Maroleng cleared over Marawa deal

SABC boss es­capes with writ­ten warn­ing

Sunday World - - Sunday Report - By Aubrey Mothombeni moth­ombe­[email protected]­day­world.co.za

SABC’s chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer (COO) Chris Maroleng has sur­vived the axe af­ter be­ing cleared by the pub­lic broad­caster for his al­leged role in the re-ap­point­ment of ra­dio sports pre­sen­ter Robert Marawa in a mul­ti­mil­lion rand deal.

The former MTN ex­ec­u­tive was charged by then act­ing CEO Nomsa Philiso fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion she had ini­ti­ated against him on al­le­ga­tions that he had sanc­tioned Marawa’s reap­point­ment without fol­low­ing the right pro­cesses.

How­ever, it has been es­tab­lished that Maroleng, who faced three charges in­clud­ing dere­lic­tion of fidu­ciary duty and neg­li­gence, has only been slapped with a writ­ten warn­ing fol­low­ing his ap­pear­ance at a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing con­ducted by Werks­mans At­tor­neys at their of­fices in Sand­ton ear­lier last month.

Sun­day World un­der­stands that the main charges were with­drawn by the SABC on the sec­ond day of the hear­ing af­ter former act­ing group ex­ec­u­tive for sports Mar­cia Mahlalela re­signed. Ac­cord­ing to two SABC se­nior ex­ec­u­tives privy to the case, the SABC was pin­ning its hopes on Mahlalela’s ev­i­dence to nail Maroleng.

How­ever, their plans were thwarted af­ter Mahlalela’s res­ig­na­tion and they only set­tled on giv­ing him the writ­ten warn­ing, say­ing he should not have been in­volved in ne­go­ti­a­tions, let alone given the vague in­struc­tion to Mahlalela to “do what­ever it takes” to get Marawa back to the SABC.

Maroleng’s lawyer, Itayi Gwaunza of law firm ENS, con­firmed the SABC had with­drawn charges against Maroleng.

“I con­firm that I rep­re­sented Chris Maroleng at the dis­ci­plinary en­quiry on 3 Oc­to­ber 2018 be­fore Adv Nazeer Cas­sim SC. As you may be aware, it was re­ported in the me­dia ear­lier this year that the SABC had brought charges against Chris Maroleng aris­ing from the process that led to the ap­point­ment of Robert Marawa to host the simul­cast sports talk show on Metro FM and Ra­dio 2000. How­ever, at the dis­ci­plinary en­quiry, the SABC for­mally with­drew the charges ... Chris Maroleng con­tin­ues to serve the SABC as its Chief Op­er­a­tions Of­fi­cer. Chris Maroleng has ad­vised that Mr Marawa con­tin­ues to host the simul­cast sports talk show,” said Gwaunza.

The two charges had em­anated from con­cerns raised by unions and SABC staffers that Maroleng had sanc­tioned and rub­ber-stamped an “ex­or­bi­tant con­tract” for Marawa while he knew the SABC was in a dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

Other charges ac­cord­ing to ex­ec­u­tives who have seen his charge sheet, were de­rived from the SABC’s dis­cov­ery that Marawa was of­fered a 5% profit share op­tion on his con­tract by Mahlalela, and that the of­fer was con­firmed by Maroleng.

The ex­ec­u­tive said SABC’s new CEO Madoda Mx­akwe was con­cerned about the al­le­ga­tions against Maroleng and gave the green light for Maroleng to be hauled be­fore the DC.

The ex­ec­u­tive stated that the profit share op­tion of­fered to Marawa was ques­tion­able as no other pre­sen­ter, ei­ther on TV or ra­dio, had ever been of­fered such in­cen­tives.

The same source re­vealed that Mx­akwe and the board were also wor­ried about the costs in­curred in con­duct­ing the foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion and dis­ci­plinary hear­ing as all the ex­penses in­curred on the mat­ter would likely be con­sid­ered fruit­less ex­pen­di­ture by the au­di­tor-gen­eral as noth­ing was achieved by the pro­cesses.

SABC Spokesper­son Neo Mo­modu said: “The SABC re­futes all the state­ments men­tioned in the me­dia en­quiry. The SABC also af­firms that it re­spects the con­fi­den­tial­ity of con­tracts en­tered into with its em­ploy­ees and in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors. We will there­fore not dis­cuss mat­ters of any na­ture re­lated to our em­ploy­ees and in­de­pen­dent con­trac­tors pub­licly.”

Marawa could not be reached for com­ment at the time of go­ing to print.

SABC COO Chris Maroleng

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