SABC board member booted from university post

2019-09-16 23:30

The University of Limpopo has terminated with immediate effect a five-year employment contract that SABC board member Kgalema Mohuba had with it.

City Press has learnt that Mohuba, who was employed as a marketing and communications executive director at the university, was informed of the university council’s decision to part ways with him last Monday, following a council meeting last Friday.

He was placed on precautionary suspension in May last year with full pay, pending the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings which were initiated against him in October.

The university declined to comment on a number of questions, which included whether its decision had anything to do with an investigation started in March last year involving two anonymous reports it received that Mohuba had allegedly hired two Zimbabwean nationals to write his Doctor of Commerce.

The reports also alleged that there were questions about how he managed to complete his doctorate in two years.

Professor Mahlo Mokgalong, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor, confirmed in a statement on Thursday that the university had decided to part ways with Mohuba.

“The university would like to thank Mohuba for his contribution to the institution during his tenure and wishes him everything of the best in his future career endeavours,” Mokgalong said.

Acting spokesperson for the university Kwena Masha declined to comment on numerous questions sent on Friday, saying only that “unfortunately, the university is unable to comment on this matter at the moment as there is pending litigation in a related matter. We will inform the public about this matter at a later stage.”

City Press has seen a letter written by Mokgalong last Monday, addressed to Mohuba and informing him of the termination of his employment contract, which was set to end in December next year.

“Council has carefully considered its options and is of the opinion that it is in the best interest of all concerned that it exercises the right to terminate your employment contract with immediate effect. You are accordingly hereby notified of the immediate termination of your employment contract with effect from September 9 2019. The university will pay to you the remuneration that represents the balance of your contract period,” the letter reads.

“As a consequence of this decision, the disciplinary proceedings pending against you are hereby immediately terminated with effect from September 9 2019, as you will no longer be an employee of the university as of that date.

“You are directed to submit any university property in your possession on or before September 30 2019. The university’s rights in respect of its refusal to confer on you the disputed doctoral degree remain fully reserved and are not in any way compromised, waived or abandoned as a result of the termination of your employment.”

But Mohuba is not going down without a fight and has instructed his lawyers to challenge the decision.

He said in a statement sent to City Press on Friday that he was placed on precautionary suspension by the “unilateral decree” of Mokgalong, espoused in a letter that he never saw.

“I was thereafter called upon to appear before an improperly constituted disciplinary committee and I obliged with the hope that I would seize the platform to put the allegations against me to rest.

“On Monday, September 9 2019, halfway into the disciplinary proceedings, I was shocked to learn that the disciplinary proceedings against me were, likewise, terminated by unilateral decree of the vice-chancellor, with effect from the same date,” Mohuba said.

He said the conduct of the university demonstrated that it did not believe the allegations against him to be true.

Regrettably, Mohuba said, he had been deprived of a platform to demonstrate “the falsity of the malicious allegations peddled against me.

“Sadly, this means that my distinguished service of 25 years with the university has come to an end on the basis of allegations the vice-chancellor refuses to test. I do not intend to let this unconscionable conduct go unchallenged. I have instructed my legal representatives to look into the matter and to consider initiating appropriate proceedings for the vindication of my rights, reputation and dignity.”

When asked whether this would have any impact on Mohuba’s work with the board of the public broadcaster, SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said: “Kindly note that in regard to your enquiry, the SABC does not have a comment.”

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December 15 2019