SABC in years

This SABC timeline has been compiled by friends of the SABC.

During the Codesa negotiations the ANC was all too aware of the enormous reach of the SABC and moved swiftly to take control.

Initially it made all the right noises and committed itself to creating a new, neutral and objective public broadcaster which would finally cast of the shackles of its restrictive apartheid past.

It quickly became clear however that the ANC’s unstated intention was to suborn the SABC by making it not the public broadcaster of integrity that we were promised in 1994 but a Stalinist instrument of control, a means of covering up party corruption through a policy of censorship by omission, a means of undermining opposition parties, silencing dissenting voices and a means of fighting internecine battles.

The basis of this approach was openly articulated in the ANC’s stated objective of gaining controls of all “levers of power” in South African society and the     means of achieving this was through cadre deployment – as the  SABC boards in the Mbeki era and thereafter illustrate.

Here is how Gareth van Onselen, then Director of Communications with the Democratic Alliance but now a columnist for Business Day, described these origins in a paper, “His Master’s Voice - The SABC as Propaganda Arm of the ANC” published in June 2006

‘ANC spokesperson Joel Netshitenzhe, writing in the ANC publication Umrabulo in 1997, defined transformation as ‘extending the power of the ‘National Liberation Movement’ over all levers of power: the army, the police, the bureaucracy, intelligence structures, the judiciary, parastatal, and agencies such as regulatory bodies, the public broadcaster, the central bank and so on.

‘The ANC offered a progress report on its goal of controlling the SABC in its 1999 document ‘Accelerating Change: Assessing the Balance of Forces in 1999’ It states: ‘The transformation of the SABC did take much longer than we thought and more needs to be done at middle management level. With regards to the print media, the ownership structures remain a problem.’

In gaining control of the SABC, Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the chief ANC Codesa negotiators sought to allay what, in retrospect, were entirely justifiable fears.

This is what he said in 1992:

The ANC believes that unquestioning loyalty by a public broadcaster to a ruling party is incompatible with democracy – whether or not the ruling party enjoys the support of the majority of the population.

When the ANC wins the electoral support of the majority of South Africans, it will not seek to replace the National Party as the subject of the SABC’s slavish loyalty. And we want to establish both the principle and practice of that independence now.

The ANC is committed to public broadcasting which is independent of the government of the day, and which owes its loyalty not to any party, but to the population as a whole. In other words, we propose a broadcast service committed to providing full and accurate information to all South Africans, and one which is protected from interference by any special interests – be they political, economic or cultural.

We are not asking for equal time. However, we do insist that the public be informed of all views fully and fairly through a public broadcaster’s loyalty to serving a total audience with integrity.

Today we face an immediate and urgent problem. We cannot afford to wait for the achievement of democracy to change the SABC. As the major information source, the SABC in its current form misuses its position to skew public perceptions. The result is that during this crucial transition period we have a public subjected to misinformation and disinformation because of narrow party political manipulation.

If the SABC is to play a constructive role ahead of our country’s first experience with democracy, informing the electorate rather than attempting to persuade them to vote for a particular political party, it is necessary to replace those who currently control the SABC with others who are committed to democracy and to an electorate empowered by accurate and impartial information.

This timeline starts in 1995 when Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who was to play a singularly corrupt and oppressive role thereafter, started working for the SABC.

The Mandela era 1994 – 1999

1995: Hlaudi Motsoeneng, currently (2013) acting Chief Operating Officer of the SABC, its second most powerful executive earning R2.2-million annually, joins the SABC in Bloemfontein.  He provides the SABC with a form which stated that he had done his matric in 1991 at Metsi Matsho High School. However, he never actually produces the certificate, despite repeated requests from the then HR officer, Ms Marie Swanepoel and two other staff members, Helena Botes and Paul Tati. Motsoeneng’s alleged response was that he was still searching for the certificate. However, contrary to this evidence which has been supplied to the Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, the SABC now claims that he was always open about the fact that he had never passed matric.

He also filled in a form in which he listed five matric subjects that he claimed to have done in 1991 in fulfilment of the requirements for a matric pass.

1996: The Chairperson of the SABC Board of Control, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, nominated herself for re-appointment to the board in 1996 when the term of office of the previous one came to an end. She subsequently phoned the office of the Minister for Broadcasting to make sure that they had in fact received her nomination.

Dr Matsepe-Casaburri was not appointed to the new SABC Board, having been "redeployed" by the ANC when she was appointed premier of the Free State.

25 July 1996: Olefile Samuel Mnqibisa, a former MK soldier testifies before the TRC about the human rights abuses he and other suffered at the hand of Snuki Zikalala. As a result of a promise by Zikalala that he would testify before theTRC to rebut these allegations, Max du Preez does not broadcast Mnqibisa’s testimony. This was a lie and Zikalala never testified.

3 September 1997: Zikalala, clearly at the behest of factions within the ANC starts broadcasting blatantly false allegations which seek to implicate businessman Saki Macozoma in criminal dealings and without contacting Macozoma for his side of the story. Macozoma takes the matter to the BCCSA which finds in his favour and orders the SABC to broadcast an apology and correction. In his book, Media Ethics – An introduction to responsible journalism (Oxford University Press 2002), author Johan Retief uses this as a case study and finds that Zikalala’s reporting was “blatantly unfair because it lacked balance on just about every count.”

October 1997: Zikalala, interviewed by Angella Johnson in the Mail & Guardian says: “I used to hate everything to do with white people – especially the police and the army. It’s not easy to shake that passion, but I’m trying to keep a spirit of reconciliation.”

May 1998: Zwelake Sisulu promotes Zikalala from a labour reporter with TV news to deputy head radio news

3 June 1998: The SABC announces that its new group chief executive, Rev Hawu Mbatha, would take over from Zwelakhe Sisulu at the end of the month. Mbatha, a former presenter of religious programmes on Radio Zulu and former SABC's regional manager in Kwa-Zulu Natal, was then chief executive of the SABC's radio division.  A report in the Mail & Guardian on 5 May said that his appointment had stunned many as Mbatha had trounced favourites who had applied, like SABC programme director Mandla Langa, Sisulu's deputy Govin Reddy and well known academic Professor Njabulo Ndebele. Mbatha was scheduled to commence duty on July 01.

August 1998: Special Assignment broadcast for the first time by Max du Preez, Jacques Pauw and Anneliese Burgess


15 April 1999: Max du Preez fired from Special Assignment. Later, at a “victory braai” Zikalala and Phil Molefe allegedly told those present that it was “symbolically important” to purge the SABC of whites like Du Preez. This is covered in depth in a subsequent book by Du Preez, Pale Native:  Memories of a Renegade reporter

July 1999: FXI accuses SABC of biased news coverage

August 1999: Sarah Crowe accuses Zikalala of biased news coverage

2 September 1999: The South African Telecommunications Authority (SATRA) issues a press release accusing Zikalala of blatantly false reporting. Zikalala, clearly at the behest of the ANC, has been broadcasting allegations that Nape Maepe, chairman of SATRA, was guilty of corruption. The ANC wanted to reward Saudi interests who had donated $60m to it to help it prepare financially for the 1994 election by giving the Saudi-backed Cell C consortium the lucrative third cellular phone licence.  Maepe, a communications engineer with decades of experience and a reputation for impeccable integrity who questioned various dubious aspects of the Cell C bid. The BCCSA finds against Zikalala but Maepe is driven out of SATRA and Cell C gets the licence.

21 September 1999: The Democratic Party accuses Zikalala of bias in TV news coverage. “The last straw for the DP was a lengthy insert in the 8pm bulletin on SABC3 on Sunday, September 19, 1999 reviewing the ANC's performance since June in the first 100 days of the new Government.” Zikalala responds by saying that the SABC “would never become the voice of government”.

15 October 1999: Krisjan Lemmer, the satirical columnist at the Mail & Guardian alleges that Zikalala has set up a rival travel agency within SABC and is attacking the existing agency in the hopes of closing it down and diverting the SABC’s travel business to his own agency.

One has to admire Snuki Zikalala, the energetic captain of the SABC's news team. First he remains a full-time reporter after his meteoric promotion to the top of the public broadcaster's news management. Now it emerges the former labour correspondent has quietly started up his own travel agency.

Could this explain the passionate attack Zikalala launched against the SABC's own in-house travel agent, Indo Jet, in the SABC's internal newsletter?

 ‘Treat us with respect’, declared the headline in the November 1998 issue of SABC Intercom. In a froth about Indo Jet's allegedly hostile treatment of black managers at the SABC, Zikalala (PhD, Bulgaria) concluded: "We are in the business of news and not accommodation and travelling. Indo Jet's responsibility is to make sure we are not inconvenienced at all.’

It must have slipped the busy executive's mind that earlier last year he and SABC cameraman Stephen Mailes formed their own agency, Travel Byte. Shortly after Zikalala's cri de coeur in Intercom, Travel Byte recruited the manager of Indo Jet at the SABC.

Lemmer hears she was asked to resign from her position after it emerged she had been asking Indo Jet clients whether they would follow her if she left the company.

Zikalala's preoccupation with convenient travel arrangements could explain a recent circular to all news staff instructing them to vet all travel arrangements with him.

Lemmer understands The Indo Jet was recently informed it would have to quit its SABC offices as the commercialisation of the SABC would entail tendering for new travel companies. Dorsbult Ox Wagon Trek Agency is not believed to be in the running.

The state broadcaster, now fully under ANC control, predictably does nothing and a decade later, is bankrupt and requiring a R1.4 billion bailout – all this on the watch of Snuki Zikalala

November 1999: The SABC task team appointed to investigate firing of Max du Preez announces that it can find “no evidence to support allegations of unfair labour practices and infringement of editorial independence by its management.”


22 January 2000: In a City Press article, “Matlare didn't fit tough suits at SABC” by Makhudu Sefara, the following sentence: “Controversial board member Thami Mazwai, famous for his claims that news objectivity is a farce, complained that too many whites occupied critical positions at the SABC.” testifies to the strong anti-white racism permeating the SABC

28 March 2000: After five years as SABC chief executive of news, Enoch Sithole resigns.

He was described as the "axeman" of the SABC, having being instrumental in getting rid of Max du Preez (journalist), Sarah Crowe (former head of TV current affairs), Jill Chisholm, Joe Thloloe (former editor-in-chief of TV news), Ivan Fynn (former head of TV news), Allister Sparks (another former editor-in-chief of TV news), Barney Mthomboti (former editor in chief of radio news), Govan Reddy, Ami Nanackchand and Ida Jooste. All victims at the SABC in Sithole's march to the top.

Sithole claimed on his CV (and the SABC's web site) that he had a BA degree from the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. The claim was repeated in the millennium edition of Who's Who in South Africa. But his lawyer admitted that he does not. The university itself said "We cannot find his name anywhere. It would appear that he never attended our university."

What's more, his claim to South African citizenship was then investigated by the Department of Home Affairs. The former director-general of Home Affairs, Albert Mokoena, quit in September 1999 after he was found guilty of misconduct and corruption when it was discovered that documents went missing. Sithole's file did not contain any birth certificate or any registration of birth. There were no supporting documents from his parents to vouch for his birth in South Africa. Yet, between 1988 and 1999 Sithole was issued five SA passports.

Sam Sithole, a teacher at the Sithokotile High School in Matsulu, near Nelspruit which Enoch Sithole attended, said: "It was common knowledge that Enoch was a Mozambican".

Juliet Miyabo, a former fiancée who brought Sithole into the SABC and then became involved in a paternity suit with him over a six-month-old baby, denied she had reported him to Home Affairs because he had jilted her.

The SABC suspended Sithole and ordered him to return his access card, a cellphone and other company equipment."

7 April 2000: Embattled former SABC news chief Enoch Sithole, who apparently lied about his academic qualifications, is only one of a handful of senior executives who have not supplied the corporation with their certificates.

7 April 2000: According to Ivor Powell and Jubie Matlou, writing in the 7 April 2000 issue of the Mail & Guardian:

‘Gemini slams the corporation’s group executive for a shortage of skills and lack of leadership and declares outright that the current executive lacks the capacity to implement restructuring strategies. The report is equally damning of the SABC’s recruiting practices which it criticises for operating on principles of patronage and nepotism rather than excellence.’

12 May 2000: The SABC's chief executive, the Reverend Hawu Mbatha, was axed this week as a major restructuring of the troubled corporation's top management kicked into action.

“Senior sources in the public broadcaster said that a letter amounting to a dismissal was sent this week to Mbatha under the signature of SABC board chair Dr Vincent Maphai.” Ivor Powell in the Mail & Guardian

22 May 2000: The SABC announces that Mbatha had been relieved of his duties, “with immediate effect” - 18 months before his contract was due to expire. The SABC said Cecilia Khuzwayo, the senior general manager of human resources, had been appointed as acting group chief executive

22 May 2000: The SABC confirms the resignations of executives Molefe Mokgatle and Thaninga Shope, who were found guilty by an internal disciplinary hearing for failing to comply with the corporation's financial control procedures.

Mokgatle and Shope are accused of depleting by some R348-million the SABC's commissioning budget by over-invoicing programme distributors and flouting the broadcaster's commissioning procedures.

The auditing firm KPMG recommended to the SABC that the two be disciplined but no action is ever taken and no attempt is ever made to recover the money.  Shope was, thereafter, deployed by the ANC to NEPAD and then the Department of Foreign Affairs becoming successively, South Africa’s ambassador to Gabon and, recently, Venezuela. Mokgatle went into the private sector.

14 June 2000: The SABC, with Zikalala as head of news and in contravention of its own ethical code, broadcasts appallingly insensitive and shocking visuals of the murdered bodies of the brutally murdered Cape Town business woman, Brenda Fairhead and her young daughter Kia, lying on a mortuary slab and showing the full and horrifying extent of their injuries. In response to public outrage, former MK cadre Snuki Zikalala says that: “Television is a visual medium.” The Fairhead family issue a statement saying that this was: "sick, very cruel and unfair" and a “gross invasion of privacy”. 

13 August 2000: City Press reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been appointed to a position that does not exist in Bloemfontein news office even though he does not have a matric pass. It says that an investigation by the Bloemfontein HR department was halted by a senior Auckland Park executive – SABC staff believe that that person was Zikalala.

We were told he (Motsoeneng) does not have a Std 10 certificate, which is a minimum requirement for entry at the SABC News Division.

We can further reveal that Motsoeneng was actually appointed to a post that never existed before at the SABC Bloemfontein office, that of Specialist Producer.

This is the appointment Zikalala announced at a formal meeting in Bloemfontein on Friday, June 2.

The appointment took place despite opposition from the human resources department.”

City Press further revealed that an investigation into Motsoeneng’s qualifications by the SABC’s HR department and another enquiry into his unauthorised use of an SABC vehicle for no less than three months were mysteriously stopped with reasons being given.

City Press reported that these probes were ‘dropped under questionable circumstances.’

September 2000: In the monthly SABC house magazine, Intekom, the producer of 50/50, Danie van der Walt, writes: Is this the same Zikalala who in the name of transformation walked into a Morning Live studio saying that he is still seeing too many white faces.”

Zikalala never denies the accusation. Many white SABC staffers will testify to being the victims of his routine and naked racism and his attempts to intimidate white staff by opening meetings by saying, “I am proud to have been a MK cadre” and “From my Marxist viewpoint.” Such behaviour was without precedent in the SABC prior to his arrival.

3 October 2000: The head of the SABC board, Dr Vincent Maphai, addresses the national assembly’s portfolio committee on communications. During his address he says the SABC’s public image was “in tatters” and that it had become a “public circus”. (Cape Times 3/10/00).


January 2001: Western Cape Premier, Gerald Morkel, writes to SABC CEO Peter Matlare to complain about biased coverage of local Regional Editor, Jeffrey Twala and about the embarrassment Twala had caused him in what he described in the letter as a breach of contract. Twala had asked Morkel to host delegates to an international broadcasting conference which was being organised and hosted by the SABC. Morkel had obtained the use of a local hotel which also agreed to pay all costs for a formal banquet in return for TV coverage for the event which Twala guaranteed but then reneged on his promise. Morkel asks Matlare if they could meet when Matlare was next in Cape Town. Matlare does not even acknowledge receipt of the letter, let alone respond to it.

19 March 2001: Zikalala visits Sea Point office in response to confidential report handed by Bemawu to Peter Matlare about the personal and professional abuses by Jeffrey Twala of staff. In an extraordinary act of betrayal, the report is given to Zikalala who, in turn, immediately gives it to Twala. The report includes reports from doctors and psychologists that testify to unprecedented levels of stress among staff, largely as a result of Twala deliberately exposing them to life-threatening situations for personal and political gain. They include a case of a cameraman who came close to throwing himself off Chapman’s Peak. Zikalala declares all of this to be “Normal, acceptable and not a crisis” and encourages Twala to continue with his persecution of staff with the words: “It’s business as usual in the Cape Town news office.” A witch hunt ensues that sees staff leaving the Sea Point office in unprecedented numbers.

5 June 2001: Jeffrey Twala verbally abuses the PRO of Red Cross Childrens Hospital, Diana Ross, in front of a large group of people including MECs who were there because the six-month-old conjoined twins Zinzi and Zanela Koma had been successfully separated. A BBC television team that does specialised coverage of complex operations for the benefit of other hospitals and surgeons throughout the world had given a small gratuity to Red Cross in thanks for their assistance in this coverage. Twala, seemingly incapable of comprehending what was involved, assumed this was a “bribe” and brought the SABC into disrepute with his appalling behaviour. Later, Ms Ross referred the BBC team to the SABC in Sea Point when they asked where they could access archive footage of the hospital. Twala phoned Ms Ross, who was at home, and demanded that she meet him. He then, bizarrely, threatened to lay charges against her for “copyright transgressions”. Nothing ever came of these threats but Ms Ross was traumatised by the experience which damaged the long-established, harmonious and mutually beneficial relation which had existed prior to Twala being appointed as Western Cape Regional Editor of the news office in Sea Point.

23 July 2001: SABC Pretoria bureau chief Kgomotso Sebetso, a married father of two children, is dismissed after a disciplinary hearing found him guilty of persistently making unwanted sexual advances to a junior staffer. The disciplinary hearing found that Sebetso downloaded pornographic material from a company computer which he then emailed to Matau Mothoa, a newsreader and journalist.

31 July 2001: Zikalala writes an article in Business Day, “Making Patriotism a Virtue” in which he makes racist generalisations about whites in general and white journalists in particular:

“In SA, to be an objective black journalist you must be anti-government and hate the presidency. The white liberal media will defend and shower with praise any black journalist who passionately hates government. That is called freedom of expression. The majority of South Africans, especially blacks, are proud of their country. They are defending and promoting their country positively and will ensure that no one tampers with their constitutional rights. My white colleagues should do the same.” 

He also calls for “a press corps that can work with government” and says that “Our newsrooms are full of young and talented cadres who still need to be nurtured.”

5 October 2001: The SABC confirms that it had hired, Thami Ntenteni the former aide to President Thabo Mbeki immediately after Ntenteni had been released from jail after serving three years of a five year sentence.

Only days after his release from prison on charges of culpable homicide and driving under the influence of liquor, Thami Ntenteni was appointed managing consultant for strategic initiatives at the SABC.

Ntenteni, a former spokesperson for President Thabo Mbeki, was sentenced to seven years in prison in the Randburg Magistrates Court on December 5, 1998. He effectively served five years of his prison term.

His sentence followed on a car accident in 1997 in which a woman died and three people were injured.

He was also found guilty on November 30, 1994 of driving under the influence of liquor.

Correctional Service Department spokesperson Russel Mamabolo on Friday confirmed that Ntenteni had been released from prison on September 3 this year.

On Friday the SABC confirmed that chief executive Peter Matlare had personally head-hunted Ntenteni for the job of management consultant on strategic initiatives for Channel Africa, the radio service that broadcasts to the rest of the continent. On the same day Matlare declared ‘talent will be best served at the SABC, the corporation said it would not have wasted time advertising Ntenteni’s position.

SABC’s acting corporate affairs head, Tango Lamani said: “When we heard this talent was on the market we had to move fast.”

According to the SABC’s employment policy, the corporation said, Matlare had the latitude to make strategic appointments to key positions. Ntenteni started his job effectively from mid-September, immediately after he served three years of a five-year sentence.

Former jailbird and ex-Mbeki aide Ntenteni lands top SABC job – City Press 7/10/2001

(Two and a half years later Ntenteni was accused by a 25-year-old woman, Yoliswa Matomela of Port Elizabeth of offering her employment in return for sex.

Ntenteni was one of several managers who were axed in February 2011:

A board member who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Sunday Independent that the SABC’s management structure had to be cut down to size because there were “too many managers” running the show

“There was a time when people were hired willy-nilly,” the board member said

Unions at the SABC welcomed the move to reduce the top structure of the organisation.

Communication Workers Union deputy secretary Thabo Mogalane said:

“The structure was bloated and full of unnecessary positions,” he said. - Sunday Independent

2 November 2001: “Mariniers van VSA oefen.” Die Burger.  Visit by USS Gunston Hall and its crew which holds joint manoeuvres with the SA Navy at Veldrif. ETV leads with the story, Western cape Regional Editor, Jeffrey Twala, apparently under instructions from Zikalala who, in turn, is taking instructions from the ANC, vetoes the story as the government does not want to be seen as co-operating with the US armed forces.

4 November 2001: City Press reports that the new management team of the news division, Barney Mthombothi and Matatha Tsedu have sidelined Snuki Zikalala and Phil Molefe.CEO Peter Matlare and COO Solly Mokoetle were not available for comment.

Tongues are wagging in the corridors of the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters following the re-arrangement of key personnel appointments.

Hardly a couple of weeks following the unprecedented nudging to the sidelines of erstwhile head-of-news Phil Molefe and his deputy Snuki Zikalala, several of their subordinates feel they are being made redundant in the process.

Auckland Park insiders lament that the incoming news management team of Barney Mthombothi and Mathatha Tsedu has gone on a recruitment drive, bringing in former e.TV journalists Donald Chauke and Guy Oliver, who are said to be getting most of the high-profile assignments, as opposed to long-serving SABC hacks such as Miranda Strydom and Makhosini Nkosi.

Oliver recently returned from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad where he covered America's ``War on Terror'' for SABC TV news, while Chauke was the SABC's man at Johannesburg International Airport in the midst of the confusion shortly after the plane attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center's twin-towers of New York.

At the SABC's Weavind Park offices in Pretoria, many staffers are still baffled at the sudden re-instatement of senior journalist Kgomotso Sebetso, who was facing allegations of sexual harrassment.

30 November 2001: Zikalala appointed spokesman by the Joe Modise family after Modise dies

23 December 2001: City Press reveals that the SABC board is seeking to redeploy or pay out the head of the news department Barney Mothombothi because he was not doing enough to promote the ANC.

This comes as City Press learned that the board recently reprimanded senior news management on their lack of coverage of important political events in the country.

The scolding of the public broadcaster by the board appeared to be in line with concerns recently expressed by government that the corporation was failing in its duty to cover important political events.

City Press also revealed that Mthombothi had sent letters to Snuki Zikalala, Phil Molefe and Themba Mthembu asking for a meeting but that the three had refused saying they were on holiday and should not be bothered


10 February 2002: Sam Sole reports in Sunday Tribune that Gugu Kunene, a woman radio reporter with the SABC in Durban has been working virtually full time for her own PR company, Zebra Synergies, and has a million rand tender with KZN transport MEC, S’bu Ndebele.

Kunene, who is employed at the SABC current affairs team in Durban is a member of Zebra Synergies Services, a marketing and public relations firm which has recently signed a twelve month contract with the Kwa Zulu Natal Taxi Council (Kwanataco).

There is only one other member of the close corporation, according to company registration records.

Sources say the contract was worth about R1million, a figure which was not disputed by Kwanataco general manager, Bafana Mhlongo.

Zebra Synergies handled the launch this week of the corporate logo for Kwanataco at a major taxi industry gathering at the International Convention.

Kunene was in attendance and obviously in charge of the organisation of the event.

A source at the SABC said she had been allowed by a ‘senior news manager’ to work on the early morning current affairs shift ‘apparently so that she could be free early to go and run her business’.

One staffer said there was a political conflict of interest because of the involvement of the ANC Natal chairman and Transport MEC, S’bu Ndebele, in the restructuring of the taxi industry: ‘There has always been pressure to do this minister’s stories. We always wondered why, but this time we have realised why.’

(The ‘senior news manager’ cited in Sam Sole’s Sunday Tribune article is believed by staff to be Snuki Zikalala. Ndebele, who was arrested for fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption in 2015 telephoned Zikalala after an SABC reporter in Durban, Mandla Zembe, correctly reported that Ndebele had been chased out of a Durban stadium on 16 December 2005. Surrounded by gun-toting goons Ndebele stormed into the SABC news office and tried to intimidate Zembe into dropping the story. When Zembe refused to be cowed, Ndebele phoned Zikalala and demanded that Zembe be fired.)

May 2002: Zikalala leaves the SABC with a R2m golden handshake to join the Department of Labour as its chief communications officer

13 May 2002: Western Cape SABC Regional Editor, Jeffrey Twala, refuses a request by Sea Point news staff to cover the controversy over Premier Peter Marais’ attack on gays because it will be damaging to the NNP/ANC alliance.  Instead a team is sent to cover a harbour masters conference – the Marais story is never carried on TV news bulletins

14 May 2002: Tuesday: The Marais anti-gay story continues to dominate headlines: “ANC set to confront Marais over gays – Lobby groups pile the pressure on the premier” - SAPA – Twala again refuses his TV news staff permission to cover this story

15 May 2002: Wednesday: Marais’ intemperate attack on gays continues to dominate headlines:  “ANC accuses Marais of ‘gutter politics’ over gay outburst – Homosexuals ‘part of rainbow nation’ Cape Times and SAPA – Twala again refuses to let his reporters cover the  story – any story which does not reflect favourably on the ANC at local, regional and national level is banned by Twala. This includes all the scams which resulted when the ANC, with the help of Marthinus van Schalkwyk, took control of the Western Cape and, in particular, the Cape Town municipality. On the watch of mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo and City Manager, Wallace Mgoqui, more than a billion rand was leeched out of municipal coffers through scams like Big Bay 1&2, Cell C, Jewellery City and N2 Gateway and the outburst against coloured’s Mfeketo’s spokesman and alleged lover, Blackman Ngoro was also not covered in a story which raged for nearly three months (except for a single press conference where Mfketo revealed that she was suspending Ngoro and she instructed the SABC to be present.) Yet not a single one of these stories was ever broadcast on the SABC because Twala forbade his staff from covering any story which did not reflect well on the ANC. News department heads like Zikalala, Pippa Green (radio) and Jimi Matthews (TV) were fully aware of what was going on because SAPA in Cape Town was covering these stories and those stories were going straight into the SABC computer system and because these scandals were being reported in Johannesburg newspapers like the Star. Nothing was done because this is the way in which the ANC had decreed it should be.

