Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo
The Film and Publication Board (FPB) opted to skip disciplinary processes and instead gave former CEO Themba Wakashe a golden handshake to leave the state entity, much to the dismay of Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
Dlodlo said she was informed by the FPB board that Wakashe was offered a cash settlement because it would have been difficult for the organisation to prove its case against the former CEO.
”The process was completed but no hearing was held. They paid the CEO and he has left the institution. I find it quite odd that entities would readily and easily pay off an individual who is alleged to be a sex pest…that the board would choose to withdraw the charges and actually write him a letter offering him good references in order for him to leave…to me, that is very problematic.”
She said she was yet to receive a report on the matter from the FPB, and is yet to hear whether the sexual harassment charge was actually true.
”If you offer me good references in order to vacate the position, then the question arises as to whether you had a case against me in the first instance. You can imagine how many lives are ruined through such postures where people easily withdraw charges. I still need them to share their reasons [for their decision] to me because that just does not make any sense,” she said.
”It was only when I called the board chairperson of the FPB that I was told this was going to be a difficult case. I am just saddened by the fact that we put such serious charges on people and their careers, reputations put on risk and literally raped…and they have to live with that…these are people who have families, are young and have productive lives ahead of them.”
Wakashe faced over 200 charges including allegations of insubordination, sexual harassment of an employee and absconding from work. He was suspended last year and denied all allegations levelled against him.
He reportedly said he was ready to defend himself. FPB council member Matome Ditlhake said Wakashe had 14 months outstanding on his contract, and was paid that as a settlement. He would not say how much FPB forked out as a golden handshake to Wakashe.
The employee who laid the sexual misconduct complaint would not come forward to testify against Wakashe, said Ditlhake: ”We went through a process to investigate, but that person was not willing to come forward. This was already out in the media and the former CEO was branded as a sex pest..unfortunately, we did not have the evidence as the witness did not want to come forward, so on that charge, we did not have a case,” Ditlhake told ANA.
The FPB was forced ”by circumstances” to settle and did not ”have a cheque in hand” ready to offer a settlement, he added. The FPB board is appearing before Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications today [Thursday].