Family and friends of former SABC chief executive Solly Mokoetle are reeling with shock following his mysterious disappearance from his luxury Umhlanga estate on Friday.
The 59-year-old father of four was last seen leaving his home in the plush Mount Edgecombe golf estate on Friday night and had not been seen since, his wife Zola Ntuli told The Mercury on Tuesday.
She had no idea where her husband was and said the family was working closely with police to find him.
Relatives had travelled from Pretoria, Soweto and Ficksburg in the Free State to be with Ntuli and the children.
Ntuli said they had returned from Musgrave shopping centre after watching movies.
“We were all happy after a night out. When we got home he watched soccer and I went to our bedroom and worked on my laptop.”
Mokoetle left to go for a walk around 10.30pm, she said, and the estate’s CCTV footage captured him leaving through the main gates and heading south, in the direction of a nearby McDonald’s outlet.
A drained and emotional Ntuli said the past few days had been testing for her and her family.
“It’s been a very traumatic time – especially because our two last-born are twins and they’re only 7 years old.”
Ntuli said when Mokoetle did not return on Saturday she realised it was serious.
On Sunday morning she contacted the police and reported him missing.
She also went to hospitals and mortuaries looking for him.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Shooz Magudulela confirmed that a missing person’s report had been filed at the Phoenix police station.
“He has not been found at this stage and the search is ongoing,” he said on Tuesday afternoon.
The local community policing forum in the area, the South African Community Crime Watch, has distributed pamphlets appealing for anybody with information to assist the police in their investigations.
Two detectives from the Phoenix police station have been assigned to investigate the disappearance and are being were assisted by the forum.
Mokoetle has most recently been working with the Department of Communications, heading the Digital Terrestrial Television Migration Project which is set to to see South Africa move from analogue to digital broadcasting.
After several missed deadlines, the project was eventually launched late last year and has not been without contention.
Just on Tuesday, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi issued a media statement denying accusations that she had “gone against the ANC policy on digital migration amendments”.
This was after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande suggested as much on Radio 702 last week.
Mokoetle’s short time at the helm of the SABC board was also marred by controversy. He was promoted from chief operations officer to chief executive in December 2009.
The following May, he named Phil Molefe head of news. But the move saw board members – who were not consulted beforehand – lash out against Mokoetle.
Molefe’s appointment was ultimately declared null and void and he was suspended a month later pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.
The following January, Mokoetle announced his resignation.
Last year it emerged that he received a R3.8 million payout after leaving.
Anyone with information on Mokoetle’s whereabouts is urged to telephone the Phoenix police at 031 508 2300/8 or alternatively Crime Stop at 086 001 0111.[Source: The Mercury]