1 June 2002: The Hansie Cronje plane crash in George. The plane crashes early in the morning. This is Jimi Matthews’ first day on duty as the SABC’s newly appointed head of television news. George falls within the jurisdiction and news coverage area of Jeffrey Twala, the SABC’s Regional Editor in the Western Cape. Twala is utterly unable to organise a team to cover the event and, finally, with time running out, Matthews orders the SABC’s Port Elizabeth news office to spare no expense and to hire a helicopter and fly to the scene which happens. By noon with international news organisations running reports and obituaries at length with visual material, the only report that has been filed by Twala’s office is a three sentence radio report which was, in fact, not filed by the staff on duty but  telephonically dictated by an off-duty  senior reporter – one of those who Twala routinely dismissed as “leelywhites standing in the way of transformation”. This is how it was given to the bulletin reader: 13:30 “A medium size airplane (sic) has crashed near George in the Southern Cape. A spokesperson for the Airport Company, Charles Norvel, says the wreckage of the plane has been found on (sic) the mountains north of the town. Norvel says the plane was from (sic) Bloemfontein to George.”

No disciplinary action is ever taken by Matthews as a result of this gross ineptitude because he is aware of Twala’s strong connections within the ANC.

20 June 2002: The SABC announces the launch of “Tip-offs Anonymous” in its house magazine, Intekom“To mark Fraud Prevention Week, the SABC is proud to announce the launch of an all-out campaign to combat fraud and dishonesty”.  It involved a hotline system set up by Deloitte & Touche. “Moreover, in using this system as the basis of for combatting fraud and corruption, the SABC is complying with new legislation. The Protected Disclosures Act affords employees new rights for exposing wrongdoings in a company, as well as any legal protection they may need. By providing our staff with this anonymous reporting channel, the SABC is therefore making it easy for them to exercise their rights in this regard.”

It was a shockingly cynical scam.

When staff reported corruption they found themselves subjected to witch hunts and both management and successive boards simply ignored repeatedly proffered evidence by unions such as BEMAWU of corruption and allowed the looting to continue.

When the Dali Mpofu-era board of Eddie Funde and Christine Qunta et al were instructed in parliament on 30 April 2008 by Suzanne Vos (IFP) and Dr Pieter Mulder (FFP) to investigate the abuses of Jeffrey Twala in the SABC’s Sea Point office and to hand over a Deloitte & Touche forensic audit which recommended his dismissal, they simply ignored both instructions.

When concerns were raised with Mpofu about the abuses and looting by two of the people then working at the SABC, Matilda Gaboo and Mafika Sihlali he did nothing except halting the internal forensic audit into Gaboo and using taxpayers’ money in going to court to try and recover from the Sunday Times a leaked report which was already in the public domain.

When internal auditors started uncovering evidence if Sihlali’s corruption, he threatened them (they were women) with physical violence and one, Elsje Oosthuizen, had her house fire-bombed. So concerned was the SABC to the threats against Oosthuizen that she was given four bodyguards. All subsequently resigned from the SABC as a result of this intimidation.

Despite this, board member Christine Qunta described the allegations against Sihlali as “so much fluff”.

Qunta, angrily refused to accede to demands for suspension of Sihlali at a hearing in Parliament concerning the SABC in August 2007. When asked in parliament why the board had not suspended Sihlali, Qunta said that the board was going to take action against the person who had leaked the internal audit report alleging Sihlali's involvement in fraudulent practices. The SABC itself reported the matter in its online news service under the heading: "SABC to take action against audit report snitch". Referring to the action of the whistleblower (or "snitch"), Qunta told reporters: "The intention, it seems to me, was really a malicious intent… because there was so much fluff…” Her fury was directed to the revelation of the alleged abuse, not to the substance of the allegation.

Qunta seems not to have commented when Sihlali was arrested and released on bail in February 2012 after an investigation by the Hawks who seem not to have agreed with her contention that the allegations against him were, “so much fluff”.

The fact that the SABC was looted of more than a billion rand in the Mpofu, Funde, Qunta era and that the looting started again under the Ben Ngubane board with more than a million rand being diverted into the ICT Indaba scam in 2012 to finance Minister Dina Pule’s overseas trips with her alleged lover and her purchase of hugely expensive red-soled shoes reveals to what extent the SABC’s “Tip-Offs Anonymous” scam was simply an early-warning system to help evade detection. In the end former SABC staff members took their concerns to the Public Protector but the intimidation – which never occurred prior to 1994 – and in January 2017 SABC reporter was shot in the face with a pellet gun after she and other reporters had had their homes broken into and the brakes on their cars tampered with.

4 July 2002: SABC News Chief Executive, Barney Mthombothi, resigns after complaints from the SABC board about a Special Assignment programme about corruption at the Grootvlei Prison

16 July 2002: Lindiwe Sisulu and Charles Naqula visit Auckland Park to thank Mathata Tsedu in particular for the SABC’s favourable pro-ZANU PF coverage of the Zimbabwe elections – Krisjan Lemmer reports this in the Mail & Guardian of 30/8/2002

November 2002: The Mail & Guardian breaks the story that the Scorpions are investigating Jacob Zuma’s involvement in the Arms Deal scandal. The SABC suppresses the story for two weeks. Pat Rogers goes to the BCCSA which finds that it can only act on reports that have been broadcast and not on the SABC’s censorship by omission. Thereafter the SABC routinely suppresses breaking stories on the Arms Deal scandal and its investigative programme, Special Assignment never covers the story.


17 February 2003: Pat Rogers goes to the BCCSA about the fact that the SABC suppressed for two weeks, the news that the Scorpions were investigating Jacob Zuma for Arms Deal corruption

2 September 2003: Business Day breaks the story that CEO Peter Matlare, an ANC acolyte of note, has attempted to suppress discussion on radio talk show programmes of the police investigation into Jacob Zuma’s involvement in the Arms Deal scandal. He does so through an instruction to radio programme managers in what became known as the “Judi Nwokedi memo”  The memo instructs that any coverage of this story must first be vetted by the head of radio news, Pippa Green and the head of television news, Jimi Matthews and that the story must be confined to news bulletins. There is no indication that either Green or Matthews ever opposed this instruction

5 September 2003: The SABC, knowing that the running story of Jacob Zuma will be hotly debated in parliament pulls the plug on parliamentary broadcasts on Ukhozi FM, the country’s most listened-to radio station (6.7Million listeners)  to centralize editorial control of political content under the heads of radio (Pippa Green)  and television news (Jimi Matthews) respectively. The move sparked widespread condemnation from the public and some politicians. In a report in the Citizen, Inkatha Freedom Party MP Blessed Gwala argued he was concerned that the withdrawal of the programme would impact negatively on the right of the people to know what government was doing. This along with the infamous “Judi Nwokedi memo” which sought to forbid any discussion of the Zuma/Arms Deal corruption story on all radio talk show stations was part of the ANC’s attempt to deny the 30 million South Africans who rely on the SABC as their main source of news all and any information of the major news story of the day. There is no indication that either Green or Matthews opposed this censorship.

9 September 2003: President Thabo Mbeki appoints Eddie Funde as the new chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board and Christine Qunta as the new vice-chairperson. They replace outgoing chairperson and vice-chairperson Vincent Maphai and Barbara Masekela respectively.

The other members of the board are journalist Thami Mazwai, Noluthando Gosa, human rights lawyer Ashwyn Trikamjee, sitting member Derrick Swartz, Fadielah Lagardien, Cecil Msomi, Khanyi Mkhonza (who is chairperson of the Media Development and Diversity Agency), Allison Gillwald, Andile Mbeki (apparently not directly related to President Thabo Mbeki) and Andrew Maralack.

Funde is a former South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority councillor.

16 November 2003: Democratic Alliance shadow minister of communication, Dene Smuts, expresses concern that not a single Afrikaans person is on the new SABC board. Dr Fritz Kok who, she said, had always promoted the interests of the Afrikaans community had lost his seat on the board. This was also condemned by the Afrikaans cultural group, TABEMA.


22 February 2004: City Press reveals that SABC board members want to bring back Snuki Zikalala

26 March 2004: Anton Harber writes on the Wits Journalism website of Zikalala’s return: “It means SABC news will move from its current position of relative independence to something much closer to the ruling party. Zikalala is not a journalist one links to words like "independent" or "critical". It is not just that he is an ardent ANC supporter for there is nothing wrong with that per se but he is close to that faction of the ANC that wants to see the SABC less critical and more sympathetic to the ruling party.”

16 April 2004: Snuki Zikalala appointed managing director of news and current affairs. The ANC waits until after the 2004 election to make the announcement because it knows that Zikalala’s appointment will be controversial

23 April 2004: Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya writes in the Mail & Guardian that Peter Matlare wanted to get Snuki Zikalala out of the SABC because Zikalala had better political connections than he did.

“Matlare wanted Snuki out because Snuki was more connected than he was in the [African National Congress]. Each time Matlare wanted to bounce something off with the political heavyweights, he found that Snuki had been there first and had given his version of events,” says a former SABC manager.

“By letting him go, Matlare was going to be the only boss. You may remember that Matlare advertised three jobs — head of TV, Radio and Africa — while Snuki was in charge of the bi-media project [merging television and radio reporting teams into one service called SABC News]. TV went to Jimi Mathews, radio to Pippa Green, Phil Molefe got the Channel Africa job and Snuki was kicked out.”

29 April 2004: Roy Padayachee appointed Deputy Minister in the Communications portfolio and, like so many others in the ANC, he immediately starts living the high life in the most expensive hotels in the country and hiring the most expensive cars available. This leads the Sunday Times to give him the nickname of Roy ‘Room Service’ Padayachie.

25 July 2004: Chris Barron writes of Zikalala in the Sunday Times: “To say that the SABC is not a happy place is putting it mildly. Fear and discontent stalk the newsroom at Auckland Park as former ANC political commissar Snuki Zikalala forces his underlings to toe the government line.”


7 January 2005: Richard Young successfully subpoenas the ANC government for access to arms deal documents. They show that the presidency alter the Auditor General’s report to remove damning evidence of ANC involvement in corruption. E-TV headlines the story, the SABC with Zikalala as its head of news, suppresses it.

20 January 2005: SAPA reports that CEO Peter Matlare has decided to leave the SABC.  “SABC chief executive quits ‘under strain.” - The Herald

31 January 2005: Having covered the opening ceremony of an international leprosy conference on 30 January, the SABC decided not to send a camera crew the next day. This happened to be when health minister, Manto Tshabala-Msimang was giving a speech. She phoned Zikalala and demanded television news coverage to which he was happy to accede. Tshabala-Msimang kept the conference delegates waiting for an hour and a half until the SABC crew arrived. The SABC denies this account.

10 February 2005: SABC TV News head Jimi Matthews is said to be facing a disciplinary hearing for insubordination, a charge allegedly brought by head of news Snuki Zikalala.

Matthews is in trouble for commissioning the talk programme The Round Table (SABC 3 on Thursday) without Zikalala's knowledge.

He is also charged with not appointing a replacement when he took leave recently.

An insider says the SABC board is unhappy with the talk programme. It is viewed as anti- government.

10 February 2005: SABC spokesman Paul Setsetse, denies there is any friction between Zikalala and Matthews. "We take strong exception to the lies perpetuated in the media about the relationship between the MD of news Snuki Zikalala and the head of TV news, Jimi Matthews”, he said.  Seven months later Setsetse resigns as a consequence of ETV revealing the extent of the Corporation’s lies about not broadcasting the footage it had of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka being booed off the stage at a Women’s Day rally in Utrecht, KZN. Two years later, Matthews resigns after Zikalala placed him, a news man, in the sports department.

1 March 2005: The Advertising Standards Authority dismisses a complaint from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that's "0% propaganda" advertisement implies that the SABC's own news broadcasting is not credible.

3 March 2005: Rhoda Kadalie writes in her Business Day column that the SABC censored by omission the story about Richard Young’s court order to obtain Arms Deal documents which reveal huge ANC corruption.

29 March 2005: BCCSA upholds a complaint by the Anti-Privatisation Forum which accuses the SABC of deliberately lying in a news insert which sought to convey that the Phiri community supported the government’s plans for the installation of pre-paid water meters when in fact the community was opposed to this.

26 April 2005: Cyril Ramaphosa testifies in the Cape Town High Court in the R2.5 billion land claim by the Richtersveld community against the state-owned Alexkor’s mining operations. Ramaphosa is feared by Mbeki who believes he has presidential aspirations. Zikalala’s appointed cadre in the Western Cape regional news office, Jeffrey Twala, forbids his reporters from covering Ramaphosa’s testimony.

16 May 2005: In a public debate organised by Jane Duncan of the Freedom of Expression Institute in Johannesburg the consensus of those present was that “… the South African Broadcasting Corporation was a state apparatus whose job it was to serve the government as a 'mouthpiece'.”

Mail & Guardian editor Ferial Haffajee said there was no need to debate whether the SABC was a state or a public broadcaster, instead deriding it as "a soap opera", citing the exodus of SABC bosses - Joe Thloloe, Peter Matlare and recently Judy Nwokedi - as an example of a never-ending story.

She cried foul at the so-called political appointments - a reference to individuals such as Miranda Strydom and Snuki Zikalala landing top jobs in the newsroom.

Members of the public accused the SABC of persistently punting the government, the president and the ruling party, no matter how petty or irrelevant the subject was.

Such action served as a red herring and diverted attention from issues that were of public interest, they said.

SABC strategic corporate services CE Ihron Rensburg conceded that the process of appointing the SABC board needed an overhaul.

29 May 2005: “The SABC’s group chief executive, Peter Matlare, resigned at the end of January 2005 and the hunt is on for finding a new CEO. All the politically correct people in South Africa are vying for the job.

“Eddie Funde, chairman of the SABC board, has sparked concern among some politicians by insisting that the final recommendation of the new chief executive rests with the Cabinet and the Communications Minister, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.

“Which leaves South Africans with the question: who controls the SABC?” Sunday Times editorial

16 June 2005: Zikalala orders that Durban reporter Mandla Zembe be disciplined for seeking to report the truth about KZN Premier S’bu Ndebele being chased from a rally in Kwa Mashu by irate supporters of Jacob Zuma who had been removed as Deputy President by Thabo Mbeki.

1 August 2005: Dali Mpofu appointed CEO. When asked what his favourite website is he is said to have replied: “”

9 August 2005: Members of the ANC Youth League, who were aggrieved because Jacob Zuma had been axed by President Thabo Mbeki, booed Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka off the stage at a Women’s Day rally in Utrecht, KZN. The SABC televised the rally but did not feature the booing. ETV did.

25 August 2005: the SABC lies saying the freelance cameraman, Sanjay Singh, had not filmed the booing of Mlambo-Ngcuka. This is shown to be a lie when broadcasts its own footage showing Singh filming the booing.

7 September 2005: The SABC is effectively cleared by two commissioners of bias and wrongdoing over the Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka “booing” incident—because it says that it  did not get the footage from the freelance cameraman. Cameraman Sanjay Singh says that this is a lie. The FXI questions the veracity of the finding.

9 September 2005: SABC spokesman Paul Setsetse resigns as a consequence of ETV revealing the extent of the Corporation’s lies about not broadcasting the footage it had of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka being booed off the stage at a Women’s Day rally in Utrecht, KZN.

10 December 2005: SABC board member Noluthando Gosa resigns after accusing her fellow board members of tolerating widespread corruption at the public broadcaster. She forwarded her letter of resignation to President Thabo Mbeki, Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri and the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, Mpetjane Lekgoro.

Gosa also forwarded a 13-page dossier to Auditor General Shauket Fakie, detailing the corporate governance failures that she felt needed to be investigated

Her efforts came to nothing as there was no response and the SABC was ultimately bankrupted and hundreds of people in the film industry were driven out of the profession because the SABC could not pay them for programmes already broadcast and did not commission new ones.

19 December 2005: Jacob Zuma writes to Dali Mpofu to complain about the last-minute cancellation by the SABC of a scheduled interview after Zuma was declared news maker of the year by the Pretoria Press Club – the letter is posted on the Friends of Jacob Zuma website.


15 January 2006: The DA, concerned that the SABC is not going to give it equitable coverage in the run-up to the 2006 elections hires an independent company to monitor the SABC’s television coverage of its events and those of the ANC: “From its campaign launch on 15 January through to its final election message on 28 February, the DA’s election campaign consisted of 34 events. The SABC television gave no coverage, on any of its news bulletins, to 16 out the 34 of these election events. SABC 1 did not cover 24 out of 34 DA election events, SABC 2 did not cover 19 out of 34 DA election events. SABC 3 did not cover 21 out of 34 DA election events. Key events not covered included the DA’s Western Cape election launch on 21 January, the DA’s alternative state of the nation event on 2 February and the DA’s public meeting in District Six on 8 February.

“In contrast, the SABC gave no coverage to 11 out of the ANC’s 34 events. However, whereas the DA’s election campaign lasted 44 days, the ANC’s only went on for 11. The ANC was covered every single day it campaigned, on every single station. Those events that were not covered were often ANCYL events and constituted the third or fourth ANC event held on a particular day. The other two or three events were covered. All of the ANC President’s events were carried, extensively, without exception.”

16 February 2006: News 24 reports that, in an echo of the SABC’s apartheid past, the Corporation has decided to remove the title track, “Msholozi” a song in praise of Zuma by Izingane Zoma, a traditional maskandi group, from the playlist of its Zulu-language Ukhozi FM radio. The song praised Zuma and called for him to be elected president in place of Mbeki and for this reason, the SABC, with Mbeki acolytes like Christine Qunta and Snuki Zikalala, having significant influence, effectively banned it

21 May 2006: City Press reveals that political interference from the ANC lay behind an SABC decision not to broadcast a commissioned documentary, Unauthorised: Thabo Mbeki by Ben Cashdan and Redi Direko:

City Press has learnt that the 24minute documentary that charts Mbeki's rise to power and his survival in the cut-throat ANC political environment at a time when he was pitted against Chris Hani and Cyril Ramaphosa, was withdrawn at the last minute due to political interference from the public broadcaster's management.

The withdrawal came after one of its producers had an informal meeting with a senior official from Mbeki's communications department. She was allegedly told it would be better to stop the screening because the Presidency was opposed to it.

City Press has been told that SABC management was worried about the timing of the documentary. It would have been shown barely two weeks after Jacob Zuma was acquitted of rape and amid thinly-veiled allegations that Mbeki was behind his woes.

10 June 2006: SABC gags independent film-makers Broad Daylight Films from even talking about the public broadcaster's canning of their unauthorised documentary on President Thabo Mbeki.

The documentary was advertised to be broadcast on SABC3 on May 17, but was cancelled at the 11th hour.

A carefully worded statement this week from the film's producers, Redi Direko and Ben Cashdan, said they had been "instructed by the SABC's lawyers not to discuss the Thabo Mbeki documentary any further and to hand over any copies in our possession".

June 2006: Zikalala and Mpofu launch a programme In the Public Interest to counter what it says are attacks on the SABC by the print media – an ironic echo of the apartheid-era SABC programme with the same intentions – Current Affairs

SABC launches show to blast print media

Insert taken from eMedia.

Under-fire public broadcaster SABC has launched a new current affairs programme In the Public Interest to take the media, especially print, to task over unfair and inaccurate reporting.

“Just like print criticises us, we will able to criticise them,” says Snuki Zikalala, head of news and current affairs at the SABC.

“It (the programme) focuses on the media as a whole which is important because of the role that it plays in society. Whatever the media writes, it needs to be fair and accurate because all the things they write, they say they are doing them in the public interest, yet they are not always telling the truth,” says Zikalala.

CEO Dali Mpofu denied that the launch of the show was an attempt at damage control following a credibility row over the SABC’s apparent blacklisting of certain commentators seen as critical of the government. The public broadcaster also recently canned an unauthorised documentary about President Thabo Mbeki.

“Having said that, there could not have been a better time to launch the show because the public broadcaster has been under a lot of scrutiny recently and it needs to have a programme like this one so that we can also scrutinise the media, especially print,” says Mpofu.

“We should let the public know that there are no holy cows in this industry,” he adds.

The show will air on SABC 3 for the first time on Sunday at 9.30am and will be anchored by news reader Lerato Mbele.

14 June 2006: The SABC releases a statement by CEO Dali Mpofu on why it refused to broadcast its commissioned Ben Cashdan /Redi Direko documentary, Unauthorised: Thabo Mbeki:

20 June 2006: The Sowetan breaks the blacklisting story – SABC responds with a press release denying the story

21 June 2006: John Perlman confirms in live radio discussion with Kaizer Kganyago, that Zikalala’s blacklist is a reality

27 June 2006: Business Day political reporter, Karima Brown, who previously worked for SABC radio news, recalls a phone call that she received from Christine Qunta where

Qunta expressed her “concern” over the ‘tone” of SAfm’s coverage of government as she felt it was pandering to the DA.  She writes: “The organizational culture and ethos at Auckland Park newsroom promote self-censorship. Under the guise of transformation, the SABC has been all but hi-jacked by a clique of selfserving government lackeys who believe they alone know what the public should see and hear. These individuals are not just in news management. They are on the SABC board, in the newsrooms and they even include senior journalists.”  

29 June 2006: Dali Mpofu appoints the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry into the blacklisting scandal and associated matters such as staff morale.

3 July 2006: Anton Harber criticises Dali Mpofu’s letter in which he attacks critics who expressed concern about the Snuki Zikalala blacklist

4 July 2006: The SABC'S new current affairs programme, In the Public Interest, is slammed as a propaganda tactic aimed at stifling criticism of the national broadcaster.

August 2006: Dali Mpofu appoints his Elephant Consortium crony, Mafika Sihlali, as legal and business advisory services head.

17 August 2006: A confidential audit report into problems at the SABC in Bloemfontein dated August 17, 2006, describes Hlaudi Motseoeneg – currently  (2012) the  chief operating officer and the SABC’s second most powerful executive -   as a bully, who has no regard for procedure or rules and a man who is more given to associating with power than with ordinary people.

The report said Motsoeneng was appointed executive producer of current affairs at Lesedi FM in June 2003 even though he “did not meet any of the required criteria” for the post.

“The qualification and experience required for this post (executive producer for current affairs) was a degree or diploma in journalism with eight years experience in the production of radio current affairs programmes, three years of which must have been in a managerial function.

“Mr Motsoeneng does not meet any of the required criteria,” the report says.

The report concludes that, “Management should consider instituting action against Motsoeneng for misrepresenting his qualifications on his 1995 application form submitted to the SABC.

“A group internal audit is of the opinion that Motsoeneng misrepresented his qualifications to the SABC, and despite numerous reminders he had failed to inform the SABC that he is not in possession of a matriculation certificate,” the report says.

The first reminder asking him to furnish the SABC with copies of his qualifications, according to the forensic report, was sent to Motsoeneng on March 27, 1996. The second on October 12, 1999 and the final one on May 4, 2000.

After the second reminder, Motsoeneng replied that “he acknowledges receipt of previous correspondence and that he is as yet not in possession of the said certificate”.

“The response from Motsoeneng is dated May 15, the year is not specified,” says the report.

Adds the report: Group internal audit received confirmation from the Department of Education that Motsoeneng has to date not yet passed his matriculation.

“In his first attempt Mr Motsoeneng failed the senior certificate examination as he did not pass the mandatory five subjects, and the aggregate obtained was below the aggregate required to pass.

“Mr Motsoeneng failed the senior certificate examination on the second attempt. . .”

It is unclear how he was shortlisted when it was clear that there was a problem with his qualifications, and he had been avoiding the issue.

“During 2003 Group Internal Audit issued a report after an investigation was conducted pertaining to the misrepresentation of qualifications by Motsoeneng. This issue was again raised by staff members during interviews in the region. It appears that Motsoeneng still hadn’t obtained or submitted proof of his qualifications.”

11 October 2006: Anton Harber reveals in Business Day that the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry into the blacklisting scandals has issued a damning report against Zikalala showing that he transgressed the SABC’s code of ethical reporting on eight separate occasions

October 2006: Evidence led before the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry into the blacklisting scandal reveals that Zikalala invited three presidency employees to preview an investigative insert in the SABC TV programme Special Assignment before broadcasting it and without telling the producer, Jacques Pauw. The commission said that the incident indicated that Zikalala was prepared to permit external interference.

13 October 2006: The Mail & Guardian releases the full text of the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry findings

13 October 2006: the SABC issues a media release giving Zikalala its full support

16 October 2006: SABC fails in its attempt to interdict the Mail & Guardian from publishing the findings of the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry

22 October 2006: Dali Mpofu writes an article in City Press saying that those opposed to Zikalala are right wing whites

31 October 2006: Wikileaks publishes an American embassy report on the Blacklisting scandal

November 2006: False allegations of sexual harassment are broadcast on SAFM against Vincent Maphai, chair of the University of KwaZulu-Natal council. Maphai, a previous SABC CEO was the man who oversaw Zikalala’s departure from the SABC in 2002. In an article in the Mail & Guardian on 29/7/2007, the former head of SABC radio news, Pippa Green, wrote: “Was it coincidence that Maphai, a past chair of the SABC board, was the man who got Zikalala out of his position in the newsroom in 2002?”

22 November 2006: Communications Minister, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, reveals in parliament, in response to a question by Ryan Coetzee of the DA,  that the SABC (read taxpayer) had paid R123 000 for a publicity article praising SABC CEO, Dali Mpofu in the June 2006 issue of Leadership magazine. The payment was authorised by Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande, group executive for public, international and regulatory affairs and wife of ANC cabinet minister, Blade Nzimande.


31 January 2007: Business Day publishes an article about the loss of staff at the SABC.

Heads are rolling at the SABC … the wrong ones

January 31st, 2007

SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu said in the middle of last year’s SABC “blacklist” saga that “heads would roll” if an independent inquiry found that there had been wrongdoing...What we didn’t expect, however, was that these heads would belong to those who came out best in the inquiry report. Those found in the report to have breached the SABC charter repeatedly...still have their heads firmly attached to their shoulders...

...The most striking thing is that no-one has criticised the report...on the blacklisting affair. Nobody has given any substantial reason to question the evidence...or...conclusions.

They said Perlman had behaved professionally. They said that SABC and its representatives had been dishonest by omission in their response...They confirmed that there were indeed a number of people blocked from the airwaves...They described serious management problems in the SABC newsroom...

Mpofu was energetic in his response...In other words, he did everything except pursue the findings and recommendations of the report. And he did it with drive and passion...

The person who emerges strongest from all of this is the head of news, Dr Snuki Zikalala. He has shown twice now that he is more powerful than the CEO...Zikalala’s critics are leaving the building.

One can only look upon this with an overwhelming sense of sadness. The notion of a national broadcaster as a home for the highest quality, independent, public service journalism is being denigrated...

(Read the full piece here)

* This column first appeared in Business Day, January 31, 2007

26 April 2007: Snuki Zikalala announces that the SABC is to open an office in Harare to enhance its coverage of events in the country. According to the broadcaster this will enable it to tell what it considers to be the 'true Zimbabwean story'.

SABC Managing Director Snuki Zikalala met Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu to discuss the establishment of the office. Zikalala was accompanied by Supa Mandiwanzira, the chief executive of Mighty Movies, which currently represents SABC in Zimbabwe.

“It is a very important story. It’s a story that is unfolding and there are a lot of good stories in Zimbabwe that need coverage,” said Zikalala. The setting up and operation of the office will occur in April 2008 in time to cover the Zimbabwean elections.

25 May 2007: The ANC pays Richard Young R15-million in tax-payers’ money in an out-of- court settlement to prevent further publicity of its role in the Arms Deal scandal. ETV headlines the story, the ANC-controlled SABC with Zikalala as head of news, suppresses it

May 2007: Tokyo Sexwale gives Sophie Mokoena Batho Bonke shares worth more than R3m.

