Saturday, July 30, 2011

SABC's dumped former group CEO Robin Nicholson is suing the SABC for R2,8 million; SABC board told beforehand there will be 'hostility'.

While a majority of SABC board members voted to extend the contract of the SABC's now inexplicably axed former acting group CEO, Robin Nicholson - plunging the beleaguered South African public broadcaster into another public scandal - the SABC board still got rid of him overnight a month ago knowing full well that there will be ''animosity'' and that it will be ''difficult to convince Robin Nicholson to assist with the transitional handover'' to Phil Molefe.

ALSO READ: The dumped Robin Nicholson ready to sue the SABC for millions of rands after the latest massive upheaval at the public broadcaster.

Robin Nicholson has issued a summons against the SABC and demands R2,8 million as well as interest and legal fees.

Justice Ndaba, the SABC's acting group head of human capital services told the SABC board - nine of which voted to extend Robin Nicholson's contract and two who voted against it - that a proper handover from Robin Nicholson to Phil Molefe is going to be ''difficult'' because of the way in which the SABC board is handling the situation.

''Since Robin Nicholson's contract is ending today, June 30, and given the hostility that would be displayed by Robin Nicholson, noting the decision by the board that his contract would not be renewed, as well as the potential for external animosity from certain quarters, possibilities of legal battles etc., it will be difficult for us to convince Robin Nicholson to assist with the transitional handover,'' Justice Ndaba wrote to the SABC board.

The SABC board offered a contract extension to Robin Nicholson while he was on holiday, and suddenly took back the offer while the SABC chairperson dr Ben Ngubane was away. Robin Nicholson has a copy of the 6 month contract extension the SABC board gave to him on 27 June and which has already been signed by dr Ben Ngubane before he left for Japan. All that was left to do was for Robin Nicholson to sign it, when the SABC board suddenly decided to bring in Phil Molefe and blindsided Robin Nicholson.

Justice Ndaba recommended to the SABC board that Robin Nicholson might have a legitimate claim against the SABC and that the broadcaster should pay Robin Nicholson the contractual amount for the 6 month contract extension offered, since the SABC has created a legitimate expectation with the signed contract by dr Ben Ngubane that Robin Nicholson is getting to stay on.

The SABC has not responded to media enquiries made.