Molefe received R4.9m in 2013, acting chief operations officer Christine Mampane was given R4.3m in 2012 and CEO Solly Mokoetle was paid R3.8m in 2011.
“In virtually all of these cases, the executives receiving the payouts were purged for political reasons,” said Gavin Davis, DA shadow minister for communications, in a statement.
“As with other public entities, SABC executives are hired on the basis of their perceived loyalty to the dominant faction of the ANC instead of their ability to do the job. When deployed cadres fall out of political favour, they get dumped with a massive payout to soften the landing,” added Davis.
Fin24 contacted the Department of Communications for a response to the DA statement and a request to answer further questions on the matter.
Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi's only response was to issue the following reply through her office: “The Minister is happy with the progress made by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the public broadcaster has made a significant progress in improving the management of its finances as well as accountability for the period under review.”
The SABC at the time of writing had not responded to Fin24’s request for comment on the golden handshakes.