23 May 2007: Telkom announces that its proposed television news programme will be headed by Jimi Matthews, who ran the SABC television news department from 2002 until 2005 when he was pushed sideways by Snuki Zikalala into the sports department. Telkom Media never got off the ground despite millions of rands being spent and eventually died a silent death. With nowhere else to go, Matthews returned to the SABC on 1 March 2011 where he eventually resigned in disgrace having been, for years, an ANC propagandist and someone who routinely threatened news personnel who would not compromise their ethical principles by promoting the Zuptas

8 June 2007: The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) expresses concern about the fact that the SABC has for the second time failed to honour its promises to broadcast a commissioned documentary on President Thabo Mbeki

Now you see it, now you don't, now you see it, now you don't: such is the farcical situation with the controversial documentary on President Thabo Mbeki, which the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) had scheduled for screening on Sunday.

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) is disturbed that, once again, the documentary has been withdrawn, and will not be screened on Sunday. Why it changed its mind once again when it had decided to screen it, is beyond understanding. This is yet another indication of chaos inside the broadcaster, where different units of the same organisation talk past one another, and then land up working against one another.

We do not buy the argument by SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, that the booking on the SABC's programming schedule was provisional. This shows an unacceptably cavalier approach towards its own schedule. As the FXI has noted recently, the SABC has withdrawn other controversial programmes at the eleventh hour: something that the Corporation appears to do all too easily, and without public accountability. The latest withdrawal of the Mbeki documentary confirms the impression that the public cannot trust the scheduling information the SABC puts out, and should treat its contents with a pinch of salt

22 June 2007: Business Day reveals that while the SABC had paid the local professional soccer league just R67-million for the entire season’s games, it had splurged R93-million for the rights to screen one low-profile Monday evening match in the in the English Premier Soccer League (most high profile matches with league-leading teams such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea are played at weekends). What was even more shocking was that the SABC had committed itself to this highly unfavourable deal for no less than three years.

The dispute over the sale of Premier Soccer League (PSL) broadcasting rights took another twist yesterday when it emerged that the SABC had bought rights to Monday night English Premier League matches for nearly US$40m over the next three years. The deal will see the SABC paying US$13m (R93m) a year for one low-profile English Premier League match a week over the next three years.

While SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago pleaded ignorance and said he was not aware of such a deal, English Premier League chairman Sir David Richards said from England that the public broadcaster had concluded the agreement earlier this year. "Yes, it is true. We have entered into an agreement with the SABC and they will have rights to one premiership match a week for US$10m a year for the next three years." The disclosure will come as a surprise to those who accused the PSL of greed after the league sold the rights to the domestic premiership to pay channel SuperSport International for R1.6bn over five years last week.

Even more shocking is the revelation that the SABC was prepared to pay R93m for a low-profile Monday night English premiership match -- Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool usually play on weekends -- when it had paid the PSL just R67m a year for the entire domestic premiership programme. Richards said he had played an advisory role in the prelude to the sale of the PSL broadcasting rights as he wanted local football to maximise its potential, just as English football did.

In the aftermath of the latest episode in the long-running saga Kganyago said that SABC CEO Dali Mpofu had requested an appointment with PSL chairman, Irvin Khoza to try resolve the broadcast rights impasse. "The CEO (Mpofu) wants to see if this cannot be resolved amicably between the two parties," he said. The SABC seems to have changed its attitude, as Mpofu was confrontational after the PSL awarded the rights to SuperSport last week.

In the meantime, free-to-air channel has taken advantage of the dispute and managed to secure the rights to televise local football live, with the purchase of the season-opening Telkom Charity Cup this week.

2 July 2007: The Cape Argus reveals that the SABC had terminated its longest-running, most successful and financially viable programme, the environmental slot, 50/50. Columnist and author Max du Preez contends that the programme had repeatedly shown up the ANC government’s environmental incompetence and corruption, particularly in connection with water shortage and pollution and the involvement of the mining sector – in which many politically connected ANC members had a stake – in such shortages and pollution.

The SABC has pulled the plug on in-house production of its award-winning environmental programme 50/50, the longest running local programme in SA's television history. Without warning, all six permanent 50/50 staff members were told last week they were being redeployed, and their union - the Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) - has declared a formal dispute.

Management has indicated the programme will continue after being outsourced to a commercial production company, but gave staff members no indication of when, how or to whom this was being done. The programme's budget - which is only for six months - runs out in September.

The move was not unexpected as management had previously tried to can the programme, which has been running for 23 years - one of the few survivors from pre-1994 SABC. But the outcry from the country's environmental community and conservation- loving viewers forced the SABC board to reverse the decision.

The SABC management last year again indicated that it wanted to outsource 50/50, which about a month ago was moved from its traditional Sunday evening slot to Monday evenings. Ironically, its AR (audience rating) rocketed.

Bemawu then got involved in a consultation process on behalf of the 50/50 staff members, but in November sent the SABC's labour relations division a 16-page document expressing concern about the process and asking for more information.

"We place on record, with concern, that it appears as if a decision has already been taken to outsource 50/50 prior to this so-called consultation process and that the SABC is merely trying to mechanically adhere to that procedure," the letter stated. It did not accept that it was in the best interests of 50/50 staff or the SABC to outsource such a "valuable asset". The union says it never had a written response to this letter, as required.

Instead, the six 50/50 staff members were called in to individual meetings with senior management last week and told they were being redeployed to other SABC units. When they queried this in terms of labour legislation and pointed out that they were entitled to union representation, they were allegedly told that because they would be doing similar work within the organisation and their conditions of service would remain the same, it was management's prerogative to redeploy them and it was not obliged to wait for union involvement.

Independent producers, some of whom earn their bread and butter by making films with an environmental theme for 50/50, are extremely concerned at the move, as it will fundamentally affect them.

17 July 2007: The Post reveals that the SABC plans to seek an urgent interdict preventing the public screening by the Mail & Guardian of its commissioned documentary, Unauthorised: Thabo Mbeki which the SABC had refused to broadcast.

The Mail & Guardian newspaper along with the Harold Wolpe Memorial Trust planned to screen it as part of their Critical Thinking Forum from July 19 to July 26 at venues across the country.

19 July 2007: Business Day reports that the SABC had withdrawn its application for an urgent interdict to prevent the Mail & Guardian from holding a private screening of a documentary on President Thabo Mbeki which the SABC had commissioned but then failed to broadcast.

The urgent interdict had been intended to halt the Mail & Guardian's Critical Thinking forum from screening the documentary, “Unauthorised: Thabo Mbeki and the African Country”, last night to 200 high-profile guests who had not been able to view the documentary because the public broadcaster has so far refused to flight it.

The broadcaster said last week it had decided to hold off on the hearing until August 22 and withdraw its "urgent" status. SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said this was due to "logistical reasons" and would apply only to this specific case. "We've agreed to send some SABC people to be a part of the (Mail & Guardian) discussions and we will discuss future screenings thereafter."

The Freedom of Expression Institute, which has criticised the SABC's delays in screening the film, said the move was unacceptable in terms of the SABC's role as public broadcaster. "In principle, they've maintained that Broad Daylight (the producers) was wrong to distribute the documentary. For what reason, I don't know, because they clearly aren't interested in screening it themselves," said the institute's Simon Delaney.

He said the SABC would be free to make its complaints heard at the hearing next month , "if it still wanted to" as "by then I'm sure the whole country would have seen the documentary".

Redi Direko, co- producer of the documentary, said she believed Broad Daylight owned the rights to the documentary as it had given the SABC notice in March that the contract with it had been cancelled. Kganyago said last week no such notification had been received.

21 July 2007: President Thabo Mbeki launches SABC News International at Monte Casino in Johannesburg

The channel aims at providing an African perspective on domestic and international stories.

SABC News International, a channel with a Pan-African focus and reach went on air for the first time at 6pm on June 7, 2007 as a soft launch to test the reception in the market. The launch included live feeds from SABC’s six international bureaus in Kenya, DRC, Washington, Brussels, New York, Senegal and Nigeria.

Initially, the channel will be broadcast via signal distributor Sentech’s Vivid Satellite Digital Decoder which currently broadcasts to Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Europe. In addition to news bulletins, the channel will feature current affairs and investigative programmes, including news magazine shows which will incorporate broader content like weather, sports, and economic news and studio interviews. The channel will also include French news bulletins which are currently streamed live on the SABC News website.

SABC News International will replace the SABC Africa overnight feed on SABC 2 and will initially broadcast weekdays only. As from April 2008 it will have a full 24-hour schedule.

The service lasts exactly two years and eight months closing down on 31 March 2010

29 July 2007: Pippa Green writes in the Mail & Guardian of how the SABC was used to attack Vincent Maphai

Last November, for example, SAfm’s afternoon current affairs show reported allegations of sexual harassment against Vincent Maphai, chair of the University of KwaZulu-Natal council, and vice-chancellor Malegapuru Makgoba. What it didn’t say was that the accuser was being investigated by the University for improperly awarding a degree. The next day the same show ran a longer report, which also failed to mention that the accuser was being investigated. Then the anchors interviewed a representative from People Opposing Women Abuse, who said false allegations of sexual harassment were “unlikely”, and it ran a phone-in poll about whether such harassment was on the increase.

Talk about loading the dice. Why not ask whether awarding false degrees was on the increase? Was it coincidence that Maphai, a past chair of the SABC board, was the man who got Zikalala out of his position in the newsroom in 2002? Or was it just lack of verification?

30 July 2007: Sunday World reports that the Communication Workers Union has taken Zikalala to the CCMA for appointing Flomi Skosana executive producer of IsiNdebele news without following procedure.

3 August 2007: The Mail & Guardian reveals corruption, abuse of power and intimidation by head of the SABC legal services, Mafika Sihlali.

22 August 2007: SABC board deputy chairperson Christine Qunta accuses the commercial media of racism and blames it for a concerted campaign to portray the SABC in a negative light.

28 August 2007: the Pretoria News reports that an SABC video tape with newspaper front-page footage claiming Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was a drunk and a thief has mysteriously vanished from the state broadcaster's archive.

1 September 2007: Dali Mpofu withdraws the SABC from the South African National Editors Form (Sanef) in protest over its stance on Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and the publication of her medical records in local newspapers.

4 September 2007: Zapiro lampoons the decision by Dali Mpofu to withdraw the SABC from Sanef

6 September 2007: Anton Harber criticises the decision by Dali Mpofu to withdraw the SABC from Sanef.

Harber, a professor of journalism at Johannesburg's Witwatersrand University, stated that Mpofu had used "the language of government, not of journalists”, and questioned why the SABC was defending the health minister. “It is not appropriate,” he said. Harber added that the letter seemed to showcase a close link with the government, and this was “weakening our democracy”.

7 September 2007: Stefaans Brümmer and Adriaan Basson of the Mail & Guardian say that commercial considerations may have prompted the decision by Daly Mpofu to take the SABC out of Sanef

10 September 2007: Constitutional law expert, Pierre de Vos criticises the decision by Dali Mpofu to take the SABC out of Sanef

11 September 2007: The SA National Editors Forum expresses concern at government suggestions it might cut advertising in the Sunday Times over the paper's use of confidential medical records of Manto Tshabalala Msimang

24 September 2007: Zikalala tells the Cape Argus that plans are well advanced to set up a network of global news offices manned by SABC new staff that would compete with long-established and reputable organisations like Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France Presse.

Snuki Zikalala, SABC managing director of news and current affairs, told the Cape Argus the public broadcaster was beefing up its foreign news bureaux and could open offices in Ethiopia, China, India and Russia in 2008.

The corporation had correspondents in Washington, New York, London, Brussels, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The out-going board of the SABC had approved the opening of bureaux in Jamaica, Brazil, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Kenya, Zikalala said.

These would be operational before the end of 2007.

"We want to give authentic, authoritative and quality news from our correspondents based in all corners of the world," Zikalala said.

Other initiatives that had been launched included a 24-hour news channel, which went live two months ago.

Zikalala said the public broadcaster was keen to establish a news agency that would sell text, audio and video footage from its worldwide bureaux and South African operations to other media organisations.

"We have so much content it therefore has become important for us to sell this footage. We can recoup some of the money we have invested in our operations if the news agency becomes successful," Zikalala said.

The SABC is also building a TV studio at the New York headquarters of the UN.

11 October 2007: The Congress of South African Trade Unions, Freedom of Expression Institute, Media Workers’ Association of South Africa, the National Council of Trade Unions, the South African Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the South African NGO Coalition and the Treatment Action Campaign write to President Thabo Mbeki saying that people that had been nominated for the SABC board did not fulfill the requirement of the Broadcasting Act.

The organisations also objected to the inclusion of six members of the old board, all of whom had failed to demonstrate they were “persons who are committed to fairness, freedom of expression, the right of the public to be informed, and openness and accountability”, as required by the Act.

“We are especially concerned about the prospect of Christine Qunta being appointed chairperson of the board.

 “In her existing capacity as deputy chairperson, she has presided over problems mentioned above, and has defended the board’s actions publicly, including in her individual capacity in her interview with the portfolio committee on communications,” the organisations said.

The organisations also cited allegations that a list has been imposed on the… committee by the African National Congress, “which—if it proves to be true—could amount to political manipulation of what was meant to be an open and transparent process”, the organisations said.—Sapa

24 October 2007: Business Day reveals that Snuki Zikalala has told a South African Human Rights Commission panel debate on freedom of expression vs the right to privacy that, on his watch, every news story broadcast by the SABC must “affect the country positively.”

Zikalala tells of ‘positive news’ policy at SABC

The journalistic mindset of South Africa’s public broadcaster SABC came into sharp focus last week when its Head of News spelled out its “no go” areas. SABC head of news Snuki Zikalala last week defended the public broadcaster's policy that "every story must affect the country positively" and that critical journalism did not mean negative journalism.

Zikalala told delegates to a South African Human Rights Commission debate that while the SABC was not made up of "sunshine journalists", neither its policy regarding its news coverage, nor its board would ever had allowed the broadcaster to run with a story such as the Sunday Times' story alleging Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was "a drunk and a thief" .

The commission hosted a panel discussion last week on freedom of expression versus privacy. High-profile media commentators grappled with the issue of whether the Sunday Times' story was in the public interest or whether it was a violation of privacy.

While neither the SABC's editorial policy nor its mandate makes any mention of it having to report "positively", Zikalala said it mentioned that the public broadcaster's role should reflect a "plurality of views and a variety of news". This has placed the broadcaster under close scrutiny from lobby groups and the mainstream media.

When asked how the public broadcaster decided whether a story was positive or negative, Zikalala said the broadcaster, which reaches about 24-million viewers daily, "debates each and every story and asks whether it falls within the constitutional framework". He said publishing a story such as that by the Sunday Times involving the health minister was "disrespectful".

Zikalala said there was a growing belief among South African journalists that "if you attack the president you will be very popular". He said that increasingly black journalists were becoming guilty of this. According to the SABC's own research, it had a 93% credibility rating, he said.

The comments came amid a flurry of opposing perspectives on the Sunday Times story and the complaint of theft laid by the Cape Town Medi-Clinic from which the minister's personal medical files were allegedly stolen. South African Medical Association chairman Dr Kgosi Letlape said that medical records should not be disclosed without consent and that medical ethics should never be sacrificed, even in the face of the law.

5 December 2007: The SACP attacks Snuki Zikalala and Sophie Mokoena over the fact that Mbeki was given a two-hour live radio show just before Polokwane.

The SACP is outraged and regards as extremely scandalous of the public broadcaster, the SABC, to give President Mbeki a two-hour live interview, linked to about 15 of the SABC’s radio stations, tonight. This is nothing but a blatant abuse of the resources of the public broadcaster to, essentially, support a faction in the ANC in the run up to the Polokwane Conference.

We have consistently pointed out over the last few years that the SABC news must operate as a true public broadcaster and not be drawn into internal political struggles in the ANC or any of its Alliance partners. This action by the SABC News practically takes it back to the darkest days of the apartheid regime and is allowing itself to be used as a propaganda mouthpiece of a faction in the ruling party. We have also consistently pointed out hat Dr Snuki Zikalala and Sophie Mokoena in particular, have been in the forefront of this dangerous destruction of the image of the public broadcaster, and its deviation from its public mandate.

It is also clear to us as the SACP that this interview would not have been possible without the involvement of government itself. This is part of a very disturbing pattern where the state, ministerial and public resources have been unleashed to basically support one of the two presidential candidates in the African National Congress. This also further underlines, and is deeply connected to, the blatant interferences by a section of the ANC leadership in the appointment of the new board of the SABC.

18 September 2007: the end of the Mbeki era at the SABC

16-20 December 2007: 52nd ANC conference at Polokwane – the beginning of the end of the Mbeki-elected, endorsed and supported Zikalala/ Funde/Qunta cabal. The conference resolves to "encourage" the SABC to "promote local content that is consistent with the outlook of the country's Constitution and the values of the ANC."

22 December 2007: President Thabo Mbeki announced the appointment of the 12-member Board on Saturday just before going on leave.

Old board member Khanyisile Mkhonza was named as chairwoman, succeeding Eddie Funde who was nominated and shortlisted but withdrew citing a heavy workload.

Mkhonza will be deputised by controversial lawyer Christina Qunta, a fierce Mbeki supporter and Aids dissident who held the same position on the old board. She had been widely tipped for the top job.

Also appointed to the new Board were: Independent Electoral Commission chief executive Pansy Tlakula, businesswoman Gloria Serobe, former presidential spokesman Bheki Khumalo and businessman Peter Vundla.

23 December 2007: The Young Communist League (YCL) objects to the Mbeki appointees: "The YCL view these new appointments as part of legitimising the interference by certain individuals within the (African National Congress) leadership echelons who had undermined the parliamentary democratic process."

Other members are: Ashwin Trikamjee, Alison Gillwald, Andile Mbeki, Fadila Lagadien, Nadia Bulbulia and Desmond Golding.

24 December 2007: the Sowetan reports that Zikalala, Sophie Mokoena, Dali Mpofu and Miranda Strydom were visibly upset and emotional when Zuma defeats Mbeki at Polokwane

SABC Timeline: Post-Polokwane conference:

December 2007

Mpofu denies media reports that he vowed to resign his post after the election of Zuma as the new president of the ANC.

Cosatu accuses Mpofu, SABC head of news Snuki Zikalala and political editor Sophie Mokoena as being central to the alleged favouritism towards Mbeki in the run-up to the Polokwane conference.

The names of the short-listed SABC board members are made public, causing a spat between the Zuma and Mbeki factions.


1 January 2008: Mbeki appoints the new board, led by Khanyisile Mkonza and Christine Qunta, amid protests by Cosatu and pro-Zuma supporters in the ANC.

20 January 2008: The FXI issues a statement expressing its concern about the failure by the SABC to broadcast the Bens Cashdan/Redi Direko documentary, Mbeki Unauthorised.

The FXI is deeply disturbed about recent reports regarding the SABC’s decision not to flight a documentary on South African President Thabo Mbeki scheduled for last week Wednesday. Apparently the documentary takes a critical look at the President’s governance style, including what many commentators have referred to as a growing centralisation of government. Several newspaper reports have quoted sources stating that the documentary was canned shortly before it was due to be screened after a member of SABC’s management had an infomal meeting with the Communications Department of the Presidency, where concern was expressed about the documentary’s contents.

The explanation given by the SABC for canning the Mbeki film raises more questions than answers. It also confirms the broadcaster’s growing tendency, of late, to refuse to explain controversial editorial decisions on the basis that these decisions are its own business. No-one expects the SABC to engage in mass consultation before making controversial judgement calls, but there needs to be more transparency in how these judgement calls are made. Ultimately, the SABC itself is responsible for ensuring that commissioned programmes jump the hoops of internal approval before being flighted and viewers should not be made to pay for something that was within the SABC’s control. The documentary was also advertised during the course of the week before the day that it was to be flighted. This action indicates the SABC’s growing disrespect towards the public it is supposed to be servicing. So much for the talk of the SABC shifting from being a public broadcaster that is inward-oriented and self-assessing to a broadcaster that is citizen-focused. This shift is explained in the SABC’s new strategic outlook document recently unveiled by the CEO Adv. Dali Mpofu.

30 January 2008: John Perlman quits SABC.

3 February 2008: The Sunday Independent reports that SABC CEO Dali Mpofu has been summoned to Luthuli House.

ANC leaders were reportedly unhappy with the national broadcaster for becoming embroiled in the succession debate between Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, his successor as ANC president, and taking a side which manifested itself in its reporting.

"It was never the intention of the ANC to make the national broadcaster resemble the SABC under apartheid," the source said. "Individuals within the organisation took it upon themselves to act for the political masters."

The ANC source confirmed that Mpofu was summoned to Luthuli House last month and told in no uncertain terms by the leadership, including Kgalema Motlanthe, the ANC deputy president, that the party was concerned about the organisation's taking sides in the battle between Mbeki and Zuma. The party was embarrassed by the broadcaster's bias (towards one candidate, Mbeki) and the lack of credibility of news and current affairs programmes.

3 February 2008: City Press reports that the SABC stands to lose millions as a result of losing an arbitration case relating to soccer broadcasting rights

City Press 3/2/08

SABC might lose millions

S’Busiso Mseleku

THE SABC stands to lose millions as a result of losing the arbitration case against the Premier Soccer League over soccer television broadcast rights.

The public broadcaster reportedly made close to R2 billion over the last five years that they held the exclusive rights.

But now they are in no position to make that amount as they have to foot a huge legal bill for the two High Court interdicts they instituted against the league and the arbitration process.

They lost the arbitration and advocate Chris Loxton ordered them to pay all the legal costs, which are estimated at R10 million.

Previously the SABC paid the PSL R70 million per annum but soon recouped the money by selling Wednesday night games to SuperSport for R35 million per season.

They also sold broadcast rights to sponsors SA Breweries (R22 million), Absa (R15 million), Telkom (R10 million) and the South African Airways (R5 million) per season.

The public broadcaster also charged R35 000 for each 30 seconds advert during soccer matches, which saw them rake in about R2.6 million from adverts for each game.

This totalled R226 million in the 2005/2006 season where they showed a total of 105 PSL matches.

This saw the SABC make R350 million per annum from the broadcast of soccer matches over five years.

However, the shoe is now on the other foot as they have to part with R120 million per year for five years to SuperSport, which now holds the rights, having purchased them for R1.6 billion.

The SABC is entitled to 143 matches, including finals, semi-finals and derbies. They will, however, recoup some of the money from advertising as they now charge R65 000 per 30 seconds advert.

PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza was excited this week as he announced the arbitrator’s findings.

“The PSL is delighted to announce that, as expected, Chris Loxton SC, the arbitrator in the SABC/PSL matter, has dismissed all of the complaints made by the SABC against the PSL which were the subject of various applications to the High Court for Interdicts and this arbitration with costs,” he said.

Since selling the rights to SuperSport, the PSL has made huge strides jumping to number seven in the world behind Germany, Spain, Italy, England, France and Portugal on television revenue.

The league has become number one in the world on content control, rights management and graphics.

This week Khoza praised the people who played a role in the securing of the rights from the negotiating team of Kaizer Motaung, Trevor Phillips and Mato Madlala.

“I would like to thank our broadcast partner SuperSport International and in particular Mr Imtiaz Patel, the executive committee and more importantly I would like to thank Peter Mancer who has been one of the key players in the resolution of this matter and in the negotiation of all our broadcast and event sponsorships.”

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago’s could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press

15 February 2008: Masters student Cheryl Abboo releases her thesis on the SABC

17 February 2008: The SABC hires four bodyguards to protect its head of internal audits, Elsje Oosthuizen, from being harmed or killed by high-ranking officials being investigated for fraud and corruption.

According to City Press newspaper Oosthuizen is investigating influential individuals, including a well-known station manager, a marketing manager and a top SABC lawyer.

25 February 2008: Cosatu is unhappy about Mbeki-appointed SABC board

26 February 2008: Mpofu tells parliament that a verbal warning for Zikalala on the blacklist scandal was sufficient sanction

February 2008: ANC MPs grill Mpofu over the public broadcaster's perceived bias against Zuma.

March 2008: Cosatu threatens to take Mbeki's government to court over the "controversial" appointment of the new SABC board.

March 2008: Empire magazine reports that SABC International has unsustainable  operating costs of R200-million a year.

4 March 2008: In a memo to the SABC, labour lawyer Puke Maserumule writes of the order by CEO Dali Mpofu that Hlaudi Motsoeneng be reinstated after an instruction to this effect by Free State Premier, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri:  “In the absence of objectively justifiable reasons for his (Motsoeneng) re-instatement, it will become almost impossible for consultant (SABC) to discipline or dismiss other employees who commit similar offenses to those committed by Motsoeneng, “Their morale will in all probability be negatively affected by his re-instatement, and this may be worse if he returns to Bloemfontein and more so if those who testified against him are required to report to him.”

April 2008: Dali Mpofu concedes that the public broadcaster is under political pressure while addressing a conference on media and electoral democracy held in Pretoria by the Independent Electoral Commission.

ANC parliamentary caucus calls for the suspension of four board members: Qunta, Gloria Serobe, Andile Mbeki and Peter Vundla.

A confidential memorandum, which is highly critical of Mpofu, is leaked to the media.

ANC MPs, SABC board and management appear in parliament and point fingers at one another.

The National Assembly's communications committee - mainly ANC members - passes a motion of no confidence in the board, accusing it of being responsible for the leakage of damning information against Mpofu.

15 April 2008: The SACP expresses concern about the bitter divisions within the SABC board

21 April 2008: Helen Zille tells the Cape Town Press Club of the link between the Regional Editor of the SABC  in Cape Town, Jeffrey Twala and Zithulele Twala, his attorney brother and the secretary to the Erasmus Commission. The Erasmus Commission was ruled to have been illegally constituted for political gain by the ANC’s then Western Cape leader, Ebrahim Rasool.

“It is no coincidence that Zithulele Twala, the Commission's secretary, is the brother of Mzukisi Twala, the regional editor of SABC television news. I think it is fair to describe SABC's television coverage of the Commission as "selective" to put it mildly. But its reach is enormous. The Commission will prove to be a poison-dripping tap, over many months, leaving a lethal lake that will be impossible to mop up in the course of my testimony. And I will be overcome by the fumes as I try to do so. But that, of course, is the purpose. And it is pure power abuse.”

29 April 2008: A Business Day article by Edward West corroborates the findings of the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry which urged CEO Dali Mpofu to investigate human rights abuses and partisan party political reporting by the Regional Editor of the SABC’s Western Cape office, Jeffrey Twala.

Broadcaster's Cape Bureau 'Still Mismanaged, With Bias'

THE SABC's powerful Cape Town bureau continues to be dogged by allegations of mismanagement and politically skewed reporting in favour of an African National Congress (ANC) faction in Western Cape - even though an independent board of enquiry, under former CEO Zwelakhe Sisulu and lawyer Gilbert Marcus, last year apparently recommended that the public broadcaster address the problems.

Last week Business Day obtained information from former journalists, who did not wish their names to be published, that provides context to these concerns and which details some of the reasons that have allegedly led to the SABC's Cape Town newsroom losing at least one senior news staffer every three months since 1999.

One former SABC journalist claims the situation is not much different in other SABC newsrooms. Attempts since Thursday to get SABC comment on these specific allegations were unsuccessful. A request for an interview with SABC board chairman Khanyisiwe Mkonza earlier last week, was denied.

