The former executive chairman of Hosken Consolidated (HCI), Marcel Golding, threatened the credibility of South Africa’s e.tv channel by claiming there was political interference at the free-to-air channel, John Copelyn, the CEO of HCI, said on Wednesday.

Before resigning earlier this week, Golding claimed that he was suspended because he rebutted government’s attempts to influence news coverage at e.tv.

In papers before the labour court – he had applied to the court to have his suspension reversed – Golding claimed he received an email that tried to cajole e.tv into covering President Jacob Zuma’s opening of a new dam.

Golding claimed his rebuttal of this political influence over the station’s news agenda was the actual motive behind his suspension as executive chairman of HCI, the Cape Town-based investment firm.

Golding threw in the towel as HCI executive chairman after his failed Labour Court bid to reverse his suspension. Copelyn claimed Golding had not even apologised for his accusations, retracted his comments or shown regret.

On Wednesday, Copelyn’s letter led to a harsh response from Bronwyn Keene-Young, Golding’s wife, who resigned as COO at e.tv on Wednesday.

“Despite what has been contended by Marcel, I want to assure you that there was only one reason for Marcel’s suspension: his decision to spend R24 million of shareholder money on investing in a supplier retail company with whom we do business,” she said in the letter.

“Marcel’s trades were concealed from the company, its board who had to authorise the trades, and shareholders of Sabido – who likewise had to authorise such a purchase before Marcel was entitled to proceed,” she added.

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