Cape Town – The chief operating officer at, Bronwyn Keene-Young, has quit the broadcaster and its parent company, Hosken Consolidated Investment (HCI) – and before she left she wrote staff a scathing letter about the company’s top executives.

Her husband, Marcel Golding, resigned as HCI chairman on Monday, the same day that HCI non-executive board member Barbara Hogan’s resignation became known.

In her letter to staff, Keene-Young berates HCI chief executive John Copelyn and board member Yunis Shaik, saying they attempted to influence editorial decisions at

“(Copelyn) fails to tell that earlier this year, when I resisted editorial instructions from Yunis Shaik, he (Copelyn) sought my removal from the company,” she wrote.

“After pushback from our exco, he agreed to let me stay on, provided that I was sidelined into a new position in which news no longer reported to me.”

While Copelyn could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, Shaik said: “I never gave her (Keene-Young) an editorial instruction. I am not just denying it, I am emphatically saying I never gave her an instruction to breach editorial policy or strategy.”

The company initiated charges of gross misconduct and dishonesty against Golding relating to his decision to invest R24 million in shareholder money in a company with which HCI subsidiary and owner Sabido did business. Golding resigned the same day as the Labour Court dismissed his application to stop his disciplinary hearing.

On Tuesday, Copelyn wrote to and eNCA staff, telling them how his business relationship with Golding had collapsed and why the company had to act against Golding.

Keene-Young worked for for 15 years.

She met Golding, a former trade unionist and MP, at a company she joined after working at the Independent Broadcasting Authority.

In her letter to staff, she said: “I never thought the day would come… Like most of you, I see the e-family as an extension of my own family… Right now, for the sake of the truth and the legacy of this company… I believe it is important to address some aspects of the sickeningly defamatory letter distributed to you by John Copelyn on Wednesday (Tuesday).

“(Copelyn) misrepresents the facts relating to Marcel’s removal… Copelyn forgets that Marcel took over this company when it was virtually bankrupt and turned it into the highly successful media house it is today. He doesn’t understand that it is Marcel’s vision which has driven us to the success we enjoy today… Copelyn is silent on how he has attempted to manipulate this company from behind the scenes.

“Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he has told our exco that eNCA’s news coverage is ‘problematic’ for HCI’s other interests and that our news had to be reined in so that it didn’t affect HCI’s ability to source gambling licences from government. Copelyn doesn’t tell you that he told me that the line of editorial independence was not one for the news editorial team to determine and nor was it for Sabido (’s owners) management to determine. That line would be determined by HCI.”

Keene-Young also wrote of what she said were discrepancies involving HCI and shares in Ellies, a company that sells electronic products related to television, and threats to get Golding to resign.

“Each time Marcel refused to acquiesce to Copelyn’s demands and ‘go quietly’, Marcel was threatened with disciplinary action on the Ellies matter. In his letter, Copelyn has gone to great lengths to misrepresent the facts and to hide his own unacceptable behaviour in this entire matter.”

Source: Cape Times – Carlo Petersen