A request for comment from the SABC's Cape Town editor, Jeffrey Twala, was referred to the SABC public spokesman Kaizer Kganyago, who would only say that many recent allegations about the SABC in the media were inaccurate. Some of the alleged mismanagement in the Cape Town bureau includes details of "relentless verbal abuse of staffers" and the "way in which Twala manipulates the news for political gain".

In the first half of last year, "three more reporters resigned, in large measure due to Twala not allowing them to do stories detrimental to the ANC, in forcing them to constantly do stories that attack the DA (Democratic Alliance) and also stories that cast Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool in a bad light so as to benefit (his pro-Africanist party opponent) Mcebisi Skwatsha".

The information provides examples of alleged news bias, such as "when the wife of Sheval Arendse, then with the DA, was convicted of fraud, the story was covered on a daily basis at the instructions of Twala. However, when the wife of Skwatsha of the ANC was convicted of theft, Twala did not allow a single story to be broadcast."

Complaints about the political bias of the SABC's news coverage has stretched from Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), to opposition parties, to civic organisations such as the Freedom of Expression Institute, to even the ANC itself.

For example, ANC MP Lumka Yengeni indicated the party's unhappiness about the SABC on February 13 when she said in Parliament that "we do not want the SABC to be the lapdog of government or of the ANC or of any other party for that matter ... we want them to be a proper public broadcaster that informs and entertains all our people."

The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers' Union said in its submission to the Sisulu-Marcus commission: "The overarching issues which have led to the unprecedented loss of staff since Mr Twala took control of the Sea Point news room some eight years are a) human rights abuses and b) the daily contravention for partisan party political reasons of the SABC's de facto code of journalistic conduct”.

30 April 2008: Suzanne Vos tells Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communication about the abuses of Jeffrey Twala, SABC Regional Editor, Western Cape.

May 2008: Mpofu rejects "insinuations" in a Sunday paper report that there was a cabinet plot against him. Two days later, Mpofu suspends Zikalala. The Mbeki-aligned SABC board then suspends Mpofu and says that there is, in fact, a cabinet plot against him.

6 May 2008: ANC Secretary General, Gwede Mantashe, addressed a press conference at Luthuli House on the outcomes of the ANC national working committee meeting and said: “We want a non-partisan SABC, the one that is free from factions and free from Dali or Snuki influences, an SABC that can truly serve the nation.”

10 May 2008: Makhudu Sefara of City Press reveals the background to the subsequent rise to power of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and how he proved to be the catalyst in the subsequent fall-out between the Mbeki-supporting board and Snuki Zikalala.

A source said the fuse started burning when Mpofu approached Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri for help in dealing with the board.

She allegedly told Mpofu she would protect him from the board if he helped her achieve what the previous board chairperson, Eddie Funde, could not help her with: the re-employment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng. This was denied by Matsepe-Casaburri’s spokesperson, Joe Makhafola.

Motsoeneng, formerly an executive producer on Lesedi FM, allegedly ensured that the minister was regularly on air when he worked for the station.

“Now that this man is no longer at Lesedi, the minister is hardly featured. Her popularity is taking a knock and she wants him back.

“Lesedi caters mostly for the minister’s constituency of the Free State. Does she want Motsoeneng back in order to revive her profile? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that one,” said a source.

Mpofu, in his drive to warm up to the new ANC leaders and seek allies against the board, also met with treasurer-general Mathews Phosa.

Phosa allegedly asked Mpofu why he should help him if the SABC refused to re-employ Motsoeneng simply because he was seen as a Zuma supporter?

Mpofu apparently realised that Motsoeneng stood between the protection he might get from politicians and his evident demise.

He allegedly ordered Zikalala to re-employ Motsoeneng – an order Zikalala refused to obey.

Phosa reportedly also met with Zikalala, who gave him documents relating to Motsoeneng’s dismissal as proof that Zuma had nothing to do with his reluctance to re-employ him.

Phosa told City Press he was not able to comment on anything related to Motsoeneng because he had acted on the latter’s behalf as a defence lawyer.

However, The Star reported this week that Phosa had denied talking to Zikalala about Motsoeneng or receiving documents from him.

“Mpofu saw Zikalala as a stumbling block to his project to garner support. Zikalala had to go,” said a source.

An insider at the SABC said: “Dali asked Zikalala during a group executive meeting on Tuesday how far he was in re-hiring Motsoeneng. “Zikalala said he was not far as he had referred the matter to board chairperson Khanyisile Mkhonza.

“Dali then allegedly said: ‘You can’t do that’. Snuki said: ‘You can’t stop me’. It was tense. Snuki said he had a right to do an upward referral. Dali said not on a matter like this. Head of human resources Pat Naves interrupted and told Dali that Snuki had a right to an upward referral on all issues.”

It was alleged that Mpofu brought up the topic of Zikalala giving Phosa the documents relating to Motsoeneng’s dismissal. Mpofu then abruptly told Zikalala to clear his office and hand over his access cards pending an investigation.

The problem between Mpofu and Zikalala was that Mpofu had allegedly switched allegiance from the Mbeki camp to the new kings of Luthuli House at a rate his subordinates could not cope with.

“This change was so sudden he shocked and alienated his allies,” said a source

15 May 2008: Charles Leonard, news editor at Business Day and a former news editor at the SABC during the tenure of Snuki Zikalala, writes about the fear that SABC staffers had of Zikalala who was cited before the Truth and Reconciliation commission for human rights abuses. The fear of Zikalala was followed by the fear of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.


Commander Zikalala and SABC’s corridors of fear

Charles Leonard

BLOEMFONTEIN, are you there? Yes! Cape Town? We’re here! Nelspruit …?” It was Monday, May 3 2004, and we were packed into an SABC news boardroom in Auckland Park, listening to the crackly ritual of checking if our colleagues in the other regions were connected for line-conference. The SABC bosses had waited for the elections in the previous month to be done and dusted before they announced the Commander’s second coming to the corporation as news MD, so as not to make him an election issue.

Even his acolytes among us news executives looked worried as he walked in, no longer wearing his famous broad-lapel leather coat that we saw in all the pieces to camera he did in the formulaic “workers say, management says” stories when he was still a labour reporter.

Now Dr Snuki Zikalala was dressed in an expensive suit that looked a number or two too large over his shoulders. His glasses and haircut were trendier and I’m sure he must have had voice training when he was at the labour department as spokesman for “my minister”, as he fondly kept calling his boss of the two previous years. He wasn’t the only target of Zikalala’s affection.

“I’ll see to it that my president gets covered all the time!” he said, with his voice shooting up several octaves, which happened when he got excited. He repeated it, but — and this is where the voice coaching must have kicked in — this time with a steadier, more measured and deeper voice.

As reporter and as boss in his first stint, before the previous board under Vincent Maphai got rid of him, Zikalala had a reputation as a hard worker. “People must work hard — there’s no time for people that don’t work … they’ll be out! … they will be out.”

This time, he glared with cold-fish eyes at his audience of news managers: “The board appointed me — I report to them and they will fire me if I don’t do my work.”

He didn’t need to lay it on much more than that. People fearfully remembered his previous spell as boss, enforcer and chief propagandist all too well.

Zikalala, who had apparently developed a taste for golf while he was at the labour department, could work on his handicap and didn’t need be there all hours any more. His tactic was simple, and worked like a good horror movie. You didn’t need to see the monster, because the mere suggestion was enough to petrify otherwise stable and confident journalists, and made them behave.

Then there were the “1984”-style spies and informers (many of them shameless remnants of the apartheid days, when they served Botha, Matanzima and Buthelezi with similar gusto), who would run to the Commander if they noticed any dissent, or would use his name to get government propaganda on air, even if it didn’t come directly from him or the Union Buildings: “Snuki said you must ….” was all that was needed.

But the best thing for the Stalinist Zikalala was the new SABC board: it was interventionist in the worst sense of the word and shared his “vision” of what the broadcaster should be and do. Unlike the Maphai board, the one run by Eddie Funde simply didn’t give a damn what any outsiders said or thought about it, or Zikalala. They also had no proper broadcasters or journalists among them who could say, “Hey chief, that’s not how you cover news!”

And how they covered news! TV news boss Jimi Matthews, who was a proper broadcaster, fought hard to at least maintain a world-class technical standard. He also tried to ensure that some of the bright young reporters got mentored. But Zikalala and his gang simply wore him down, by endless meetings, back-stabbing and interference. In the end, Matthews did what most proper journalists did: first he joined SABC Sport and then he finally left the SABC. With Matthews gone, there was nobody senior on the input side to ensure journalistic and technical quality. With some exceptions, the standards dropped radically, with blue pictures, jump cuts, fuzzy pictures, poor audio and irrelevant washed-out file pictures the order of the day, not to forget those Snuki-aping singsong sign-offs. The journalism became even worse.

I left quicker than Matthews — two months after Zikalala’s arrival I was gone. His one big ally on the board, Christine Qunta, who was also head of the board subcommittee for human relations, gave me a call for my exit interview. When I told her I left was because I was scared of Zikalala, and didn’t work very well under those circumstances, she laughed a big belly laugh down the line. I hope it was because Qunta thought I was joking, although I wasn’t.

A lot has been written over the years about the exodus of good journalists from the SABC and the reasons they left. Many would concur that it was fear that made them quit. Ironically, Zikalala has run the place like the apparatchiks did under the apartheid regime: by suppressing any independent, creative thought and by toeing the party line.

So now Zikalala has been suspended. Say the unlikely happens and the Commander gets his marching orders again, like he did in 2002, can the SABC become the public broadcaster it briefly was under people such as Zwelakhe Sisulu, Barney Mthombothi, Allister Sparks and Matthews?

I worked under all of them at SAfm and TV News. I can vouch for the fact that the SABC can be a great place for a journalist to work for — it had great resources, lots of professionals and ample training during those spells. We told South Africans the stories of their transition in a fair, informative and intelligent way. We weren’t perfect, but because of the creative, journalistic environments we worked in, one could hear and see the commitment to public broadcasting.

So can it get back to that? A few radical changes will have to happen before the terminally ill SABC can recover.

The board must be replaced. It has allowed the likes of Zikalala to destroy most of the broadcaster’s credibility by turning it into a propaganda machine — and a substandard one at that.

The board has also interfered in inappropriate ways, going way beyond its mandate. We need a board staffed by people with relevant broadcasting, journalistic and financial knowledge. The politicised way the board is appointed — with the president having the final say — has to be changed to get the best people for the job, not the best friends for the job.

The same has to apply to the corporation’s management. A case in point is the way DStv ran circles around group CEO Dali Mpofu during the local soccer rights negotiations. Part of the SABC’s mandate is to serve its consumers, including, in this case, the many who cannot afford satellite television.

The African National Congress proposal at Polokwane that the SABC’s funding model has to change radically is a very good one, making the corporation less reliant on commercial forces to be able to fulfil its public broadcaster’s mandate. But a much larger contribution from the state’s coffers should not equate to a much larger say by the politicians in how the SABC operates. A way has to be found to keep politicians off the journalists’ backs. That is perhaps the most difficult part of all, but it seems there are workable mechanisms in other parts of the world that can minimise meddling.

The news management must be purged of party hacks and replaced by proper news people, in the process exorcising the ghosts of apartheid and Stalinism. It worked — for a while — post-apartheid and it can work again.

Training has to take priority again, like it did under Sisulu. There has to be large-scale hiring and rehiring of competent broadcasters and journalists, with young reporters with potential coached and mentored to become the best.

For the sake of the committed men and women left at the SABC who still believe in public broadcasting, I hope the broadcaster can be rejuvenated.

For the sake of SA’s young democracy, I pray so. We need a quality broadcaster now more than ever, to keep us properly informed during one of SA’s most challenging decades.

Leonard is news editor.

4 June 2008: The Zuma faction of the ANC starts its move to get rid of the Mbeki-appointed SABC board.  Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri calls for a review of the laws governing the SABC board, while an ANC MP has demands a commission of inquiry into the functioning of the corporation.

The ANC likened the public broadcaster to the Boswell Wilkie and Moscow circuses.

However, DA MP Dene Smuts said there was a "political purge launched against this board".

She said: "Arbitrary removal (of the board) is not possible under administrative justice, it is not possible under our constitution."

The debate came hardly a day after the SABC board failed in its second attempt to suspend group chief executive Dali Mpofu.

The Johannesburg high court ruled that Mpofu's suspension was unprocedural.

10 June 2008: SOS coalition established

25 June 2008: The Zuma faction of the ANC moves to get rid of the Mbeki-appointed SABC board that was appointed by President Thabo Mbeki late in 2007, shortly after he was ousted as ANC president.

Some ANC MPs claim Mbeki's preferred candidates were foisted on them.

ANC MPs known to be close to the Zuma leadership and supported by Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and the ANC Youth League, have since campaigned for the board to resign.

27 June 2008: The ANC uses its substantial majority in parliament to push through a memorandum which will eventually enable it to dismiss the Mbeki-nominated board.

The memorandum, introduced by Ismail Vadi, the chairperson of the National Assembly's communications committee, proposed that the committee would draw up amendments to the Broadcasting Act that would allow MPs to recommend the dismissal of the entire board.

The move was opposed by the Democratic Alliance and the Inkatha Freedom Party, with DA MP Dene Smuts accusing the ANC of wanting to perpetrate a "naked political purge" at the SABC.

23 August 2008: Speaking at a seminar of the Human Right Commission, Zikalala says the SABC would not have broadcast stories about Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang’s behaviour during her hospital treatment, or on her conviction for theft for stealing a watch from an unconscious patient — because the public broadcaster only carries stories that aid the country’s development. “Publishing such a story is disrespectful,” he says.

26 August 2008: Robert Mugabe is shouted down in parliament in Zimbabwe. headlines the story, the SABC shows nothing even though it had access to the feed.

August 2008: ANC MP, Lumka Yengeni (then wife of convicted fraudster Tony Yengeni) in a debate in Parliament on the Broadcasting Amendment Bill said: “Who should take responsibility for the exoneration of Snuki Zikalala, without facing disciplinary processes?” Despte this, Zikalala blamed his eventual departure from the SABC when his contract was not renewed, blames this on racist whites.

1 September 2008: The Natal Mercury reports that Snuki Zikalala ( a fervent Mbeki acolyte) is accused of removing two political reporters from covering Jacob Zuma because of their apparent allegiance to the ANC president. Tshepo Ikaneng and Mzwandile Mbeje - confirmed that they had been instructed not to report on Zuma.

7 September 2008: The Post reveals that dismissed and then re-instated SABC reporter, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is to sue Snuki Zikalala for R1-million claiming that Zikalala defamed him. Nothing ever comes of the threat.

Snuki Zikalala, the controversial managing director of news at the SABC, is being sued for R1 million in damages by Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the Bloemfontein broadcaster accused of faking his curriculum vitae.

Motsoeneng wants an apology from Zikalala for defaming him, claiming Zikalala belittled him and portrayed him as a violent, uneducated person.

The R1-million summons was served on Zikalala a week ago, coinciding with the newsman's return to the SABC after his suspension in May for leaking SABC documents.

Zikalala told The Sunday Independent on Saturday that he would defend the action and that it was not true that Motsoeneng had been targeted because he was a Zuma supporter.

Neither was there any substance, said Zikalala, to allegations that he has a hotline to the presidency.

Asked if he were a supporter of President Thabo Mbeki, Zikalala said: "I am supporter of the South African constitution and, as such, believe the office of the president should be respected.

"I have said that the president of South Africa, who is democratically elected, should be accorded the same treatment as other heads of state," Zikalala said.

In court papers, advocate Michael Murphy said Zikalala had refused to provide his client, Motsoeneng, with the leaked documents on the grounds that these were privileged, private, confidential and not relevant to the disciplinary proceedings that had been launched against Motsoeneng two years ago.

In the papers, Motsoeneng said he was fired as Lesedi FM executive producer following a disciplinary hearing in 2006, but the doubt about his credentials was leaked by Zikalala in May, when Dali Mpofu, the suspended SABC group chief executive, suspended Zikalala.

Mpofu was suspended a day after his action against Zikalala.

After a series of internal inquiries and an application to a high court to order that an impartial arbitrator be appointed to hear an appeal against his dismissal, Motsoeneng got his job back.

As the Mpofu-Zikalala hostilities worsened, it emerged that Motsoeneng was the reason for Mpofu falling out with Zikalala.

The latest court action is another blow to Zikalala, whose return to the news hotseat was mired in controversy after it emerged that the board's claims that he had been exonerated in the labour court were false.

13 October 2008: The ANC backs down from its insistence that the speaker of the National Assembly should have a say in the appointment of SABC board members, and agrees to change the Broadcasting Amendment Bill to remove this power.

ANC chief whip Khotso Khumalo said the status quo would be reinstated. The amended bill would be returned to the assembly's communications committee which would accept the NCOP amendments. Once adopted by the assembly and the NCOP, the bill would be sent to President Kgalema Motlanthe for signature.

The bill provides for the removal of directors either individually or as a collective. Khumalo said the ANC wanted this because the behaviour of board members continued to confirm the party's view that they were unsuitable for the role of directing the national broadcaster.

"We will continue our battle with the board because they have proved themselves worse than what we thought they were. The more we delay matters, the more we will delay taking action on the board," Khumalo said.

Once the bill became law -- which Khumalo hoped would happen before the end of next month -- the party would proceed with its vote of no-confidence in the board. Under the new law SABC directors can be removed on the recommendation of the National Assembly, acting on a finding of a parliamentary committee.

ANC members of the communications committee have been at loggerheads with the board since last year when they were forced by former president Thabo Mbeki to include the names of three of his supporters on the short list of candidates for the board, namely Christine Qunta, Gloria Serobe and Andile Mbeki. Linda Ensor – Business Day 

6 November 2008: The SABC is setting up the office of a complaints officer who will deal with all complaints submitted in writing by political parties within 72 hours of submission. This follows a special meeting of the SABC Board News Committee held in Johannesburg in which the board reaffirmed its commitment to its news division's unfettered editorial independence.

9 November 2008: The Sunday Independent reports that  Gwede Mantashe, the ANC's secretary-general, and Jessie Duarte, its spokesperson, met Gab Mampone, the acting group chief executive of the SABC, and Snuki Zikalala, the corporation's managing director for news.  They were critical of the SABC's post-Polokwane coverage of the ANC, and expressed alarm at the way the SABC was portraying Jacob Zuma and anger at the lack of coverage of the government's service delivery projects

18 November 2008: The chairperson of the SABC board, Kanyi Mkhonza, presents the Corporation’s Annual Report for the period April 2007 to March 2008 to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communication. She said that the SABC had received a qualified audit and that the board needed the unqualified support of the committee so that it could address the financial crisis the SABC found itself in. She said that support had not been forthcoming.

Early in March 2008 SABC management presented the Board with a proposed budget deficit of R600 million for the financial year 2008-9; the board refused to accept this proposal and told management to review and reprioritise the proposed budget. This was done and approved on March 25.

Mkonza said that in April she wrote a memorandum "expressing grave concerns about the unhealthy state of finances of at the SABC. I then convened an extraordinary meeting of the non-executive directors of the board to deal with this situation and hold the GCEO accountable for all that the board was concerned about."

"What followed was a barrage of attacks on the board including being hauled in front of the committee, print and electronic media attacks eventually culminating in the vote of no confidence expressed by the members of this committee on the board. This was followed by concerted and unrelenting attacks on the integrity of the board," Mkonza said.

"Despite all attempts of the Board to prevent the implosion of the SABC, we did not get the support that we needed - at that stage we needed to put all hands on deck to put the SABC back in its rightful place, as the sole public broadcaster in the country.

"The Board needed the unwavering support of the portfolio committee... because we were raising and dealing with the very issues that the portfolio committee has been raising for a long time in its oversight role over the SABC," Mkonza added.

She also warned that there is no relief in sight for March 2009. She, however, reiterated the Board's commitment to a clean, unqualified audit report that is fully in concert with the noble principles underpinning the values of the public broadcaster such as: objectivity, accuracy, fairness, impartiality and balance.


27 November 2008: The ANC calls on the SABC to 'resist temptation' in its coverage of political events or face 'corroding' it’s standing in the public domain. This, after the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal claimed that an SABC journalist had been suspended for not covering a meeting of the Congress of the People (Cope), a party formed an ANC breakaway group. The meeting was expected to be addressed by Cope chairman Terror Lekota.

30 November 2008: In one of the first signs of the SABC’s impending bankruptcy the Sunday Argus reports that the Corporation’s London office had so little funding that staff were in danger of being evicted because the rent had not been paid and the reporter did not even have a landline telephone.


22 January 2009: The SOS coalition welcomes ICASA’s announcement that, in March 2009, it will look into the failure of the SABC to act upon the findings of the Sisulu/Marcus commission of inquiry into the SABC black listing scandal

1 February 2009: Dali Mpofu resigns as GCEO

19 February 2009: Legislation governing the SABC is set to change further, with the much-criticised Broadcasting Amendment Bill being further amended after President Kgalema Motlanthe refused to sign it into law.

And the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has renewed its efforts to have the SABC's articles of association amended in line with legislation and to remove government interference in the broadcaster.

The FXI says the articles are unlawful and unconstitutional and should be amended, and unless this is done by the end of next month, it has promised to seek a court order compelling the minister and the SABC to do so.

The FXI has sent a letter of demand to Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, SABC chairwoman Khanyi Mkonza and acting group CE Gab Mampone asking the SABC to amend its articles of association.

The FXI say that the articles, last amended in 2006, are unlawful as a result of the high level of interference from the communications minister they permit in the affairs of the SABC.

The articles conflict with the provisions of the Broadcasting Act and section 16 of the constitution, according to the FXI.

The problematic areas include the minister having veto power over the appointment of executive directors and the president having the power to appoint the chairman and deputy chairman of the board.

The minister also has veto power over the appointment of the group CEO and can approve the terms of his or her contract.

The FXI has also objected to the level of control the executive arm of government exerts over the SABC. This arises because the presence of the communications minister, who represents the government as the sole shareholder, is automatically the quorum for the SABC's general meeting.

Since the SABC board is bound by the resolutions taken at the general meeting, this gives the executive arm of the government direct control over the SABC

Meanwhile, the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications has amended the controversial Broadcasting Amendment Bill after Motlanthe refused to sign it into law, the committee said on Friday. – Business Day

4 March 2009: BCCSA reprimands the SABC for broadcasting an unbalanced and blatantly biased programme seeking to create the impression that only the security forces and IFP members committed atrocities during the struggle against apartheid.

5 March 2009: Acting CEO Gab Mampone admits at a Johannesburg press conference that the SABC expected a loss of R784m for the financial year end

10 March 2009: The Broadcasting Amendment Act no 4 of 2009 is gazetted thus enabling the Zuma faction to dismiss the Mbeki-appointed board. This is the beginning of the end of Qunta, Zikalala et al

To amend the Broadcasting Act, 1999, so as to delete ‘‘frequency planning’’ as one of the fields of qualifications, expertise and experience which the members of the Board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation Limited must have when viewed collectively; to provide for the removal of a member of the Board from office and for the resignation of a member; to make provision for a resolution of the National Assembly calling for the removal of a member and for the dissolution of the Board; to provide for the appointment of an interim board; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

14 March 2009: The Communications Workers Union (CWU) alleges that the SABC board spent almost half a million rand on its 2007 Xmas party

22 March 2009: The Sunday Times reveals massive looting at the SABC, allegedly by a close friend of Matthews Phosa, Matilda Gaboo.

SABC boss blows millions on dud shows

Executive also stands accused of handing out contracts to friends

Rowan Philp

A former SABC executive is under investigation for allegedly wasting tens of millions of rands on useless programmes and giving contracts to friends – including a supplier who claimed to be the father of one of her children.

Matilda Gaboo, head of the broadcaster’s international programme acquisition division until May last year (2008), is alleged to have wasted at least R49 million in two years in over-payments and TV programmes that were not screened.

It has been established that the investigation into Gaboo, 45, was triggered after she dumped a bag containing R121 584 cash for business-class air tickets for a close friend, ANC treasurer-general Matthews Phosa and her child on the desk of a travel agent.

The Sunday Times is in possession of a preliminary internal audit, which investigated allegations of “mass corruption and gross mismanagement” during Gaboo’s three-year tenure in the department.

It found R38.7 million in wasted money as of September last year. A second audit in the SABC’s ongoing investigation, produced by legal firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Comperio Forensics, puts the irregular and wasted expenditure under Gaboo at R49-million as of this week.

This report, presented to the audit committee on Wednesday warned that the amount “could increase” because only 38 of 165 of Gaboo’s deals had been analysed.

With the SABC already projecting a R784-million deficit, experts said that a full audit might show that a single manager swelled the broadcaster’s overdraft by more than a R100 million.

A board member this week described the extent of the wastage as “a colossal scandal.”

The audits reveal how Gaboo:

  • Awarded  R22 million in deals to a programme supplier Irfan Bux, a man who, according to the audit reports, claims to be the father of her six-year old daughter;
  • Paid Bux R652 800 for a wildlife series called Be the Creature, although he had paid just R81 600 for it and;
  • Paid UK supplier Mark Deitch more than R500 000 for consulting services and then gave him a contract for $657 000 on the deal.

The auditors said Gaboo appeared to have had such a close relationship with Deitch that she reminded him to get her “Clarins day and night cream” at the duty-free shop and to pick up UK football jerseys for her.

The documents detail how Gaboo had regularly bought programmes without consulting the SABC’s various channels on whether they needed them or had time slots to flight them.

Further details include her buying 173 titles representing thousands of episodes which have never been shown and whose licences have now expired, from movies such as Austin Powers to children’s programmes like Blob Family.

On Friday, Phosa confirmed that Gaboo had bought the airline tickets on his behalf, but said the statement in the audit reports that it was suspicious was incorrect and “defamatory”.

Audits found that on May 11 2006, “Ms Gaboo paid R121 584 in cash at Airwave travel for two business-class return tickets to Los Angeles. (We are) of the opinion that this is a suspicious transaction. It should be reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre.”

Said Phosa: “I remember very well she came to us for a loan, and she got that cash from the company … I was going on business myself.”

It is unclear why Gaboo would have taken a loan from Phosa’s company  to pay for his airline ticket.

Gaboo now heads Eveni Investments, a company owned by Phosa’s group.

Her lawyer, Nicqui Galaktiou, said her client had not been given a chance to respond to the findings of the audits, despite numerous requests.

She accused the Sunday Times of “ambushing” and “sabotaging” her client “with allegations that she could not deal with in a vacuum and without access to the report.”

In a letter to SABC board chairman Kanyisiwe Mkonza, Galaktiou said Gaboo had been subject to a 10-hour investigation by auditors on September 25 2007.

The letter states that the conduct of the SABC had undermined her credibility and has adversely impacted on her ability to carry out her work and professional responsibilities and duties.

Broadcast, Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union president Hannes du Buisson said that they had warned about Gaboo’s spending three years ago.

“At the time, there were many complaints from buyers at M-Net that they couldn’t compete for programmes because Matilda had pushed the prices (so high).”

An SABC board member said: “What makes it worse is that the board has been calling for action on this since 2007, and has simply been ignored.”

Now “we’ve taken a resolution to recover whatever we can of the money lost, and to take criminal, civil and legal action against those responsible.”

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the board had in 2007 instructed then group CEO Dali Mpofu to take action, but that he felt the charges needed to be investigated fully in order to protect Gaboo’s labour rights.

