Sophie Mokoena

Sophie Mokoena is a South African journalist who works for SABC as the senior foreign editor.

Career

She joined the SABC in 1994 and was based in Johannesburg. Mokoena was the anchor of a current affairs programme on Lesedi FM which was then called SiSuthu Stereo.

She then relocated to Bloemfontein when Lesedi FM relocated to the city. Mokoena was a reporter by then. In 1999 she left Bloemfontein and went to Cape Town where she joined the Political Affairs team. [1]

In 2012 a publication reported that Sophie Mokoena had been removed from the political team where she was the senior political reporter for SABC.

Although senior SABC staff confirmed that Mokoena had been taken off the political team in the run-up to the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung, her political editor, Abbey Makoe, denied it.

Although Mokoena declined to comment, the publication was told Mokoena was informed in November 2012 that she would no longer be covering politics and would not be going to Mangaung. Her role at the conference had already been mapped out and she had been appointed co-ordinator of the political team.

Mokoena took leave after the news was broken to her. When she returned to work in December, SABC sources told the publication that she was not told what position she would be occupying or given anything to do. The sources said despite her repeated request for a letter outlining why she had been removed from the political team, it was not forthcoming.[2]

Controversies

R2.5 Million Saga

In 2019 Mokoena was one of three senior SABC News staff members who were facing numerous charges over the irregular expenditure of R2.5 million involving a foreign news agency and allegations of poor performance.

Mokoena was allegedly implicated by a report as having assigned stories to a fairly new international news agency, Features Story News (FSN), without a contract.

This act amounted to irregular expenditure as no contract was in place to justify work done by the agency. As a result, Mokoena was also facing charges for her failure to adhere to SABC procurement processes when appointing the foreign news agency.

Another charge emanating from the arrangement with FSN against Mokoena included negligence, with arguments that Mokoena as a manager should have known that the Public Finance Management Act does not permit for a contract of that value to be signed without going to tender.

However, those close to her said Mokoena cannot be blamed for sourcing content from FSN, stating that when she took over her new position, all contracts with international news service providers such as AFP and Reuters had expired and there was no legal person to deal with the renewal of the contracts.

The sources added that the international news service providers refused to supply the SABC with stories without a contract hence she took the decision to engage FSN as a last resort.[3]

Talk Radio 702 Saga

In November 2009, Sophie Mokoena was charged for calling a rival radio station to badmouth the SABC

Mokoena was charged with bringing the SABC into disrepute, dishonesty, breaching her employment contract and contravening SABC rules and regulations.

Mokoena allegedly called Talk Radio 702 in July 2009 during the SABC pay strike, identifying herself as "Fatima" during a show hosted by Redi Direko and voicing an opinion about the troubles plaguing the public broadcaster.

Listeners called in after the show, saying they recognised the voice as Mokoena's. The charge sheet notes that Mokoena misrepresented her identity.[4]

References

  1. SABC, Sophie Mokoena to take legal action against SABC 8 book author, YouTube, Published: June 25, 2019, Retrieved: January 11, 2021
  2. Thalia Holmes, Sophie Mokoena axed from post at SABC, Mail & Guardian, Published: December 6, 2012, Retrieved: January 11, 2021
  3. Aubrey Mothombeni, SABC senior news staff in hot water, Sowetan Live, Published: February 24, 2019, Retrieved: January 11, 2021
  4. SABC reporter to be charged, IOL, Published: November 22, 2009, Retrieved: January 11, 2021