He said it was inaccurate to label the label the programmes as “un-needed” because expiring contracts were common. “This is what we call in the industry ‘the dogs and the fleas’.”

Deitch has denied a conflict of interest but said: “I did see a large amount of wastage at the SABC.” –

Sunday Times editorial


at 12:24 PM ·



Sunday Times Editorial

Mar 22, 2009

It would be easy to switch channels and write off the SABC as the Orwellian propaganda arm of the country’s ruling party.

It would be easy, but irresponsible. From its genesis as a crude apartheid-era state broadcaster to its current unwieldy incarnation as a public service broadcaster and public commercial service broadcaster, the SABC continues to flounder from crisis to crisis without fulfilling its true potential.

When the Broederbond was evicted from Auckland Park, hopes were raised that the SABC would live up to its mandate — to inform, educate and entertain South African citizens, to contribute to nation-building and nurture democracy, and make us proud of our rich cultural diversity.

But a succession of ANC political appointees to the corridors of SABC power has made the institution no different to what it was under the Nats.

Not only is the SABC mired in never-ending loops of mismanagement, cronyism and political interference, it is also a honeytrap for the greedy.

The Sunday Times this week reveals the wanton wastage of taxpayers’ money by the head of SABC’s international acquisitions department, Matilda Gaboo. Gaboo was appointed by former CEO Dali Mpofu, who oversaw her paying R38-million to friends for television programmes that have never been broadcast.

Even as allegations of mass corruption and gross mismanagement began to emerge, in as early as June 2005, Mpofu did nothing to discipline Gaboo or stop the spending spree. Let us not forget that Mpofu and the current SABC board were manoeuvred into the broadcaster’s hot seats by axed president Thabo Mbeki and his cronies.

A report by auditors Deloitte depicts a scary scenario of the antagonistic relationships in the SABC’s top echelons. It should come as no surprise that corporate governance at the SABC is, as a result, “under severe strain”.

The report identifies a “serious breakdown” in some authorisation, review and accountability structures and processes. It says the board operates in “crisis mode” and interferes in managerial and operational matters.

While we support Deloitte’s recommendation for urgent workshops to restore trust between the broadcaster’s board and its executive managers, and for an overhaul of the board’s structure, we would like to advocate something a bit more revolutionary.

When the next president appoints an SABC board, he should apply his mind to the Broadcasting Act 13(4)(a) and seek individuals who are suited to serve by virtue of their qualifications, expertise and experience in the fields of broadcasting policy and technology, broadcasting regulation, media law, frequency planning, business practice and finance, marketing, journalism, entertainment and education, and social and labour issues.

If the SABC is to attain the ideal of becoming a true public service broadcaster, the individuals appointed as its managers and board members need to be chosen based on skill and experience, as opposed to political sycophancy.

As difficult as this might be for ANC party bosses to grasp, the public broadcaster is meant to serve our democracy, not undermine it.

22 March 2009: The SABC response expresses regret that Gaboo’s name is mentioned as says it will attempt to find the whistleblower

22 March 2009: The DA comments on the Matilda Gaboo saga

26 March 2009: Christine Qunta, deputy chairperson of the SABC board resigns from the board. Businessman Peter Vundla, who also resigned, accused Qunta of constantly interfering in the day to day running of the SABC.

30 March 2009: The SABC’s bankruptcy is impacting on the freelance producers of television documentaries and soapies.

Production houses, together with unions, actors and musicians, are to stage an unprecedented march next week against the SABC for non-payment of nearly R60 million. But the protest could be too late as dozens of companies have had to retrench staff while others face imminent closure.

15 April 2009: BCCSA imposes the highest possible fine on the SABC. Special Assignment was fined R80 000 for a two-part programme that claimed professor Graham Fitch of the University of Cape Town had engaged in acts of sexual molestation. Fitch filed a complaint of defamation. The public broadcaster received a R30,000 fine for the first programme aired on 3 June 2008, and R50,000 for the second on 3 July 2008.

15 April 2009: The SABC vetoes the broadcasting of a Special Assignment TV programme which looks at the state of political satire in South Africa because it features the work of cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) who has been very critical of President Jacob Zuma who, in turn, has sued Zapiro for defamation.

30 April 2009: Zikalala’s contract ends and the Zuma faction do not renew it. Zikalala says he leaves “with my head held high” and attributes all criticism of him to white racism. “If it had been a white journalist, people would not have been so critical,” he said.

10 May 2009: Siphiwe Nyanda appointed Minister of Communications to replace the late Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri. Within months he is splurging money on two million rand BMWs with all available options and spending his time, when in Cape Town at the city’s two most expensive hotels, the Mount Nelson and the Twelve Apostles in Llandudno despite having an official residence in the city. In little more than a year he is removed from office as corruption allegations and stories of dubious tenders awarded to his companies swirl around him. The apparent catalyst in his removal is when he dismisses his director general, Mamodupi Mohlala, after she thwarted his attempts to gain control of the tender awarding process in the ministry. Instead of being dismissed in ignominy he is given a sinecure in the Presidency. This was hardly surprising as he was an important ally of Jacob Zuma in the war of attrition against Thabo Mbeki and he posted a letter on the Friends of Jacob Zuma website accusing the media of being part of the vendetta against Zuma:

15 May 2009: The Mail & Guardian reveals how wasteful expenditure has reduced the SABC to bankruptcy.

16 May 2009: The Saturday Star reveals that the bankrupting of the SABC by internal looting is threatening the future of popular soapies

The future of the country's most popular soapies and dramas hangs in the balance this weekend.

The SABC has failed to pay nearly 20 production houses more than R40-million, and now many of the smaller ones have had to lay off staff to avoid bankruptcy.

Two months ago, the affected companies formed the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) to negotiate and communicate with the SABC after the broadcaster's executives told them there was no money to pay them.

27 May 2009: The Mail & Guardian posts the Zapiro documentary on political satire on its website and so great is the traffic that the website struggles to cope

28 May 2009: The SABC says it has laid a charge of theft with the police against the Mail & Guardian after the newspaper had posted on its website a documentary on political satire featuring cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro (Zapiro) – which the Corporation had refused to broadcast. The newspaper had more than 40 000 hits for this item causing the website to crash and forcing it to post it on a secondary site,

29 May 2009: Snuki Zikalala who helped bankrupt the SABC and destroyed its news credibility praises himself.

29 May 2009: SAPA reveals that with major television productions houses facing penury because the looted SABC is not paying for programmes already delivered and, furthermore, is not commissioning new programmes. They are planning a protest demonstration outside the Auckland Park headquarters of the state broadcaster.

A coalition of television workers plans to protest against the public broadcaster’s non-payment of millions of rands to independent producers which, it claims, has led to retrenchments throughout the industry.

The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC), which claims to represent more than 80% of local content on air, said the protest would take place next Thursday. “The protest has been provoked by the public broadcaster’s nonpayment of millions of rands to independent producers and the subsequent retrenchments that are occurring throughout the industry,” the coalition said yesterday. Production companies, industry organisations, unions, friends of the industry, soapie stars, actors and technicians were expected to take part in the action. The coalition said the protest, scheduled to take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town, had not only been sparked by anger over nonpayment, but also by “much deeper and more significant issues”.

These included “unfair terms of trade, unsustainable business relationships with the content creators, unfair rights ownership and a deep arrogance manifested in the heavy- handed management style the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) displays”. The coalition said it had held several meetings with the SABC in past months, but had not received any “credible feedback”. “Crews and cast are without work, production companies are facing closure and viewers are being cheated of quality programming.

“Estimates of up to R58m owed have been made, but it is not possible to confirm this amount as the SABC has been unwilling to reveal the extent of the debt,” said the TVIEC. The SABC is facing a R784m deficit this year. It has been plagued by in- fighting between its axed CEO Dali Mpofu and its former head of news, Snuki Zikalala, while at least three board members have resigned since March. Beeld newspaper reported yesterday that local producers had received a text message from the SABC, telling them to stop all new production. Several newspapers had reported that popular soap operas such as Isidingo and 7de Laan might be pulled off air because of nonpayment. The coalition said budgets were now lower than they were seven years ago. “This while SABC management takes home exorbitant fees and performance bonuses - some bonuses exceed an entire year’s production fee for a major daily soap - and enjoy first-class air travel, five-star hotel suites and lavish entertainment,” it said. SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said he was not aware of the planned protest. “We are finalising a follow-up meeting between them and us.

“We are trying to find a relevant date for that,” he said. Kganyago said the SABC was also due to meet disgruntled unions yesterday to discuss the implementation of salary increases. Sapa

8 June 2009: Business Day reveals that while the financial plight of the SABC has received a lot of attention and grabbed headlines, what is less well known is the effect that this was having on independent film production companies that rely on SABC commissions to survive.

Charl Blignaut, of Mojo Movie Factory, which produces the programmes Tshisa, Moferefere Lenyalong, and, said his firm had waited for final payment from the SABC for a year. "After eight months, they came up with a dodgy claim that we owed R40000 in breakages and had us resubmit the invoice.

"We have it on record that those producers whose programmes have been delivered are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to payment," Blignaut said.

"Our doors are closing, our houses are on the market, our children are being pulled out of varsity and actors are starving."

8 June 2009: In a Mail & Guardian Thought Leader article Michael Trapido sums up corruption at the SABC citing  former television chief Molefe Mokgatle, corporate communications head, Thaninga Shope and Matilda Gaboo.

11 June 2009: Bheki Khumalo, Andile Mbeki and Desmond Golding resign from the SABC board

12 June 2009: In a hard-hitting editorial, Financial Mail editor, Barney Mthombothi, compares the SABC to George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Shame or embarrassment does not even begin to capture the amalgam of utter madness, incompetence, greed, and vanity that has reduced a once proud institution into the butt of jokes and ridicule. George Orwell must have had the SABC in mind when he penned Animal Farm, his classic novel on how greed and wickedness can betray a revolution. The pigs have taken control at the SABC, and they're merrily trashing the place.

18 June 2009: ICASA’s Complaints and Compliance Committee says it has no authority to rule on internal journalistic matters of the public broadcaster and it thus declines to uphold the appeal by the FXI against the failure of the SABC to act on the blacklisting scandal report of the Sisulu/Marcus Commission of Inquiry.

24 June 2009: It finally dawns on the Mbeki-appointed board that the Zuma faction is determined to get rid of them by hook or by crook. Christine Qunta tells parliament it is by crook. She said she was “amazed” by the level of the ANC’s interference in the SABC.

“Phone calls and demands made to board members … I was shocked by the ANC’s meddling,” she said after the sitting of the committee.

She referred to Blade Nzimande, secretary general of the SACP, who also interfered in the SABC’s business, but did not want to elaborate on the details. “I am an ANC supporter, but that was just too much and completely unacceptable.”

Qunta read a statement on behalf of nine board members (herself, Mkhonza, Tlakula, Alison Gillwald, Gloria Serobe, Desmond Golding, Andile Mbeki, Fadiela Lagadien and Nadia Bulbulia) in which they objected to the manner in which an investigation into the Corporation was being conducted. Three members (Bheki Khumalo, Peter Vundla and Ashwin Trikamjee) distanced themselves from the statement.

26 June 2009: Organised labour and specifically the unions at the SABC send a memo to acting COO, Gab Mampone, detailing the endemic corruption at the Corporation and setting out who they thinks is responsible and the amounts involved.

26 June 2009: Massive debts and a spate of top-level resignations have pushed South Africa's public broadcaster to near-collapse, threatening a network once styled as the voice of the country's democracy. The resignation of eight of the SABC's 12 board members as well as its chairman in recent weeks are just the latest in a string of scandals plaguing the debt-ridden broadcaster.

The board no longer has enough members to take binding decisions. Workers are on strike over a pay dispute, independent producers fume over lack of payment and a deadlock over how to proceed means no decisions are being taken at any level. "If the board does not function, the SABC does not function. The legal constraints and protection of its own statutes (mean) that if the board does not meet, the SABC literally grinds to a halt," said board member Alison Gillwald.

She was addressing parliament's communications committee, which on Thursday opened an inquiry into what committee chair Ismael Vadi termed a "lack of effective corporate governance." Gillwald said members had resigned in the middle of an incomplete audit process. The hamstrung board cannot now take decisions on salary increases or on critical expenditure for coverage of the 2010 football World Cup.

The SABC is crippled by over 800 million rand (US$98 million) in debt and is seeking a two billion rand cash injection from the government. Newspaper reports have outlined 40 million rand owed to producers, threatening to sink popular local soap operas, the network's bread-and-butter advertising vehicles. Even parliament seems unsure how to proceed, with the committee struggling to agree whether the enquiry should continue and where the blame lay for the rot at the SABC.

30 June 2009: Hansard reveals that Parliament has adopted the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Communications on the inquiry into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Board and recommends, to the appointing authority, the dissolution of the Board as envisaged in section 15A(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act (Act No 4 of 1999), as amended by the Broadcasting Amendment Act (Act No 4 of 2009); and  upon the dissolution of the Board, instructs the Portfolio Committee on Communications to proceed immediately with the process of recommending –

  • five persons for appointments to an interim Board as contemplated in section 15A(3)(a) of the Act; and
  • one of the members of the interim Board as the chairperson and another member as the deputy chairperson as contemplated in section 15A(4) of the Act.

3 July 2009: ICT personalities Irene Charnley and Suzanne Vos are appointed as non-executive directors to the SA Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC's) interim board by Parliament.

14 July 2009: Die Burger devotes a full page to Jeffrey Twala’s abuses in the SABC’s Sea Point news office which has seen this office, once the leading SABC regional office in the country, lose staff at an unprecedented rate and continually being scooped on major news stories by rival news stations such as and Cape Talk. Even though the article in Die Burger brings the SABC into disrepute, the SABC does nothing because Twala has long-standing connections with senior ANC political figures from the Easter Cape such as Ngconde Balfour and Makhenkesi Stofile


16 July 2009: SAPA reveals that the newly-appointed Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda, has lost no time in splurging on not one, but two top-of-the-range BMWs fitted with every available option.(He later becomes known  that “the Minister of Luxury”  as the Mail & Guardian  calls him, also stays at Cape Town’s ultimate in luxury hotels, the Mount Nelson and the Twelve Apostles at Llundudno whenever he is in Cape Town – which is often – and that while there he sips the finest wines and whiskies at tax payers’ expense.)

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, posed by the Democratic Alliance, he said the new vehicles—both 2009 BMW 750i models—cost R1 135 500 each.

His reply also reveals the cars are fitted with R148 400 worth of extras, including, in the Pretoria-based vehicle, a R23 400 “rear-seat entertainment” system and a R5 600 “high-gloss satin chrome” paint job.

Nyanda said the existing official vehicles available for him had either done more than 120 000km, or were more than five years old, and in terms of the Cabinet-approved Ministerial Handbook he was entitled to new ones.

“The vehicle for use in Cape Town was nine years old, and had reached 115 072km. The vehicle for use in Pretoria was four years old, and had reached 137 194km,” he said.

His new Pretoria vehicle has an array of extra features, including a R35 800 “innovation’s package inclusive of rear view camera, ceramic surround for controls, ambient interior lighting, adaptive headlights, high beam assist, lane departure warning [and] lane change warning”.

Its Cape Town twin is fitted with a three-spoke leather steering wheel. It too has a rear-view camera.

In a statement on Thursday, DA communications spokesperson Lindiwe Mazibuko described the purchase of the vehicles as “frivolous and a massive waste of public money”.

Her party would be submitting follow-up questions on the matter.

“During this time of economic crisis when hundreds of thousands of ordinary South Africans are losing their jobs and businesses across the country are shutting down, government should be setting the tone for austerity and sound financial management,” she said. – Sapa

26 July 2009: SABC chief financial officer Robin Nicholson told an urgently convened parliamentary inquiry into the SABC board that it had left the public broadcaster in a mess: “The board got a motor car that was rusty, with the wheels wobbly, and drove it off the cliff”, he told the inquiry.. Desmond Golding, a former member of the board said the SABC was “thick on wastage and inefficiency and thin on accountability”. He said the SABC had been “pillaged” by corrupt staff.

28 July 2009: Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda, appoints 12 industry experts to investigate problems at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

This was to “ensure a turnaround of the situation at the SABC and Sentech”, a statement said.

“Several meetings were held between the department [of communications], the SABC and Sentech to look into challenges faced by the two organisations. A 12-member team was subsequently appointed.”

The team comprises “industry and labour experts”.

It will advise the minister on “strategies to ensure that the public broadcaster achieves its constitutional mandate of providing quality and reliable public broadcasting services to the public”.

The team will conduct a review of the SABC’s human resource needs, advise the minister on the best funding model for the broadcaster and decide if the current business model between the SABC and Sentech should be changed.

The team will also review the business plans of the SABC and Sentech. (Mail & Guardian)

11 August 2009: Business Day reports that SABC News International, the corporation’s grandiose plan for an “African Al Jazeera” was bankrupt and increasingly dysfunctional

11 August 2009: Kevin Davie of the Mail & Guardian analyses the bankruptcy of SABC News International

14 August 2009: A settlement and a Restraint of Trade Agreement is signed between the chairperson of the interim board, Irene Charnley and the former GCEO, Dali Mpofu.

16 August 2009: The chairperson of the SABC interim board and MTN’s former head of North African and Middle East operations, Irene Charnley, announces that taxpayers were going to have to reward Dali Mpofu - on whose watch the SABC was bankrupted and had its news credibility destroyed - with R13.4 million to ensure that he would go away and keep quiet. This sum includes a restraint of trade agreement of R4.4m which the SABC does not have: “The Restraint of Trade payment related to this is based on the potential loss of earnings arising from restrictions placed on Adv Mpofu.  An amount of R4.4m has been agreed on, and the Department of Communications has agreed to compensate the SABC in full for such payment.”  Both Business Day and the Financial Mail unequivocally describe this as a bribe.

The R4.4 million was then paid by the Department of Communications even though this was reportedly not budgeted for.

(In June 2012, a senior former MTN executive, Chris Kilowan, tells a US civil court that he assisted Charnley to pay a two hundred thousand dollar bribe to Yusuf Saloojee, South Africa’s former ambassador to Iran, for his assistance in acquiring for MTN the mobile phone licence in Iran. Thereafter, the SA Department of Foreign Affairs suspends Saloojee before reinstating him a few months later.)

7 September 2009: Bizcommunity reports that a bankrupt SABC is closing down some of its international bureaux:

We are closing down another five of our international news bureaux in Beijing (China), Dakar (Senegal), Brussels (Belgium), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and one of the two offices in New York (US),” Prof Phil Mtimkulu, interim board deputy chair standing in for absent chair Irene Charnley, told a press briefing held late last week, Friday, 4 September 2009, at the SABC headquarters in Johannesburg.

He also said the SABC is scaling down its news operations in other international countries, actively keeping SA correspondents in London (UK), Harare (Zimbabwe) and the United Nations in New York, but contracting locally-based journalists from Kenya and Nigeria to file reports from these countries.

The process of closing these bureaux began on Friday and all closures will be fully completed by the end of December 2009. We are closing down another five of our international news bureaux in Beijing (China), Dakar (Senegal), Brussels (Belgium), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and one of the two offices in New York (US),” Prof Phil Mtimkulu, interim board deputy chair standing in for absent chair Irene Charnley, told a press briefing held late last week, Friday, 4 September 2009, at the SABC headquarters in Johannesburg.

He also said the SABC is scaling down its news operations in other international countries, actively keeping SA correspondents in London (UK), Harare (Zimbabwe) and the United Nations in New York, but contracting locally-based journalists from Kenya and Nigeria to file reports from these countries.

The process of closing these bureaux began on Friday and all closures will be fully completed by the end of December 2009.

16 September 2009: Bua News reports that the bankrupt SABC under an interim board had begun shutting down operations at five of its international news bureaus as it continued to scale down its operations in key African and international countries. The broadcaster would close its bureaus in Beijing, Dakar, Brussels, Sao Paulo and one of the two offices in New York.

The closing of the bureaus began on Friday while all closures will be fully completed by the end of the year. The SABC has already closed its offices in Jamaica and Kinshasa. However, the broadcaster will continue to have correspondents in Harare in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya, the United Kingdom as well as the United Nations in New York.

The SABC's interim board chairperson, Irene Charnley, said the broadcaster's continued presence in these countries would ensure that it could continue to deliver diverse and relevant African and international news and current affairs to its audiences.

According to the board, the closure of the offices was decided on after careful consideration of the broadcaster's mandate and the need to ensure that it brings its costs in line with its revenue. The approved budget for bureaus for this year was under R37 million. But Charnley explained that if the news bureaus had continued, this spending was projected to have been R60 million in excess of budget. "With the closures, including the costs related to shutting these down, we will save a minimum of just over R7 million," she said.

18 September 2009: The Auditor General submits a report detailing massive corruption:

24 September 2009: Report by auditor general reveals that Dali Mpofu and Mafika Sihlali signed off a R1.7-billion deal without authority. No action is taken.   

2 October 2009: The Mail & Guardian reveals that four top executives at the crisis-ridden SABC—including chief financial officer Robin Nicholson and the group executive of content enterprises Mvuso Mbebe—have been asked to supply reasons to the interim SABC board why they should not be suspended.

5 November 2009: Bantu Holomisa of the UDM submits a letter to the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications, Ismail Vadi, in which he seeks answers to the role played by Matilda Gaboo, a close friend of Matthews Phosa, in alleged corruption at the SABC.

8 November 2009: The Star reveals that the SABC has been paying a consultancy half a million rand a month.

17 November 2009: The SABC announces that it will not broadcast a documentary offered to it by Health E highlighting the role that President Thabo Mbeki’s AIDs policies played in the country’s rate of death as a result of the pandemic.  The programme is then offered to eTV which agrees to broadcast it.

“The film looks at the havoc that Aids denialism has wreaked,” said 3rd Degree executive producer Debora Patta.

“It’s a damning documentary. We offered Mbeki a chance to respond, and he declined.”

Health-e said the SABC did not refuse to air the documentary, but took too long to decide whether or not to use it.

“They never refused to air it,” said Cullinan. “They took a long time to decide whether they wanted it. They never gave us a reason why.”

Cullinan said financial concerns forced them to look elsewhere to broadcast the documentary.

The documentary, entitled The Price of Denial, investigates the impact of former president Mbeki’s government’s denial about HIV/Aids and treatment for ordinary South Africans living with HIV/Aids. It was produced by Anna-Maria Lombard, winner of the CNN African Journalist of the Year 2009 Award for HIV/Aids reporting.

It quotes a 2008 Harvard University study, led by Harvard-based Zimbabwean physician Dr Pride Chigwedere, which found that Mbeki and Tshabalala-Msimang were directly responsible for more than 330 000 Aids-related deaths during their tenure.

17 November 2009: eTV’s investigative news programme, 3rd Degree announces that it will broadcast a documentary on the role that former President Thabo Mbeki played in the country’s AIDs crisis – after the SABC refused to screen it:;wap2

22 November 2009: Weekend Argus reveals that SABC political reporter, Sophie Mokoena,  an avowed supporter of former President Thabo Mbeki who became a multimillionaire overnight when she was the recipient of Bato Bhonke shares from Tokyo Sexwale, is facing disciplinary action for calling rival radio station, 702, under a pseudonym to undermine the state broadcaster.

Weekend Argus has obtained a copy of the charge sheet, which says Mokoena is to be 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 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.

"That conduct constitutes an act of dishonesty which has a direct bearing on your reliability, integrity and credibility as an SABC journalist, which situation in turn inflicts serious damage to the SABC news brand."

Under the charge of bringing the SABC into disrepute, Mokoena is accused of "making disparaging statements about the SABC and SABC management" when she called the talk show.

"Should these facts be proven, it will constitute an act of non-compliance with the duties of your contract of employment (and) alternatively contravention of SABC rules and regulations."

Mokoena is also accused of contravening employment regulations by taking part in a show on a radio station that operates in competition with the SABC without permission.

24 November 2009: Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda announces that Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan had approved the SABC’s application for a R1.5 billion bailout.

According to the Treasury, a "draw-down" of R1bn would be made available immediately.

The remaining R473m would be subject to the broadcaster presenting a plan with clear revenue targets and cost-cutting measures, to enable effective oversight and monitoring

10 December 2009: The Paris-based agent for the Confederation of African Football (CAF) serves a summons on the cash-strapped South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for money it claims it is owed for a R1-billion contract it signed with the broadcaster.

The contract was raised in Parliament in November 2009 by interim board member and advocate Leslie Sedibe, who described it as "shocking". Attempts were being made to renegotiate the contract, but CAF agent SportFive is understood to have served a summons on the SABC.

At the end of 2009 Mvuzo Mbebe, the group executive for content enterprises, signed a R1-billion deal for the TV rights to all CAF games in the next eight years. The corporation's interim board has since suspended Mbebe.

The extraordinary price paid for the contract was allegedly not authorised by the former SABC board, which was aware of the crippling funding crisis gripping the broadcaster. Mbebe signed the contract at a time of mounting SABC debt, when senior executives had already been briefed on two occasions about the broadcaster's financial crisis.

SABC sources told the Mail & Guardian the corporation's chief financial officer, Robin Nicholson, had repudiated the deal. Mbebe and Nicholson flew to Paris in February this year to renegotiate the contract. It is understood that the guarantee was dropped and the terms of payment renegotiated.

15 December 2009: President Jacob Zuma announces the new SABC board. In terms of section 13(3) of the Broadcasting Act, the President designated Dr Ben Ngubane as Chairperson of the Board and Felleng Sekha as Deputy. The other members are: Cedric Sabelo Gina, Phillipa "Pippa" Green, Peter John Harris, Barbara Masekela, Magathe Mello, Nkotomane Motsepe, David Niddrie, Claire O'Neil, Felleng Sekha, Suzanne Vos and Desmond Golding

17 December 2009: The Democratic Alliance on Thursday said new SABC chief executive Solly Mokoetle had undermined the public broadcaster's independence by saying he was accountable to Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.

The party pointed out that he should rather consider himself accountable to the SABC board and to Parliament.

Mokoetle reportedly said in a radio interview that he considered himself accountable first to Nyanda.

"By pledging his allegiance to the government and not to the board Mr Mokoetla has made exactly the wrong start to his new position.

"His pronouncement undermines good corporate governance and the independence of a public broadcaster which is already on shaky ground," said DA spokeswoman and MP Lindiwe Mazibuko.


1 January 2010: Solly Mokoetle takes up his appointment as SABC CEO on a five year contract. He was appointed by the board’s interim chair, Irene Charnley (later implicated in an MTN bribery scandal) despite the fact that he had left the SABC under a cloud in December 2006 after a damning audit report compiled by Gobodo Forensic and Investigative Accounting in 2005. The report found he had badly failed in his corporate governance duties.

A year after he was deployed he was gone, happily pocketing a R3.4-million golden handshake – not a bad return for a year’s “work” in which he proved himself  unable to implement a promised ‘turnaround strategy” and at constant loggerheads with the SABC board.

5 January 2010: COPE calls on Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda to explain the appointment of Solly Mokoetle as SABC chief executive officer.

Cope said in a statement it had learned that Mokoetle was "subjected to a disciplinary process" when he was chief operations officer at the SABC.

"Not only this, it was recommended that due to the nature of the charges he was found guilty of, Mr Mokoetle be criminally charged."

"Despite this, the minister has seen fit to appoint this person as CEO of the SABC."

15 January 2010: The new SABC CEO, Solly Mokoetle, vows to restore the integrity of the SABC

20 February 2010: Gareth van Onselen, DA Executive Director of Communications reveals in a press release that, with the ANC’s education policy a catastrophic disaster, the DA notified all media that Helen Zille would be the main speaker at a national education campaign in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria. An hour before the event, SABC TV pulled its cameras off the launch, refusing to give an explanation for why, and despite confirming that they would be in attendance a few days prior. Indeed they confirmed they would be there the night before.

Every other media outlet in the country was present at the launch to cover primarily the speech by DA Leader Helen Zille. Even SABC Radio was in attendance. It is indisputable that this event constituted significant news.

The DA tried to contact four or five key individuals at the SABC and none of them were able or willing to provide an explanation for why the cameras were pulled.

The public broadcaster's refusal to provide any explanation for why it withdrew its cameras suggests that it has an ulterior motive, and not one that has to do with accurately, objectively and fairly reporting the news to the South African public.

We will be taking the matter up with the head of news, Paul Molefe and look forward to the SABC's explanation.

12 March 2010: The Mail & Guardian calls Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda the “Minister of Luxury”.

When in Cape Town Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda lives a five-star life at the city’s top hotels—­courtesy of the taxpayer.

Since taking office in May last year, Nyanda has not spent one night in his ministerial residence.

Instead, he uses the lavish rooms of the Mount Nelson and The Twelve Apostles hotels at a minimum cost of R4 000 a night.

A Cabinet colleague of Nyanda told the Mail & Guardian that the reason Nyanda had apparently given for refusing to move into his Hooggelegen residence in sought-after Upper Claremont was because the public works department had not bought him a bed.

A senior communications department source confirmed this explanation was also doing the rounds in the department, but added that Nyanda was allegedly also unhappy that his house did not have a view.

Although Nyanda’s spokesperson strongly denied this, the department of public works confirmed on Thursday that Nyanda hadn’t moved in because of a delay with the delivery of furniture “to accommodate him”. Public works spokesperson Thamsanqa Mchunu confirmed that Nyanda’s furniture finally arrived on February 5 and February 26.

But communications department spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso told the M&G on Thursday the house “[was] not ready for occupation”. He confirmed that the communications department has been paying for Nyanda to live in Cape Town hotels since his appointment in May last year.

According to the M&G‘s information, Nyanda stays in the hotels an average of four nights when he visits Cape Town to attend Parliament. If he attended all National Assembly and special sittings since taking office, he would have spent about 88 nights in Cape hotels.

According to its website, The Twelve Apostles charges R4 915 a night for a luxury room and the cheapest suite available costs R8 055 a night.

The M&G was reliably told that Nyanda stayed in a “luxury suite” at this hotel.

The luxury suite at the Mount ­Nelson that Nyanda uses normally costs R11 095 a night, but hotel invoices in the M&G‘s possession indicate that he pays R4 995 nightly for an “accommodation package”.

If he splits his stays between the two hotels, he could easily have racked up a bill of R400 000 since May last year.

Rikhotso declined to provide a breakdown of Nyanda’s hotel stays, saying he “was not in a position” to do so.

Nyanda checked into the luxury suite at the five-star Mount Nelson this week for four nights. The M&G‘s photographer spotted him leaving the hotel with two bodyguards on Wednesday morning.

When the M&G called the hotel on Wednesday evening, we were transferred to Nyanda’s room and he answered the phone.

The M&G is in possession of two Mount Nelson invoices for Nyanda’s stays in February this year. From February 6 to February 12 he ran up a bill of R33 330 for six nights’ accommodation, food, mini-bar expenses and laundry services.

Between February 14 and February 19, the hotel billed Nyanda R21 417 for four nights’ accommodation and food.

The hotel confirmed that Nyanda stayed at the Mount Nelson from February 19 to February 23.

A policeman at the double-storey Hooggelegen mansion allocated to Nyanda confirmed that it was ­Nyanda’s official residence, but that the minister had not yet moved in. He said he thought this was because renovations were taking place.

‘Malicious’ claim

From outside the house the M&G could see no sign of renovations.

Another source in the communications department said Nyanda wanted to swap his Cape Town mansion with that of Science and Technology Minister Naledi ­Pandor, a neighbour of President Jacob Zuma. Rikhotso called the claim “malicious”.

Pandor lives in Groote Schuur Estate, where Zuma and most of his ministers reside.

“First the BMW, now this. It’s very embarrassing to leaders of the ANC,” a senior ANC national executive committee member remarked this week.

“How do you tell people to work together with us for a better future when a minister is willing to spend almost 10 grand in one night on accommodation?”

Last year Nyanda came under fire for spending R2,4-million on two luxury BMWs for his Cape Town and Pretoria offices.

Last week the M&G went on a ­conducted tour of Nyanda’s usual suite at the Mount Nelson. The sweeping marbled entrance to the Lord Nelson suite is breathtaking and the rooms are decorated in a modern colonial style.

Superbly done out by Cape ­decorator Graham Viney in creamy silk fabrics, it has a decadently ­lavish interior.

A mirror image of the neighbouring suite that talk show host Oprah Winfrey occupied when she visited Cape Town, it is surrounded by magnificent gardens.

Staff at the glamorous five-star Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, which stands like a glossy beacon above Llandudno Beach, said the minister booked “quite a number of rooms” when he came to stay.

Nyanda had stayed there recently, said a staffer, while another insisted that he had booked out of The Twelve Apostles last Thursday.

Surrounded by the Table Mountain National Park, this boutique hotel is decked out in an eclectic contemporary African style and boasts breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. It also has 24-hour room service and a luxury spa.

12 March 2010: The Mail & Guardian reports that opposition parties have slammed Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda’s “champagne and caviar” lifestyle.

Cope MP Juli Kilian added her voice to that of the South African Students Congress (Sasco) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Friday who criticised Nyanda for spending thousands of rands on hotel stays at the luxury Mount Nelson and Twelve Apostles hotels.

“It is insensitive to the plight of the poor and the tax burden of the middle class to scandalously waste public money on luxurious hotels. South Africans are battling to survive the effects of the economic meltdown. The minister cannot sustain a caviar and silk lifestyle at the cost of hard-working South Africans, who are battling to honour their financial commitments,” said Kilian.

Cope will further probe the matter “until all facts have emerged”.

Sasco earlier demanded of Nyanda to pay back the money spent on hotel accommodation while he waited for furniture to be delivered to his official residence.


“We are enraged and in fact we are disgusted as the South African Students Congress by this opulence so brazenly enjoyed by comrade Nyanda at the expense of the population,” Sasco said in a statement. “Thousands of students voted for the ANC out of the hope that it would deliver a better life for all and not a better life for its ministers. The ANC must reign in on comrade Nyanda otherwise he will cost us badly as the movement in the coming local government elections.”

Sasco called on government to deduct the hotel costs from Nyanda’s salary “as punishment”.

DA MP Lindiwe Mazibuko said on Friday her party will submit parliamentary questions to determine at what cost Nyanda has been staying at the luxury hotels.

Nyanda’s spokesperson confirmed to the M&G that he was staying at the hotels, but declined to confirm the total amount spent so far on luxury accommodation.

“Since it is unclear exactly how much has been spent on luxury hotels for the minister since he assumed office in May last year, we will be asking parliamentary questions to establish this,” said Mazibuko.

She added: “Minister Nyanda, having acquired the most expensive ministerial car to date at the expense of the struggling South African taxpayer, is no stranger to this controversy. The South African public cannot be expected to continue footing the bill for the ANC government’s taste for big spending—particularly while millions of our people continue to live in abject poverty.”

Kilian quipped that the ANC’s slogan should be amended to read: “Working together we can get more”.

12 March 2010: Kate Skinner of the SOS coalition reveals that the documentation relating to the alleged looting of the SABC by Matilda Gaboo, a close friend of Matthews Phosa, has been handed to the SAPS.

31 March 2010: Two years and eight months after it was launched, the costly “African Al Jazeera” folly of Snuki Zikalala, Eddie Funde and Christine Qunta, otherwise known as SABC News International, closes down. It has cost about half a billion rand, has an audience limited to, at most, a few thousand people and has produced no advertising revenue.

6 April 2010: The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) demands the immediate reinstatement of suspended SABC3 news anchor Mahendra Raghunath.

“His suspension is a continuation of the Snukification of the SABC news division by both acting head of news Phil Molefe and SABC TV news head Amrit Manga,”  CWU spokesperson Matankana Mothapo said in a statement.

8 April 2010: ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema explodes in an abusive tirade during a news conference at Luthuli House against BBC journalist Jonah Fisher. Before demanding that Fisher leave, Malema said:We don’t force anybody to come here. We would be worried if the SABC doesn’t come, but the rest of you to be honest, we really don’t care. SABC is our own but the rest, it’s OK whether you come or you don’t come. We don’t have a problem.”

25 April 2010: Loyiso Sidimba reveals in Rapport that the SABC’s former head of Programme Content, Mvuzo Mbebe, had, without authorization, spent more than a billion rand on programmes. He had also claimed R285 000 for petrol at a time when the Corporation was effectively bankrupt.

The SABC sought to discipline Mbebe and the matter went to the Labour Court in Johannesburg. Among the concerns about Mbebe’s performance as indicated in the SABC’s submissions were:

  • An acknowledgement of debt for R94.4-million which, without having the authority, he signed with Super Sport
  • Paying more than R100-million over two years for Disney cartoons
  • Purchasing 260 episodes of Days of our Lives for R46-million
  • Approving three motivations of R13.4-million for unspecified licensing rights
  • Buying 121 programmes for R18-million
  • Entering into a licensing agreement for unspecified programme content costing R9.3-million
  • Exceeding his powers by entering into agreements of more than R5.5 – million
  • He was also charged with excessive spending for putting in petrol claims of R285 000 between January 2007 and July 2009

12 May 2010: A reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question reveals that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) spent R 725 000 on acquiring the rights to the film, Ungumuntu Ngabantu: Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, an inaccurate "documentary" account of the life of President Zuma. In reply to a DA question, the Minister of Communications described the documentary on President Zuma as 'factually correct'. However, the DA, on viewing the DVD said that significant portions of Mr Zuma's life had been omitted from this account. “In fact, remarkably, the documentary does not even deal with the corruption charges which were brought against Mr Zuma in 2007. The programme can rightly be described as propaganda since its purpose is clearly to promote the President, regardless of the facts, rather than to inform the public as to his history.”

21 May 2010: The National Union of Mineworkers (NUMSA) and Cosatu expressed concern that with the “seemingly  unprocedural and flawed “ appointment of Phil Molefe as the SABC’s head of news by chairman Dr Ben Ngubane  and Group Chief Executive Solly Mokoetle, the broadcaster was being turned into a “propaganda machine”.

“This appointment raises serious suspicions that the GCEO (SABC group chief executive Solly Mokoetle) acted to appease certain individuals who want to use the SABC as their propaganda spewing machine."

The union demanded that the appointment of a new news chief to fill the long-vacant post of Snuki Zikalala be done "through a transparent and open process".

It said the decision to appoint Molefe "compromises the board’s immediate mandate of rebuilding the public broadcaster from the board’s previous squabbles and shenanigans".

Molefe has been acting in the position since Zikalala left more than a year ago.

There was considerable confusion on Friday as to whether he had indeed been appointed on a permanent basis.

Key positions filled

Mokoetle on Thursday issued a statement saying: "The board and I are happy that this matter has been brought to finality as promised as this was a key vacant position that needed to be filled to stabilise the corporation."

But newspapers reported on Friday that Felleng Sekha, the deputy chairperson of the SABC board and head of the board's news subcommittee, said the board had yet to take a decision.

The Cape Times said Sekha recorded an interview for SABC's PM Live radio programme in which she distanced herself from the executive's decision but it was never aired.

The newspaper quoted fellow board member David Niddrie as saying: "I was surprised to learn of the appointment."

"There was a panel delegated to consider and recommend to the board ... We have not received those recommendations."

23 May 2010: The Mail & Guardian reports that the SABC’s board contends that the unilateral appointment of Phil Molefe as the broadcaster’s head of news by Ngubane and   Mokoetle was unlawful.

The SABC board resolved that the purported appointment of the group executive news and current affairs head, Mr Phil Molefe is null and void and has no legal effect," spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said.

The statement follows a board meeting held after Molefe's appointment. Molefe had been acting in the position for a year.

"In a special board meeting the board heard legal opinion that the appointment was not lawful because it had not been made by the board in a manner required by the SABC's memorandum and articles of association.

"The articles of association and delegation of authority framework states that appointments at a group executive level must be made by the board," Kganyago said.

The ten members of the 12 member board who attended the meeting on agreed to continue with the "process of assessing candidates that had not yet been concluded".

"The decision taken by the board is not intended to harm or prejudice any candidate but is solely aimed at conforming to corporate governance rules.

"It should be stressed that the board regrets any embarrassment to any of the candidates for the position of chief executive news and current affairs," he said.

25 May 2010: The Media Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA) welcomes the decision by the SABC board to nullify the appointment of Phil Molefe as head of the news division.

"Mwasa is relieved at the decision by the SABC board to nullify the undemocratic process which resulted in Mr Phil Molefe being installed," Mwasa acting general secretary Ernest Dlamini said.

"We wish to applaud those men and women of integrity in the board who stood against manipulation by a few whose agenda is... anomalous with good governance in the SABC."

Phil Molefe, who until last week was the acting head of news at the SABC, was confirmed in his position by group chief executive Solly Mokoetle and board chairperson Ben Ngubane.

This was done without the approval of the rest of the board.

3 June 2010: Cape Town – Government departments were ordered not to splurge on 2010 World Cup tickets, spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Thursday after it emerged that state entities and the SABC spent nearly R6m on securing match seats.

"Advice has been given to departments, government departments, not to purchase, but we are aware that some agencies, state agencies, may be acquiring tickets for a variety of reasons," he told a post-Cabinet briefing.

Maseko declined to comment on the SABC's decision to spend R3.3m on 2000 tickets for the June 11-July 11 soccer extravaganza and buying sprees by other state bodies, including one government department.

The DA sharply criticised the buying spree and said it would ask Treasury to investigate all ticket purchases at all levels of government as cases of irregular expenditure.

"The question is why those who are well-placed to be able to afford tickets are now getting state-subsidised tickets, when many ordinary South Africans have been unable to get tickets," DA MP Niekie van den Berg said.

"If anyone should be getting state-subsidised tickets, it is poor South Africans who cannot afford them. Those who can afford tickets should pay their way to the matches; they should not get them free from the state, via the SABC or any other state entity."

He said the SABC could not justify buying tickets "given that entity's current financial status".

"In 2009, the SABC received a R1.4bn guarantee from the national Treasury. The guarantee was awarded with the condition that the SABC would institute cost-cutting measures."


8 June 2010: The SABC board sends a memorandum to Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda, detailing an irrevocable breakdown in trust with board chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane. The catalyst was Ngubane’s unilateral and illegal attempt to appoint Phil Molefe as CE of News:

This memorandum sets out the details of and background to a purported appointment of a candidate the vacant post of group executive: news and current affairs (GE News) of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on 20 May 2110. It also sets out the background to and circumstances leading up to decisions by a special sitting of the Board of directors of the SABC on 22 May 2010. It's divided into four sections:

  1. The purported appointment of the GE News by the chairperson and events leading up to and consequent upon the purported appointment.
  2. Other material breaches by the chairperson of statutory requirements and governance protocols of governance protocols of concern to the Baard, including attempts to breach the Public Finance Management Act, and by the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), including actions which the Board is advised constitute dereliction of duty.
  3. Decisions of the Board on 22 May 2010:
    • The purported appointment is nuIl and void
    • Unanimous decision by non-executives that their relationship with and trust the chairperson have irrevocably broken down.
  4. Initiatives by the Board to integrate the chairperson into Board, and to consult its statutory stakeholders (the Executive authority and Accounting Authority).

As is clear from the memorandum, the chairperson has

  • Engaged in a consistent pattern of behaviour through which he has sought to usurp the proper authority of the Board
  • Materially breached his statutory obligations under the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), the Broadcasting Act (the Act), and the requirements of the SABC Memorandum and Articles of Association (the Articles). In doing so he has placed the Board in broach of nine of the 12 duties set out in the Articles which are collectively binding on directors
  • Placed both the SABC and individual directors at risk of serious financial liability and of potential civil litigation or criminal prosecution
  • Delayed and prevented the development and implementation of coherent and statutorily-compliant process of turning the SABC around and re-establishing it as a financially sustainable entity.

The Board has taken all reasonable steps to attempt both to integrate the chairperson into a system which operates in a consistent and compliant manner, and to enlighten him as to the obligations of the Board collectively and of directors individually.

It has also repeatedly attempted to advise and inform the GCEO of his obligations and responsibilities.

July 2010: Helen Zille and Lindiwe Mazibuko of the DA hold a meeting with the chairman of the SABC board, Dr Ben Ngubane. During the meeting Zille asks Ngubane to repudiate what  Julius Malema had said during his abusive tirade against BBC journalist Jonah Fisher three months earlier: We don’t force anybody to come here. We would be worried if the SABC doesn’t come, but the rest of you to be honest, we really don’t care. SABC is our own but the rest, it’s OK whether you come or you don’t come. We don’t have a problem.”

Ngubane angrily refused to distance the SABC from Malema’s statement.

15 July 2010: Communications Minister, Siphiwe Nyanda denies “false and malicious” reports that he is going to dismiss his department’s director general Mamodupi Mohlala, following alleged disagreements over the issuing of tenders by the department and other matters. Business Day reported that Nyanda was expected to suspend Mohlala following repeated disagreements over tenders she refused to sign.

It was understood that Mohlala warned Nyanda this week that removing the administration of tenders from her would violate the PFMA. His spokesman, Tiyani Rikhotso, said:  "Minister Nyanda dismisses the allegations contained in the report as false, spurious and malicious." Two weeks later, all these denials are proved to be untrue when Mohlala is dismissed.

16 July 2010: The Mail & Guardian reveals further details of Communications Minister, Siphiwe Naynda’s lavish lifestyle lived at tax payers’ expense:

While dining alone during his stay at the five-star Mount Nelson hotel in September last year, Nyanda did not stint on life’s finer pleasures, invoices reveal. The minister’s meal on September 8 last year at the hotel’s acclaimed Cape Colony Restaurant started with oysters, followed by a main course of springbok loin and was washed down with a bottle of mineral water and two glasses of Bordeaux-style red Meerlust Rubicon. The wine cost R330 and the meal for one took the bill to R700, tip included.

Two days later, Nyanda dropped in at the Planet Champagne bar at the Mount Nelson, where he ordered two glasses of the finest Hennessey French cognac, which cost the taxpayer R330.

Dining with two guests while staying at the five-star Twelve Apostles hotel in November last year, Nyanda ordered a bottle of Stellenbosch’s celebrated Rust en Vrede estate wine for R725, pushing the bill up to R1 660.

23 July 2012: Despite denials less than a fortnight previously, Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda dismisses his Director General Mamodupi Mohlala. Business Day had reported that Mohlala had refused to approve tenders because they had been awarded “to people close to Nyanda” and his company, General Nyanda Security Services.

29 July 2010: The director-general of the Communications Department, Mamodupi Mohlala, who was dismissed by the Minister of Communications, Siphiwe Nyanda tells the Johannesburg Labour Court that she was instructed to suspend the awarding of tenders until Nyanda had approved them, and to flout employment regulations.

Mohlala lifted the veil on the reasons that led to her criticism of Nyanda in an affidavit filed at the Johannesburg Labour Court. In her appeal to be reinstated after being axed, Mohlala listed several instances that led to her 'invalid, unlawful and unfair' dismissal. She details several cellphone messages from Nyanda's chief of staff, Alfred Mashishi, in which the Minister instructed her 'that all tenders issued or still to be issued ... be suspended, until discussed and approved by the Minister'. Also in her affidavit is a letter from Mashishi, instructing her to suspend several tenders. Mohlala also claims that Nyanda wanted her to reinstate suspended human resources director Basani Baloyi and to drop all legal proceedings against her despite legal advice that a Labour Court ruling to reinstate Baloyi was flawed. Nyanda's spokesperson, Tiyani Rikhotso, said their legal team was studying the paper and was working on a response.

Mohlala also referred to a turbulent meeting with Nyanda on 16 July, which ended in an alleged instruction by the Minister to call a media conference where Mohlala was expected to deny all the allegations of tender interferences. According to a Sake24 report, Mohlala says she asked for time to think about it, but was sacked before the issue was discussed again.

However Juli Kilian, the COPE spokesperson on communication said her party, “...has all along warned that the appointment of Ms Mohlala was problematic – the process followed during the appointment process as well as her suitability for the post.”

She says Cope believes communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda erred when he allowed Mohlala to single-handedly eradicate the department's entire corporate memory, under the guise of taking action against corrupt officials, and replacing them with friends and acquaintances.

Almost all of the DOC's deputy directors-general have either resigned, or been placed on suspension following a forensic audit, with only permanently appointed deputy director-general Harold Wesso remaining.

Kilian says Cope supports the decision to find a more suitable head for this critically strategic department.

“Cope, however, believes that due process should be followed to dismiss her. We also believe the minister's decision to dismiss her should not be based on an irretrievable breakdown in trust between him and her, but rather on the basis of her lack of strategic leadership, and on the basis of irreparable damage done to the department and agencies that report to it,” Kilian says.

She adds that Cope believes the issue of allegedly awarding tenders to companies closely associated to the minister should be investigated. “Ms Mohlala's claims should not summarily be dismissed, but instead should be thoroughly investigated.”

13 August 2010: SAPA  reveals that the Save our SABC" (SOS) campaign, a coalition of trade unions and NGOs, has written a letter to parliament’s portfolio committee on communications in which it blames the problems being experienced by the SABC board on the "persistent undermining" of the board by chief executive Solly Mokoetle and chairperson Ben Ngubane.

The coalition, whose members include the Congress of SA Trade Unions, the Freedom of Expression Institute and the Media Institute of Southern Africa, said in the letter that Mokoetle had ignored and over-turned board decisions and had been supported by Ngubane.

"SOS's understanding is that at the heart of the SABC's ongoing troubles is the persistent undermining of the governance role of the board," a statement from the coalition said.

"The most immediate manifestations of this are power battles over the performance of the group CEO, Solly Mokoetle.

"Mr Mokoetle has ignored and overturned board decisions and has been supported in this by the chair of the SABC, Dr Ngubane, who appears disinterested in the opinion of the majority of the board."

The coalition said Ngubane appeared to believe that he did not need the approval of his board on any matter, "or that their strong disapproval should sway his unilateral decisions.

"Board meetings have been constantly cancelled since May 2010, leading to a situation where no real interrogation and action is being taken against the chair.

"Further, no real oversight has been taken over key governance and financial issues for a number of months."

No strategy

SOS had noted that there was "a very active and transparent" public nomination process for the new board, which in general provided a competent set of board members.

"However, over the last months, effective oversight and leadership of the SABC has suffered deeply due to a stand-off between the chair of the board and CEO and the rest of the board members.

"This has deepened the political, economic and governance crises the SABC has faced over a number of years.

"After eight months in office the board has not been able to draft a critical turn-around strategy for the corporation."

It said the prospect of the resignation of numerous members of the board would be devastating for the future of the public broadcaster.

"The SABC can only be stabilised and begin to thrive if the foundational governance principles are adhered to.

"At present the institution is being torn asunder for what can only be described as dubious reasons."

The SOS said without a functioning board the public would continue to see repeats on their screens, the independent production sector would continue to shrink alongside the SABC's income and the morale of SABC staff would continue to drop.

"The SABC will continue to lose audience share in an increasingly competitive environment," the letter said.

The broadcaster's board has been summoned by the communications committee to explain the apparent "crisis".

Committee chairperson Ismail Vadi said that the decision to call in the entire board on August 24 had been prompted by an apparent corporate governance crisis within the board.

13 August 2010: Helen Zille writes on His Masters Voice: How Zuma Neutered the SABC

20 August 2010: Glynnis Underhill writes in the Mail & Guardian about the growing discontent within the SABC board about the dictatorial behavior of chairman Dr Ben Ngubane

24 August 2010: The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and the Press Gallery Association (PGA) welcomed the decision by the Western Cape High Court to grant an interim interdict against the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications holding a hearing of a briefing by the SA Broadcasting Corporation behind closed doors. The hearing would have discussed the SABC’s “functionality”, its turnaround strategy for the broadcaster and the appointment of SABC Group chief executive Solly Mokoetle.

A parliamentary spokesman had said that the decision to exclude the media and public was because of what emerged from the briefing “related to pending litigation or may lead to litigation’’ and the committee wanted to demonstrate its respect for legal processes.

However, Sanef and the PGA said they were deeply concerned by the committee’s decision which had the effect of undermining constitutional values of openness and transparency relating to the affairs of the SABC, a public body, and therefore adversely affecting the constitutional rights of the public to receive information of clear public interest and importance.

27 August 2010: SABC board suspends CEO Solly Mokoetle pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

27 August 2010: The Mail & Guardian reports that the newly appointed executive manager for stakeholder management at the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is known by SABC staff as the “conduit” because of the close relationship he claims to have with President Jacob Zuma.

4 September 2010: William Saunderson Meyer refers in a Mail & Guardian ‘Thought Leader’ column  to the fact that the SABC had (through Regional Editor Jeffrey Twala) approached the DA-controlled provincial government of the Western Cape and offered, in return for a mere one million rand, to feature its accomplishments on its Interface television programme. The the SABC’s apparent bewilderment, the DA had not only refused, but questioned the ethics of this approach.

The SABC has not a clue of how it should approach its job. In return for just under a quarter of a million rand (including R3 000 for toilet hire) the SABC has offered to feature the achievements of the Western Cape government on its flagship current affairs television programme, Interface.

The SABC is clearly taken aback at the Democratic Alliance-controlled Western Cape getting on its high horse over this. After all, it reasons, newspapers publish “advertorial” sections all the time.

The difference, of course, is that newspapers are profit-making entities and such advertorial is clearly marked, identifying it as puffery and leaving it little credibility. Insulated as it is by taxpayer funding from commercial pressures, the SABC should be tackling topics without fear or favour, not trimming its jib to the highest bidder.

7 October 2010: The Democratic Alliance holds a news conference to highlight the fact that 13 out of 14 DA-run municipalities had spent 100% of their Municipal Infrastructure Grant, for the previous financial year. In contrast to this, the DA, pointed out, 51 non DA-run municipalities spent less than 50% of their budget and 10 spent 0%. “And yet the SABC, despite being at the press conference, failed in its television and radio bulletins to mention the DA’s performance - the very purpose behind the press conference.

“On one SABC 3 bulletin, the DA was simply portrayed as criticising the poor performance of the ANC. On another SABC 2 bulletin, the SABC went even further than this, editing out all reference to the DA (i.e. excluding the generic visual references to the party contained in other stories).

“In fact, its reporter made sure the phrase “Democratic Alliance” wasn’t mentioned once in its sham bulletin on the press conference. In doing so, it suppressed the news; and the fact that where the DA governs, it delivers services to a higher standard than where the ANC does.

“In short, the SABC suppressed that information which put the DA in a favourable light. The only plausible reason can be that it was acting to protect the interests of the ANC.”

15 October 2010: SABC board member, David Niddrie, resigns

1 September 2010: The DA reveals that Jeffrey Twala (excoriated in parliament by the IFP’s Suzanne Vos for alleged corruption, human rights abuses on his staff and blatant news bias and the subject of an entire page in Die Burger on 14 July 2009 for the same reasons) had tried to get the DA to pay R217, 700 for positive coverage on its Interface news programme which the Party flatly rejected. Niekie van den Berg, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Communications said: “It is simply astounding to note that SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago has admitted that, in addition to attempting to sell space on flagship current affairs show Interface, the SABC has also been receiving payment from government in return for their appearance on SABC 2 news programme Morning Live, and unnamed radio shows.

 “It is disturbing that Mr. Kganyago attempts to justify the SABC’s actions by claiming that what has happened is analogous to the use of newspaper advertorials. That is completely disingenuous. Mr. Kganyago acts as if there is no difference between commercial advertising and hard news content. If a newspaper runs an advertorial, it is clearly labeled as such and is not disguised as news or opinion presented objectively on its own merits. Likewise, it is accepted practice that a television programme that presents itself as an objective news programme should make judgments about what content to run, and what not to run, based solely upon the objective criteria of what is newsworthy. The fact is, these programmes – Interface, Morning Live and the unidentified radio programmes – are broadcasting government propaganda, on condition of being paid for it, and they are presenting these items as if they were ordinary news content. That is absolutely scandalous”.

4 October 2010: The Press Ombudsman dismisses the SABC’s complaint about a Sunday Times article  published on July 11, 2010 and headlined SABC news boss Molefe bans Mbeki - Luthuli House refuses to say if it gave the order.

The adjudicating panel expressed concern that news boss, Phil Molefe, who is said to have given the order to ban the use of former President Thabo Mbeki from SABC news bulletins, refused to appear before it to testify. “The panel finds this strange, as he was a key person to the story. This did not help much to convince the panel of the claimed untruthfulness of the newspaper's story.”

The adjudicating panel also expressed the view that the SABC’s lawyers (Chuene Incorporated) had tried to mislead it:

“After repeated cross-questioning, the SABC conceded, towards the end of the hearing, that there had not been a "live interview" with Mbeki as Chuene had argued for most of the hearing - there was merely some pre-recorded footage of Mbeki at the Ghana flag-signing ceremony that had been flighted during the evening of July 2.

“Indeed, from the relevant footage, subsequently provided by the SABC at the panel's request, it is clear that Mbeki was in fact not interviewed - it was merely a sound bite.

“The panel's conclusion is that Mbeki was not "interviewed live", as Chuene led us to believe, and that it was telling that none of the SABC witnesses had sought to correct him until the panel asked for evidence of the interview.

“The panel was left with the impression that the SABC had tried to mislead it regarding the claim that Mbeki had been "interviewed live" after the so-called ban.”

7 October 2010: The Democratic Alliance holds a news conference to highlight the fact that 13 out of 14 DA-run municipalities had spent 100% of their Municipal Infrastructure Grant, for the last financial year. This was a significant and noteworthy achievement and demonstrated that, where the DA governs, service delivery is of a high standard. Out of the remaining 259 municipalities, the overwhelming majority of which are run by the ANC, the average spend was just 75% (indeed, 51 non DA-run municipalities spent less than 50% of their budget, 10 spent 0%).

In a subsequent media release, Gareth van Onselen, DA Executive Director of Communications, revealed that the SABC …. despite being at the press conference, failed in its television and radio bulletins to mention the DA’s performance - the very purpose behind the press conference.

On one SABC 3 bulletin, the DA was simply portrayed as criticising the poor performance of the ANC. On another SABC 2 bulletin, the SABC went even further than this, editing out all reference to the DA (i.e. excluding the generic visual references to the party contained in other stories).

In short, the SABC suppressed that information which put the DA in a favourable light. The only plausible reason can be that it was acting to protect the interests of the ANC.

Every one of the non-SABC radio stations that ran bulletins on this story carried the fact that DA administrations had comprehensively outperformed non-DA administrations, as did numerous other print and online bulletins. They carried that fact because that was the news - the very purpose of the press conference, the key statistic around which the DA’s communication was based.

Not SABC News. It suppressed that fact. In fact, its reporter made sure the phrase “Democratic Alliance” wasn’t mentioned once in its sham bulletin on the press conference. In doing so, it suppressed the news; and the fact that where the DA governs, it delivers services to a higher standard than where the ANC does.

17 October 2010: Only two months after defending his Director General Mamodupi Mohlala, the Minister of Communications General Siphiwe Nyanda attacks her.

19 October 2010: President Jacob Zuma accepts the resignation of four SABC board members, deputy chairperson Felleng Sekha and members Barbara Masekela, David Niddrie and Makgatho Mello less than a year after they were appointed.

The board felt isolated, as first the communications department and then Parliament's communications committee failed to intervene, despite the board on May 22 announcing a breakdown of trust with its chairperson Ben Ngubane.

The breakdown was over Ngubane's move to appoint Phil Molefe as head of news - while the board was reviewing candidates, it said. (SAPA)

31 October 2010: Eighteen months after he was appointed, Siphiwe Nyanda is removed from his post as Communications Minister. Few are unhappy to see him go. Here is how Wikipedia described his tenure in the post.

Nyanda was a controversial figure throughout the 18 months that he was minister of communications. Dubbed the “minister of luxury” by South Africa’s Mail & Guardian, Nyanda was alleged to have spent hundreds of thousands of rands living in a luxurious Cape Town hotel throughout his tenure because he was unhappy with the ministerial house appointed to him.[3]

At the same time as the allegations surrounding his living arrangements came to light, Nyanda’s private business was under scrutiny. A company, in which Nyanada’s family owned 45%, called GNS Risk Management Services (subsequently renamed Abalozi Security Risk Advisory Services) was accused of impropriety in a tender process in March 2010. Amongst its numerous clients were several parastatals, including Transnet Freight Rail, passenger train company Metrorail, state bus company Autopax, and the Gauteng provincial government.[4]

It later emerged that Transnet Freight Rail had been involved in the awarding of tenders without following the correct procedures. Amongst the tenders that were questioned was one security contract valued at ZAR55million, awarded to GNS Risk Management Services.[5] Transnet’s CEO, Siyabonga Gama, was dismissed when the allegations came to light. However, Nyanda was not reprimanded.[6]

In October 2010, Nyanda came under fire for the suspension of communications ministry director general Mamodupi Mohlala. It was reported that in July 2010, on the day that Nyanda axed Mohlala, she had reported tender irregularities worth ZAR70 million to the police for a fraud investigation and had reportedly called for disciplinary action against several senior civil servants.[7]

Nyanda fervently denied the allegations, labeling them “false, spurious and malicious”.[8] However, shortly after the story regarding the removal of Mohlala came out, Nyanda was removed from his position in the Ministry of Communications.[9] Despite the numerous suggestions of political impropriety, Nyanda was subsequently appointed as a parliamentary counselor to President Jacob Zuma, a position he holds today.[10]

31 October 2010: Roy Padayachie, who has been deputy minister in the Communcations Department since 29 April 2004 is appointed to replace Siphiwe Nyanda as Communications Minister. Within weeks, he is revealed by the Mail & Guardian to be just as profligate with taxpayers’ money as his predecessor who was named the “Minister of Luxury” and earns himself the name of Roy “Room Service” Padayachie.

4 November 2010: President Jacob Zuma gives the SIU the green light to investigate massive fraud and corruption at the SABC. There is evidence that some of the stolen millions have been placed in foreign bank accounts. This gives the SIU the right the right to access the accounts and documents of staff and companies suspected of a crime, and to seize assets where necessary.

The inquiry will include unlawful activities dating back as far as 2005.

The proclamation allows the SIU, which is empowered by law to inquire into and recover losses through civil lawsuits, to investigate the financial affairs of the broadcaster, paralysed by years of mismanagement and political interference, and to investigate the finances of companies and staff, as well as members of the corporation's board.

A senior SABC official said yesterday the board decided to approach the SIU for assistance after an initial investigation suggested the scope and sophistication of the crimes were "beyond the ability" of the SABC's internal investigation division.

The Department of Communications was approached to provide funding for the investigation, which required forensic research, which the minister approved.

Officials battled to quantify the amount lost over the past five years, but the SABC's annual report and a recent hearing by Parliament's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) indicates that millions may have been stolen from the SABC, and just as much lost through negligence or poor procedure

4 November 2010: Claims on the SABC by businessman Robert Gumede that Mail & Guardian investigative reporter Sam Sole was corrupt were “outrageous” and “appalling”, noseweek editor Martin Welz said

16 November 2010: On its main SABC3 7 pm television news bulletin, the state broadcaster fails to mention something which has reverberated across the English-speaking word, the engagement of Prince William and Katherine Middleton, which has just been announced by Clarence House, but it does devote a lot of time to a visiting delegation from China.

21 November 2010: The Sunday Times reveals that Roy Padayachie spent more than R2 million on luxury hotel accommodation while Deputy Communications Minister,  living it up  at tax payers’ expense like one of his ANC predecessors in this portfolio, the “Minster of Luxury”, Siphiwe Nyanda.

Room Service Roy's suite life at top hotel

Sibusiso Ngalwa

Newly appointed Minister of Communications Roy Padayachie lived in a five-star hotel several days a week for four years at a cost of around R5000 a night - a few hundred metres from his official residence, which he deemed not good enough.

Padayachie cost taxpayers an estimated R2-million while living it up at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria. That excludes his room service bill.

He lived in the Sheraton between 2004 and 2008 when he was deputy to late minister of communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.

He occupied the exclusive Club Floor suites, for which the department was billed at a government rate of between R5000 and R6000 a night - despite being given a house in the ministerial Bryntirion Estate, near the Union Buildings.

A government official privy to Padayachie's travels said he would spend up to four days a week in Pretoria when parliament was in recess.

The Sunday Times has estimated that if Padayachie spent a minimum of two nights a week at the hotel over a four-year period, his bill could have been as high as R2.3-million.

This week, he would not answer specific questions about how many days he had stayed at the hotel and what it had cost.

He was promoted to minister of communications in President Jacob Zuma's recent cabinet reshuffle. He succeeded Siphiwe Nyanda, who was axed after his controversial one-year stay in luxury Cape Town hotels that cost taxpayers R500000.

In a written reply to questions by the Sunday Times, Padayachie admitted that he had lived in the Sheraton, saying it was "unavoidable and not of my own doing".

He said the Department of Public Works was to blame, as it did not have his ministerial home ready for him to move into.

He did not respond to a claim made by one official that he had refused to take occupation of the house because he was unhappy with the furniture that public works had bought for the house.

He said the house had been allocated to him sometime in 2005, but had structural defects, which delayed his occupation.

However, in his response, he admitted that former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka had lived there in 2008 while her official residence, OR Tambo House, was being reno-vated.

Mlambo-Ngcuka is studying overseas and did not reply to questions at the time of going to press.

However, her office confirmed that she had lived in the house for a "few months".

Said Padayachie: "When the residence was ready for occupation, the house was then re-allocated to ... Mlambo-Ngcuka, who needed alternative accommodation while her official residence was undergoing renovations."

The Sunday Times can also reveal that Padayachie regularly rented a top-of-the-range E-class Mercedes-Benz during his weekend and official trips to his home town of Durban.

The car costs about R3000 a day to rent.

At one point, the department splashed out R75000 over a three-week period.

Padayachie, however, said the car was hired only for "official engagements" and that "it is mandatory for (me) to be accompanied by VIP close protectors, who drive and escort (me)".

He said he was satisfied that his expenditure during his time as deputy minister was in line with the regulations stipulated in the ministerial handbook and that he had not breached the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The former director-general in the department, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, said she was aware of Padayachie's hotel stay, adding that issues of accommodation for ministers were dealt with by the Department of Public Works.

"The point I'm making is that this is not our call ... whether he is staying in a hotel or a house, it is not one of the issues that the DG of a department would actually be responsible for."

The Sheraton's marketing manager, Willie Williams, refused to discuss Padayachie's stay, saying that it was a private matter.

"We don't give out (such) information due to privacy issues ... it doesn't matter whether it's a minister or a (private individual). It's the confidentiality we have with our guests."

Public works spokesman Thami Mchunu said the department would be able to respond only next week, as "the department is still collating the information".

21 November 2010: Communications minister Roy “Room Service” Padayachie withdraws the controversial Public Service Broadcasting Bill pending further consultation, and wants to consider new models for funding the SABC and community media.

Padayachie’s decision follows complaints from concerned groups at public hearings held in Midrand last week. The draft bill had called for, among other things, the scrapping of TV licences and for an amendment to the Income Tax Act that could have resulted in up to 1% of personal income tax being set aside for public broadcasting.

22 November 2010: Tbe Democratic Alliance asks the Public Protector to investigate the profligate lifestyle of the ANC – appointed Minister of Communication, Roy “Room Service” Padayachie.

DA wants Padayachie's hotel stay probed

Natasha Michael

22 November 2010

Natasha Michael requests that Public Protector investigate Sunday Times report

Communications Minister's expenses: DA writes to Public Protector

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will today be writing to the Public Protector requesting that she investigate the new Minister of Communications, Roy Padayachie's, excessive accommodation bill (see Sunday Times report).

Reports in the media indicate that during his tenure as the deputy minister of communications, Mr. Padaycahie spent over R2 million of state funds on luxury accommodation and room service bills at Pretoria's five-star luxury Sheraton Hotel.

Such expenditure raises serious ethical questions about the use of public funds by members of the executive. While we can certainly understand that there is, from time to time, a need for ministers to stay in outside accommodation, there is a disturbing tendency of some members of President Zuma's cabinet to engage in excessive and self-indulgent spending on such items as luxury cars and protracted hotel stays at the expense of the South African people.

As such, I shall be asking the Public Protector to investigate. This falls within the Public Protector's investigative mandate, as it is clearly a public interest matter - public funds were used to fund this extravagant extended hotel stay. We will ask the Public Protector to investigate the state of the house allocated to Minister Padayachie, and to interrogate his claim that the house was structurally unsound. We need clarity on the reasons for the Minister's need to stay at a luxury five-star hotel instead of a more reasonable alternative in the immediate vicinity, and the reason that this accommodation bill has only surfaced now and was not picked up and acted upon as an irregular expense by the Auditor-General.

In a country beset by poverty and plagued by service delivery problems, such spending is unethical and immoral. It needs to stop and the South African public has a right to know if members of the executive are abusing their privileges.

Statement issued by Natasha Michael, MP, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of

Communications, November 22 2010


10 January 2011: The SABC head of news Amrit Manga is demoted and replaced by Thembu Mthembu the head of current affairs programming at the SABC

14 January 2011: The SABC has fired its political editor, Xolani Xundu, the broadcaster reported on Thursday.

It said Xundu had pleaded guilty to charges of “non-compliance with the duties of his contract and bringing the corporation into disrepute”.

In December, Xundu’s future hung in the balance after a recommendation to sack him was submitted to a disciplinary hearing panel over his poor handling of the coverage of the ANC’s national general council in Durban in September.

The inquiry was said to have been started by SABC head of news Phil Molefe, who was apparently unimpressed by technical glitches that hampered live transmission of the conference.

The conference rooms were separated from the media centre by a long walk and strict security checkpoints - restricting media coverage. But some of the restrictions did not extend to the SABC, which was perceived to be “one of our own” by the ruling party.

According to sources within the SABC at the time, Xundu was taken aback by the hearing, saying the delays were due to technical problems and not part of his responsibility. A source said that as a political editor, Xundu’s duties were confined to assigning and briefing reporters.

Xundu said on Thursday night he “saw it coming” and that “his decision was based on some shenanigans and vendettas by certain people”.

He would appeal against the decision and take it up with the necessary authorities. The charges against him were on the basis that he was responsible for everything that went wrong, he said.

19 January 2011: SABC group CEO Solly Mokoetle resigns with immediate effect.

19 January 2011: The DA shadow minister on communications, Natasha Michaels welcomes the resignation of Solly Mokoetle and calls on the chairman of the SABC board chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane, to follow suit.

“It would perhaps serve the SABC better if Dr Ngubane were to resign too,"

Mokoetle got off to the worst possible start when appointed at the end of 2009 by saying that he was accountable first to [then] communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda, and not the SABC board.

"He set about proving that by by-passing the board on a number of occasions, including effecting a number of dubious and illegal appointments along with the current chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane”

22 January 2011: City Press reveals that Solly Mokoetle has been paid R3.4 million to leave the SABC after just one year of his five year contract. This is confirmed two days later by Communications Minister Roy Padayachie.

24 January 2011: Judge Neels Claassen delivers an excoriating judgment in the Johannesburg High Court against Zikalala, Dali Mpofu and the Mbeki-appointed board about their role in the blacklisting scandal

26 January 2011: The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa issues a press release in which it compares former SABC head of news Snuki Zikalala to Nazi Germany's infamous propagandist Joseph Goebbels.  Numsa's spokesperson Castro Ngobese said Zikalala's actions "were a ghost resurrection" of Goebbels to "poison the minds of South Africans and to silence dissent in the public discourse".

The Communication Workesrs Union says Snuki Zikalala fills them with disgust.

27 January 2011: Sanef welcomes the exposure in court of political manipulation by the SABC in favour of the African National Congress in 2006.

“Sanef welcomes this searing exposure of the dishonesty of (Snuki) Zikalala, (Dali) Mpofu and the official SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago as a vindication of the complaint of the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI),” said Sanef media freedom committee chairperson Thabo Leshilo in a statement.

The FXI requested the review of a dismissal of complaints by Icasa regarding the SABC blacklisting certain political commentators as well as news manipulation.

11 February 2011: The SABC appoints Jimi Matthews as head of TV news and Mike Siluma as head of radio news

25 February 2011: Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande, one of the highest paid employees of the SABC, is told that her position is being made redundant and that her position no longer fits in with the SABC's new strategic turnaround plan. She is the wife of the minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande.  According to the SABC annual report her annual salary was R1,7-million. The Mail & Guardian reports that she walked away with a retrenchment package of about R1,8-million, which covered the  14 months left on her contract, plus benefits.

27 February 2011: Thami Ntenteni,  the former spokesman for then deputy president Thabo Mbeki who was controversially hired by former SABC chief executive Peter Matlare the moment he was released from jail after serving time for drunken driving and culpable homicide, is one of several senior managers axed by the SABC.

4 March 2011: The SABC is described by the BCCSA as unprofessional”, “duplicitous”, “reckless” and “deceptive”, after the SABC’s disgraceful conduct in airing Robert Gumede’s attack on the Mail & Guardian and the credibility of investigative journalist Sam Sole.

25 March 2011: The Mail & Guardian reports that six SABC staff members were suspended after being captured on camera in a “sting”, in which one of them allegedly asked for a R200000 bribe in return for a promotional sports production contract.

25 March 2011: The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA)  orders the SABC to broadcast a stinging reprimand on prime-time television for failing to give the Mail & Guardian an adequate right of reply to a news bulletin that alleged corruption and racism on the part of a senior M&G reporter.

31 March 2011: IOL reports that the head of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) had told parliament that the unit’s investigation of the SABC had uncovered “serious criminality”.

At the SABC the SIU uncovered that between September, 2007 and March last year, about 20 employees had undeclared interests in firms that did business with the broadcaster to the tune of R2.4bn. This follows an earlier auditor-general investigation that uncovered corruption involving 20 SABC employees to the tune of R3.4m.

11 May 2011: SABC board receives a report revealing that Justice Ndaba’s claims about his university degrees are false. Despite this, the ANC-appointed board under chairman Ben Ngubane appoints him as acting company secretary from July 4 to August 4 and he is still signing official documents as head of strategy on 5 October, 2011

11 May 2011: Media Monitoring Africa analyses the SABC 2 Morning Live programme just days before the local government election and finds it blatantly biased in favour of the ANC. Its report said“It can be concluded that an overall assessment of the programme, reveals bias, clearly favouring the ANC. This is due to the uncritical coverage, as well as the prominent and overwhelming airtime afforded to the ANC, to the virtual exclusion all other parties.”

17 April 2011: SAPA reports that the Congress of the people (COPE) will lodge an official complaint with the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of SA against the SABC.

This is on account of the public broadcaster’s “editorial censoring” of Cope’s election programme and in particular the party leader Mosiuoa Lekota’s programme, Cope whip Juli Kilian said.

The SABC would also be reported to the Independent Communications Authority of SA for transgressions of its public broadcasting licence agreement, she said.

Cope was the third largest political party in the country and was contesting the third highest number of seats (5929) in municipalities across South Africa in the May 18 municipal elections.

“There can therefore be no doubt that Cope is one of only three parties contesting the local government elections on a national scale and is entitled to equitable coverage during election programmes and during prime-time television and radio broadcasts,” Kilian said.

Apart from instances when the SABC ignored Cope events and campaign activities, even in those instances where reporters and camera crews did cover Cope events, the SABC’s “editorial censors” either ignored the inputs or relegated the events to fleeting coverage on off-prime time news bulletins.

“Mr Lekota’s sound bites and interviews were largely censored out or limited to split second flashes without carrying the essence of the interview or message involved. On occasion Afrikaans sound bites were screened in Sotho news casts or vice versa.”

Kilian listed a number of examples of “editorial bias logged over the past three days”.

These included a media conference addressed by Lekota on the murder of Andries Tatane in Ficksburg.

Notwithstanding the fact that Tatane was a Cope member, coverage of the media conference in Bloemfontein as well as the live interview recorded by SABC TV was “edited out of prime-time news bulletins”.

Notwithstanding the presence of a SABC TV crew in Petrusville during Lekota’s programme in the Northern Cape on Friday, no footage appeared on the SABC’s prime time news casts on Friday evening.

SAFM staged a live election broadcast from the North West Province where Cope was contesting 565 seats, without affording Cope an opportunity to participate in the election programme.

Saturday’s SABC news prime time bulletins contained extensive footage of the Freedom Front Plus and ANC, but only a brief glimpse of Cope’s manifesto launch in Umtata, again censoring out Lekota’s recorded interview, she said.

“Editorial bias and/or prejudice, ignores the fact that Cope is potentially the leading party or senior coalition partner in the majority of municipalities in the Northern Cape as well as some urban centres such as Mandela Bay Metro and others.

“Since regional parties such as the Inkatha Freedom Party, the United Democratic Movement and the FF Plus – essentially a small niche party – were afforded live coverage of their election manifestoes Cope, as a national player, will insist on live coverage on SABC TV of an election event to be arranged within the next three weeks,” Kilian said.

15 May 2011: Three days before the local government elections the SABC devoted two hours of live coverage to the ANC’s Siyanqoba Rally held at FNB Stadium but refused to give coverage to the rallies held by other parties that day. The DA’s James Selfe, in reaction, said:

The conduct of the public broadcaster during an election period is regulated by the provisions set out in the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act (IBAA). That Act states that the SABC is required to "treat all political parties equitably" and, importantly, that "each broadcasting service should be consistent in its treatment of contesting parties and of conflicting views".

The Act contains these requirements because, to bias coverage in one direction or the other, would be to favour one political party over another and thus unduly influence the ability of each South African citizen to discern the choices available to them.

The decision by the SABC to broadcast live for two hours the ANC's final election rally, with three days to go before Election Day, while refusing to cover the Democratic Alliance in the same manner, is neither equitable nor consistent. It is in violation of the IBAA. It is to disproportionately promote the views of the ANC and thereby to give prominence to one agenda over others. A two hour live crossing is incomparable with a hard news story on a bulletin. In doing so, it is to promote one choice before South Africans over another which is both contrary to the SABC's mandate and undemocratic.

For two weeks prior to the Democratic Alliance's final election rally, our party attempted to negotiate with the SABC for live coverage. At first the SABC gave us a verbal commitment that it would cover the event live. It then reneged on that undertaking. It would give no explanation for its decision, nor would it confirm or deny whether it was covering the ANC's final event. Last night, it confirmed that it would indeed be covering the ANC live.

Given the SABC's choice, to cover one party live and not another and thereby to promote one choice over another, the DA must question the circumstances under which the SABC reneged on its initial decision. Was it called by Luthuli House? Further, why is it not prepared to offer an explanation to South Africans, as to why the public broadcaster has made this choice? These are the actions of an organization that lacks transparency and acts in a way that advances the interest of the governing party.

17 June 2011: The Mail & Guardian says that the refusal of the SABC to abide by a ruling of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) in favour of the Mail & Guardian is unprecedented and could threaten the system of statutory self-regulation in the broadcast sector.

22 June 2011: Mail & Guardian journalist Sam Sole outlines how utterly corrupt the SABC was in broadcasting the defamatory lies against him by Robert Gumede

25 June 2011: The SABC finally and reluctantly broadcasts a BCCSA-ordered apology relating to an utterly dishonest attempt by Phil Molefe to besmirch the reputation of ace Mail & Guardian reporter Sam Sole: The Broadcasting Complaints Commission has directed SABC 3 to broadcast the following finding by it: A newscast of 3rd November 2010 dealt with allegations made by businessman Mr. Robert Gumede against the Mail and Guardian reporter Mr. Sam Sole. These allegations included bribery of Mr. Sole by Mr. John Sterenborg and racial bias in the Mail and Guardian reporting on the affairs on Mr. Gumede himself. Firstly, SABC 3 news did not deal fairly with the Mail and Guardian newspaper or Mr. Sole. The SABC did not adequately address the matter of the alleged bribe. There was no evidence that Mr. Sole had received the bribe, and despite the reply broadcast on behalf of the Mail and Guardian and Mr. Sole, an incorrect inference could still have been drawn. Mr. Sole had merely been reimbursed for an air ticket that he had purchased in order to interview a potential news source”.

1 July 2011: Peter Harris, esteemed Struggle lawyer and author of In a Different Time, resigns from the SABC board.

1 July 2011: The SABC announces that its head of radio news, Mike Siluma, has been appointed the acting head, overall, of the corporation’s news department. Specialist television reporter Thinus ferreira is astonished:

“Are they making this up as they go? Seriously? The SABC has just issued another statement saying that Mike Siluma is going to act as the new acting head of news at the SABC - hours after announcing that Phil Molefe (who used to be the head of news at the SABC) is now the new acting group CEO of the public broadcaster. Mike Siluma has been the head of radio news and current affairs at the SABC and he's now taking over for Phil Molefe, who is taking over for Robin Nicholson.

“The announcement of Mike Siluma as the acting group executive for news and current affairs at the SABC is the latest in a wave of shocking news from the SABC today - following in the wake of the resignation of the SABC board member Peter Harris, the apparent ousting of Robin Nicholson as chief financial officer and acting group CEO, and the appointment of Phil Molefe who used to run the news division, now the acting top exec over all of Fawly Towers in Auckland Park.

“Whoever is ''managing'' this latest scandalous top-level executive travesty at the beleaguered SABC is ... not. Why on earth would the SABC not send out one, very clear, very complete and comprehensive press statement or have a press conference? Instead the SABC has re-ignited a media feeding frenzy by issuing shocking information in drips and drabs, creating the impression that the broadcaster's top execs are grasping at shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic yet again.”

8 July 2011: The Mail & Guardian reveals that the reason for the resignation of Peter Harris was the successful attempt by the ANC - through the Communications Minister, Roy “Room Service” Padayachie, to gerrymander the appointment processes at the SABC so as to facilitate the appointment of the Luthuli House-approved Phil Molefe as CEO.

Minutes of a shareholders’ meeting called by Roy Padayachie, the communications minister, last week to amend the SABC’s articles of association back up charges of political interference in the governance of the public broadcaster.

The minutes, obtained by the Mail & Guardian, reveal how board member Peter Harris objected to the lack of consultation with the SABC board, particularly as the amendments “would widen the authority of the shareholder [the government] with regard to acting appointments to key executive director positions”.

A respected lawyer, Harris resigned a day after the meeting, at which he pointed out that it was “poor corporate governance” for a shareholders’ meeting to be called at a day’s notice when it was dealing with a multi­billion-rand company.

The minutes reveal that, in spite of Harris’s objections, Padayachie used the meeting to pass key amendments to the articles of association to facilitate the appointment of any employee to the SABC’s three top management positions.

Apparently, the purpose was to enable current news chief Phil Molefe to take over as acting chief executive officer.

10 July 2011: City Press reveals that the SABC is paying millions of rands annually to employees, including one accused of murder, to sit at home.

Former SABC acting chief executive Gab Mampone raked in more than R1.1m in a year – while sitting at home.

He is one of 26 employees that the SABC paid almost R7m in salaries over two years while their suspensions dragged on.

Among the other top guns who made a killing while on extended suspensions were news resources general manager Rapitsi Montsho (more than R1m in 20 months) and former boss Solly Mokoetle (R815 000 in four months).

Mokoetle left the SABC in January with a R3.4m golden handshake, but SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said none of the other 14 employees who had since been dismissed was paid to leave.

The SABC also paid murder accused Patrick Malgas more than R43 000 in four months after the voice-over artist allegedly killed journalist Shadi Rapitso.

Malgas was suspended by the public broadcaster for “committing a common law offence” after the October 2009 incident in Johannesburg.

He was released on R5 000 bail last February and was due to stand trial this year for the murder of the former and City Press journalist.

Rapitso was found in Malgas’s bathroom with her throat slit.

Kganyago confirmed that Malgas was still employed at the SABC.

Some of the other alleged offences involving staff members included financial mismanagement, threats of violence, dishonesty, unauthorised entry and malicious damage to property.

Head of SABC News International Dr Saul Pelle stayed at home for more than eight months, earning a salary of R370 000.

English TV newsreader Mahendra Raghunath was suspended for “contravention of rules and regulations; non compliance with duties of contract employment”.

His suspension was lifted last June after four months, for which he was paid about R100 000.

Head of the SABC’s 2010 World Cup project unit, Peter Kwele, paid R216 000 over three months, left the public broadcaster in December.

Kwele had been suspended in October for hiring the Sandton Convention Centre as the SABC’s broadcast base for the 2010 World Cup at a cost of R26 million.

17 July 2011: City Press reveals that pressure from the ANC has impacted on the lives of two SABC news personnel. Interface presenter, Eusebius Mckaiser resigns citing pressure from ANC ministers like Jeff Radebe who did not like his allegedly hostile interview technique. Political reporter Sophie Mokoenawas abruptly taken off air at the end of June and was also, according to a source in the SABC newsroom, not allowed to do election campaign stories in the run-up to the local government elections.

26 July 2011: Roy ‘Room Service’ Padayachie racks up R1.2 million in car hire costs

11 August 2011: The SOS Coalition calls for the SABC to be made a Chapter 9 institution

15 September 2011: A preliminary report by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) into the SABC is revealed. The investigation started after the auditor-general made damning findings in his 2009/10 report on the broadcaster’s finances. The ongoing SIU probe – covering the period September, 2007 to March 2010 – unearthed a litany of abuses and financial malfeasance.

These include fraud and irregularities in the procurement of services, theft of assets, payments to fictitious companies, duplicate payments, fraudulent claims, and irregular appointments, promotions and pay hikes.

27 September 2011: The SABC announces that it is suspending its group company secretary, Thelma Melk,  on charges of poor work performance for allegedly failing to revise policy, along with failure to perform her duties, which allegedly include timeously registering a director in terms of required legislation and for taking leave without proper authorisation. She is subsequently rewarded for these transgressions by being given a R3.2-million golden handshake.

19 October 2011: The Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers' Union (Bemawu) has castigated the SABC after revelations that it paid R246 000 to send a non-employee to London.

"Since when do outsiders travel on SABC expenses, introduce themselves at news conferences as the acting head of human capital services and strategy and appoint people and sign contracts on behalf of the SABC?" Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson asked on Wednesday.

According to media reports, SABC board chairperson Ben Ngubane told Parliament that Justice Ndaba was not an employee of the public broadcaster, but merely a consultant.

The SABC reportedly paid R246 000 to send Ndaba to London to attend a leadership course, which he never completed. This was after a dispute with prostitutes, The Times newspaper reported.

BEMAWU accused SABC board chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane of blatantly lying to parliament on the appointment of Ndaba and demands his resignation.

Said BEMAWU president Hannes du Buisson: “Dr Ngubane’s statement on 18 October to the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications that a senior SABC official, Mr Justice Ndaba, is an ‘outsider’ (consultant) and not a permanent employee of the SABC, was a blatant lie and the last straw.

“SABC staff records show that Mr Justice Ndaba was appointed by an SABC board member in the Corporation’s Turnaround Planning Unit (TPU) on a one-year fixed-term contract. This was done outside of the SABC’s approved governance structures and recruitment processes. At the time, Mr Solly Mokoetle (former Group Chief Executive of the SABC) raised the same issue with the board. Mr Ndaba was then reassigned by the chairperson of the board to act as head of Strategy as well as head of Human Capital Services – still as a permanent employee. Dr Ngubane is acutely aware of this appointment and of the fact that Mr Ndaba is a senior employee and acting Group Executive of the SABC. Mr Ndaba has attended all Board Meetings. Dr Ngubane signed off the SABC's Financial Statements, the very same presented in Parliament yesterday.

“The question arises whether he had not read the financial statements? On page 140 of the Annual Report, Mr Ndaba is listed as Senior Management, Acting Group Executive, earning a salary of R450 000 for the 2010/11 fiscal.

“It is misconduct in the extreme to lie to Parliament – dismissible misconduct. The same type of misconduct the honourable chairperson of the portfolio committee, Mr Kholwane, referred to yesterday when the issue of the former CFO of ICASA was discussed. BEMAWU wishes to applaud Mr Kholwane and members of the portfolio committee for the manner in which they have interrogated ICASA about the “golden handshake” given to ICASA’s former CFO. This will most certainly send a strong message to every board of every organisation answerable to parliament, not to work recklessly with tax money. There is risk involved in all disciplinary action and litigation, and to pay senior management enormous sums of money for fear of those risks is wrong and liable.

“BEMAWU’s request to Dr Ngubane for certain information has simply been ignored. The union has reason to believe that the company secretary, Ms Thelma Melk, has been suspended without a board resolution. Ms Melk is not a BEMAWU member, but we are concerned about corporate governance not being complied with by the chairperson of the board. We have requested a copy of the board resolution to suspend Ms Melk. To date, the union has not received a reply, let alone the requested resolution. We are of the view that the company secretary is being victimised and pushed out because of her insistence on adherence to corporate governance.

“Furthermore, the SABC board under the leadership of Dr Ngubane refused and / or failed to approve the tender originally won by Wesbank to supply SABC News with rental vehicles. This resulted in an untenable situation, with news crews virtually grounded for as long as six months and not being able to cover stories. This has severely damaged the SABC’s reputation and name and has made SABC News the laughing stock of the news fraternity. In the process, the SABC failed in its public service broadcasting mandate to inform, educate and entertain South Africans.

“According to a Sunday newspaper, the chairperson of the board refused to co-operate in an internal audit investigation into Mr Ndaba's appointment. The Sunday Times reports that Dr Ngubane also refused to release a report from Stuart Spencer, a recruitment consultant who had interviewed Mr Ndaba prior to his appointment. SABC Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago has denied this, saying that the chairperson had ordered the investigation. If this is true, why doesn’t he make available Spencer Stuart’s report?”

20 October 2011: SABC salaries are revealed by Thinus Ferreira

24 October 2011: 11 months after the Sunday Times discloses details of the profligate lifestyle – at taxpayers’ expense – of Communications Minister, Roy “Room Service” Padayachie, President Jacob Zuma announces that Padyachie will be stepping down because of “ill health” and that he will be replaced by Dina Pule, the Deputy Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation. Despite his “ill health”, he does not retire but is appointed Public Service and Administration Minister

2 November 2011: Business Day reveals that the SABC wants to bring back the hugely conflicted former head of strategy, Sipho Sithole. “In 2009, Mr Sithole faced allegations that his private interests in the music and film industries conflicted with his role at the public broadcaster. The auditor-general found that in that year, 1465 employees of the SABC had outside business interests that contravened the broadcaster's policies.”

The head of BEMAWU, Hannes Du Buisson, described this as “insanity” and Save Our SABC campaign co-ordinator Kate Skinner said Mr Sithole's appointment would be "highly problematic".

"Some of our union members are alleging that he (Mr Sithole) has been fingered in the on-going Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation. Certainly if that is the case, his appointment would raise a lot of questions," Ms Skinner said.

Communication Workers' Union secretary-general Gallant Roberts said Mr Sithole's impeding appointment "raised a lot of suspicion".

"It is disappointing. How can people who have been alleged to have been involved in improper or corrupt activity be re-appointed? Surely they could have found someone else?"

7 November 2011: SAPA reveals that BEMAWU, the SABC’s largest trade union, has filed a dispute with the CCMA because bonuses to middle management had been unpaid for three years and that they had also not, for three years, received the salary increases which other levels of SABC management had received. As an example of the SABC’s discrimination against this level of management, BEMAWU said that car allowances for middle management were last reviewed in 2003 - despite senior and top management at the SABC having allegedly received an additional R10 000 per month as a petrol allowance on top of their monthly car allowance of between R10 000 and R14 000.

24 November 2011: The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition organises a protest picket outside the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters. It was protesting the fact that it had sent a series of letters including to the Chair of the SABC Board (25 October 2011) and to members of the SABC board (8 November 2011) – all of which had been ignored


17 January 2012: Lulama Mokhobo is appointed as the SABC's new group chief executive officer. She previously chaired a mining company, Miranda Minerals, in which controversial Thai billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra played a role and which went into meltdown.

Communications Minister Dina Pule announced Mokhobo’s appointment as the SABC’s new chief executive a day after she quit Miranda’s board.

Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) president Hannes du Buisson described Mokhobo’s appointment as surprising, adding that she had never struck Bemawu as someone who would lead the SABC.

A Mail & Guardian investigation on 3 August 2012 reveals that Mokhobo is the aunt of   businessman Phosane Mngqibisa, the alleged lover of Communications Minister Dina Pule.  Two of the Mail & Guardian’s sources said that Pule had known that Mokhobo was the aunt of Mngqibisa and had pressurised the SABC board to appoint Mokhobo

It then transpires that Pule lobbied top companies to provide R25.7-million in sponsorship for the inaugural ICT Indaba and that Mngqibisa had accessed this money to splurge on overseas trips for himself and Pule.

On one of the trips, according to a Sunday Times exposé on 2/9/2012, Mngqibisa bought in Barcelona a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutin shoes which Pule wore to  the opening ceremony of the Indaba in Cape Town in June 2012.

What is intriguing, in the SABC context is that six months after Mokhobo is appointed, it transpires (according to a Sunday Independent story on 19 August) that the Corporation’s Chief Financial Officer, Gugu Duda, without SABC board approval, quietly diverted R3-million from the cash-strapped public broadcaster into the ICT Indaba’s constantly-looted coffers. What role then, did the aunt of Dina Pule’s lover play in getting SABC money siphoned off for the use of the pair of them on overseas trips and expensive red-soled Christian Louboutin shoes?

17 January 2012: City Press reports that BEMAWU, the SABC’s largest trade union, was surprised by the appointment of Lulama Mokhobo as the new Group CEO.  Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) president Hannes du Buisson described Mokhobo’s appointment as surprising, adding that she had never struck Bemawu as someone who would lead the SABC.

29 January 2012: The Sunday Tribune reports that the newly appointed CEO, Lulama Mokhobo, is manipulating appointment protocols to ensure ANC deployed cadre, Hlaudi Motsoeneng - known as “The Conduit” because he is a Zuma spy within the SABC – gets the R2-million a year post as Chief Operating Officer. Part of the gerrymandering process is to only advertise the post internally and for only three days and to stipulate that a matric certificate is not a requirement – specifically because Motsoeneng does not have a matric.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, a supporter of President Jacob Zuma, with neither a matric certificate nor top management experience is tipped to land the R2 million job as chief operating officer of the financially-crippled SABC.

This after the SABC decided to advertise the strategic, second-most powerful post, only internally, for only three working days. According to newly-appointed group chief executive officer Lulama Mokhobo, matric was not a requirement for successful candidates.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, essentially an ANC deployee at SABC, has had the requirements for the job, one of the key positions in the corporation’s turn-around strategy, tailor-made to suit him because he has no matric and has no managerial experience at that level.

He is the same man fingered by a KPMG probe as having lied about having a matric certificate when he applied for the post of news executive for the broadcaster’s Bloemfontein office several years ago. Should Motsoeneng land the job, he would possibly become the only COO of such a major public institution without matric.

The move has angered workers in the financially struggling organisation. They are asking how a person without an undergraduate qualification could be the second-in-command of an organisation with a R4.7 billion turnover.

The Sunday Tribune learnt that Mokhobo advertised the job on Friday, but apparently deleted parts where academic qualifications were required, ostensibly to ensure Motsoeneng, who does not have a matric but has strong political backing, qualified for the position.

Staff at the SABC are now questioning the deletion of the academic qualifications from the advert and the three working days allocated to prospective candidates. Applicants have until Tuesday to apply.

They say the position needs a suitably qualified person and Motsoeneng, said to have Zuma’s ear, was not the right candidate.

The advert states that the person who would be appointed to the job should be a “commercially astute executive, with broad ranging experience of success in broadcasting”, have “well developed negotiation and relationship building skills at the most senior level” and the “ability to translate and promote the integration of new business objectives into financial, human capital and organisational development changes on an ongoing basis”. “A demonstrable passion for public service” is the last requirement for the job.

Approached for comment, Motsoeneng said “I don’t want to comment on this issue” and added “speak to the CEO. She is here with me” before handing over his cellphone to Mokhobo.

The CEO said the job did not require a degree and was open only to SABC employees. “We are looking for a candidate who understands the business of the SABC. We don’t have the time to be in a state of inertia. It does not require a degree to run a business operation. That does not require an MBA. Anybody internally can apply for this job. We are very clear that we are not opening it to everybody,” she said.

She said the position did not require technical skill but an understanding of how business operations are run. “You need the ability to oversee complex situations.”

Responding to claims that the advert is tailor-made to suit Motsoeneng, Mokhobo said: “If we (had already) decided on Hlaudi, we would have not advertised the position. We would have given it to him.”

The SABC has been asked to suspend its search for a chief operating officer, the communication ministry said on Monday.

Communications Minister Dina Pule had made the request to the board after reading a newspaper report on the process being followed to fill the position, said ministry spokesperson Siyabulela Qoza.

"The minister immediately requested the board to suspend the current search and to follow a normal and wider executive appointment process," he said.

"She wants to make sure the process is fair and that all applicants are considered." Qoza said he did not know if the SABC had acted on Pule's request.

SAPA was unable to reach SABC spokesperson Kaiser Kganyago on Monday afternoon.

The Sunday Independent reported that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who was "an ANC deployee at the SABC" and a supporter of President Jacob Zuma, was set to get the job.

The position, the second most powerful post at the organisation, had been advertised only internally and applicants had been given just three working days to apply, the newspaper reported.

Motsoeneng was apparently going to get the job despite not having a matric certificate or top management experience. SABC chief executive Lulama Mokhobo reportedly said a matric certificate was not a requirement for the post.SAPA

30 January 2012: Communications Minister, Dina Pule, intervenes after the Sunday Tribune reveals the unethical labour practices at the SABC through which Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment as COO is being fast-tracked by the recently-deployed CEO, Lulama Mokhobo.

30 January 2012: The news that through its proxies at the SABC and on the SABC board the ANC is manipulating employment procedures to ensure that Jacob Zuma supporter Hlaudi Motsoeneng will get the most powerful position at the SABC throws employees into a panic.

February 2012: The most recent flare-up occurred in February 2012, when it was alleged that the board had attempted to "parachute" Hlaudi Motsoeneng into the position of Chief Operation Officer, despite the fact that the SABC was interdicted from making an appointment to that position by the High Court as the previous hopeful, Mvuzo Mbebe, believed that he had been given the green light by the previous Communications Minister, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri. Motsoeneng had previously been fired by the SABC in 2007 after an internal investigation into various wrongdoings, including the falsification of his qualifications. In the course of a year from his re-appointment to the SABC in 2011, he was promoted three times. "What instruction, which we as the SABC do not know about, does the board have from Luthuli House?" an unnamed official queried.

From Who Rules south Africa by Paul Holden and Martin Plaut (Jonathan Ball, 2012)

15 February 2012: Communications Minister, Dina Pule, announces the appointment of Ms Gugu Duda as the SABC’s Chief Financial Officer. Duda is to take up her position on 1 March.

Six months later Duda is under investigation for R3-million which was diverted into the ICT Indaba scam without board knowledge or authorisation.

17 February 2012: The Hawks arrest Mafika Sihlali - Dali Mpofu’s Elephant Consortium crony, who he appointed as head of the SABC’s legal department - on charges of fraud and corruption.

29 February 2012: Mafika Sihlali, the former head of legal services at the SABC and a man appointed by CEO Dali Mpofu, appears in the Johannesburg Commercial Crimes Court on charges of fraud. He is granted R15 000 bail.

6 March 2012: Parliament is told that the SABC has made virtually no effort to implement the recommendations of the Auditor General who, in his report of 18 September 2009 found rampant corruption.

16 March 2012: In a Mail & Guardian article, Justine Limpitlaw and Kate Skinner of the SOS coalition, say that the SABC has abandoned investigative reporting on matters which reflect badly on the ANC

18 March 2012: The Sunday Times reveals that the SABC had lost over one million viewers across all three channels in the prime-time news slot in the previous six months.” The newspaper reported that this was according the audience ratings by the South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf).

Media expert, Arthur Goldstuck, Managing Director (MD) of World Wide Worx, felt the decline in audiences was directly linked to poor content, which he said was a result of lack of leadership at the SABC and lack of vision by the broadcaster.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) also voiced its opinion on the state of viewership affairs at the SABC. The union said it was “not surprised by these developments as the SABC, particularly its television component has long ceased to be a public broadcaster and turned itself into a self-promotion propaganda instrument for certain factions.”

23 March 2012: Broadcast consultant Kate Skinner says that in five years as SOS co-ordinator she saw five SABC CEOs come and go.

3 April 2012: The Sowetan reveals that former and current SABC senior staffers have lodged a complaint against Auckland Park's acting chief operations officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng with the Public ProtectorThe complaint includes serious allegations of maladministration, corruption, SABC board collusion, unprocedural salary increments that increase the SABC payroll, and the now well-known issue of Motsoeneng's academic credentials. The list of complainants against Motsoeneng's appointment include former chief operations officer Charlotte Mampane and ex-SABC senior executive Phunelele Ntombela-Nzimande, wife of Blade Nzimande.

8 April 2012: Sunday World reveals that the complaint about Hlaudi Motsoeneng to the Public Protector also alleges that he “Promotes, suspends and dismisses people without following any procedure.

"Has violated the travel policies and unlawfully suspended the manager who headed the travel office in order to conceal his corrupt activities."

"Promoted and paid two unionists (CWU) who worked in the call centre almost R240,000 each. This resulted in the call centre salaries being increased. He instructs the head of human resources to increase employees' salaries willy nilly - the salary bill from June to October increased with (sic) R29m within three months of his appointment as COO."

Sunday World also reveals that he was promoted three times in one year. In 2010 he became acting regional editor in the Free State.

“In June 2010 he became GM in the office of the CEO (Mokoetle).

“In November 2011 he was appointed acting COO, which catapulted him into the No2 position at the SABC.

“In February 2012 a dubious attempt was made to appoint him permanently to the job when it was advertised internally for three days only. Curiously, the ad stated that matric was not a requirement for the position.”

10 April 2012: SABC CEO, Lulama Mokhobo, places head of news, Phil Molefe, on “special leave.” She promises that a meeting will be held between her and Molefe to sort the matter out but, thereafter, constantly pleads illness which she says prevents the meeting from happening. Auckland Park sources say that Phil has fallen from political grace because, as Blade Nzimande says, Molefe is not doing what he should be doing – which is to prevent  Julius Malema and COPE from getting any exposure whatsoever on SABC channels – exactly what the Zuma faction claims that the Mbeki faction nefariously did to it.

11 April 2012: The Communication Workers Union (CWU) an affiliate of Cosatu welcomed the decision taken by Mokhobo to put Group Executive of News and Current Affairs, Mr Phil Molefe on special leave

The CWU said that Molefe has a track record of been extremely hostile to trade union movement and was biased in terms of broadcasting. “This is what we and other progressive organisation have been raising about the manipulation of the SABC newsroom by senior people at the SABC.”

11 April 2012: The ANC Youth League said the action taken by Mokhobo against Molefe was politically motivated:  “It is becoming clearer now that Makhobo was appointed to pursue factional agendas in the SABC, and not fulfil the public broadcasting mandate of the SABC.

“Placing Head of News Phil Molefe on a special leave is politically motivated, despite the fact that he has been at the forefront of award-winning initiatives in the SABC, such as Touching Lives, which has profoundly contributed to the socio-economic development of many people in South Africa.”

12 April 2012: Daily Maverick analyses why Phil Molefe was placed on “special leave”

13 April 2012: The Mail & Guardian analyses why Phil Molefe was placed on “special leave”.

The newspaper describes this in an editorial as ‘an absurd farce’.

20 April 2012: SABC board chairman Dr Ben Ngubane and senior news executive Alwyn Kloppers call a media conference to defend Hlaudi Motsoeneng

18 June 2012: Gareth van Onselen recalls what Cyril Ramaphosa said about the apartheid-era SABC and how the ANC was going to improve matters:

The ANC believes that unquestioning loyalty by a public broadcaster to a ruling party is incompatible with democracy – whether or not the ruling party enjoys the support of the majority of the population.

When the ANC wins the electoral support of the majority of South Africans, it will not seek to replace the National Party as the subject of the SABC’s slavish loyalty. And we want to establish both the principle and practice of that independence now.

The ANC is committed to public broadcasting which is independent of the government of the day, and which owes its loyalty not to any party, but to the population as a whole. In other words, we propose a broadcast service committed to providing full and accurate information to all South Africans, and one which is protected from interference by any special interests – be they political, economic or cultural.

If the SABC is to play a constructive role ahead of our country’s first experience with democracy, informing the electorate rather than attempting to persuade them to vote for a particular political party, it is necessary to replace those who currently control the SABC with others who are committed to democracy and to an electorate empowered by accurate and impartial information.

12 July 2012: Blade Nzimande, speaking at the SACP's national congress in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, gives a less than subtle instruction to the SABC to stop giving airtime to expelled ANCYL President, Julius Malema.

He said he wasashamed of the public broadcaster" for feeding the public a "breakfast, lunch and dinner" of news about "people who have been expelled" from the ANC.

"Auckland Park is a shame!" he said. "Sooner or later, we will have to tell them enough is enough, because we are the (SABC's) listeners."

Describing the likes of Mr Malema as enemies of the SACP, Mr Nzimande said that instead of working to "unite our people as a whole", the SABC "runs with renegades".

3 August 2012: The Mail & Guardian reveals that Lulama Mokhobo, who was the surprise appointment in January 2012 as the SABC’s is the aunt of Phosane Mngqibisa, the “romantic partner” of Communications Minister, Dina Pule. The paper says it has received a dossier replete with allegations of corruption by the Pule:

Communications Minister Dina Pule is in the spotlight after a dossier of allegations against her was leaked to the Mail & Guardian this week.

The dossier, substantial elements of which were independently confirmed to the M&G by communication department officials familiar with the circumstances, paints a picture of a web of influence Pule is alleged to have set up in the department of communications, the South African Post Office and the SABC.

The documents go to great lengths to point out who the major players in the department, the post office and the SABC are and how they are connected to each other.

The dossier, which it is claimed was prepared by staff in the department, is detailed and appears to have been prepared with the aim of targeting Pule.

It alleges that Pule, alongside her alleged "romantic" interest, businessperson Phosane Mngqibisa, has connived to fill key positions in the department, the post office and the SABC through nepotism and the promotion of close colleagues

19 August 2012: The Sunday Independent reveals that the SABC board is investigating its group chief executive Lulama Mokhobo and chief financial officer Gugu Duda for allegedly authorising the spending of R3 million on the controversial ICT indaba, organised by the Communications Department. Mokhobo, who is the aunt of Communications Minister Dina Pule’s “romantic partner”, Phosane Mngqibisa,  was appointed in January and Dudu in March.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago - speaking for the CEO and CFO - confirmed the financial contribution to the ICT indaba.

He however said the broadcaster paid a R1m sponsorship fee in exchange for exposure, an exhibition stand and exclusive content coverage, among other things.

“The remaining R2m was trade exchange. This is the same model that we use for other events and many other awards. The SABC, like any other organisation, has the right to market itself,” Kganyago said.

He said Mokhobo and Duda did not have to seek board approval for sponsoring the event because this was permitted in terms of the SABC delegation of authority.

2 September 2012: The Sunday Times reveals that a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutin shoes which Communications Minister Dina Pule wore when she opened the ICT Indaba in Cape Town in June were in fact paid for by her “romantic partner”, Phosane Mngqibisa, with money siphoned off from corporate sponsorships for the Indaba. “The Sunday Times reported in June that MTN, Vodacom and Telkom - who were lobbied by Pule to pay the R25.7-million towards the event - were furious that millions in sponsorship fees were drawn from the account of the event organiser by Mngqibisa.  Pule's own department chipped in another R10-million.”

7 September 2012: The Mail & Guardian claims that there had been a tense stand-off between political reporters and SABC head of TV news, Jimi Matthews. The reporters said the South African Broadcasting Corporation had effectively banned Malema from radio and TV news. This, they claimed, followed an instruction from ANC leaders aligned to the campaign to re-elect President Jacob Zuma as party leader in Mangaung in December.

But Matthews has rejected these claims as "nonsense". He told the Mail & Guardian: "I have not banned anyone. I have no desire or authority to do this. Those who say I did that have their own agenda against me." *

Matthews refused to confirm or deny the meeting between himself and political journalists this week.

Although the alleged decision to ban Malema has not been officially communicated to staff, SABC sources claimed this week that senior managers, including Matthews, interfered with the work of journalists from time to time to ensure Malema's clips were edited out of the news package before it went on air.  


"No one has told us that he [Malema] was banned, but we can see it in their actions," said one SABC staffer, who asked not be named. "Every time we submit stories, the Malema clips are edited out. This has been happening for a while on TV. The decision is now being implemented on radio as well."

The journalist believes the Malema ban is being orchestrated from Luthuli House. "This is what happened in the run-up to the Polokwane conference, when Zuma and his supporters were given less airtime than former president Thabo Mbeki and his supporters," the reporter said.

"We told [management] it is embarrassing us. We reminded it that the basic principle of journalism is to cover everything that is newsworthy, irrespective of who is involved. Yes, Malema has been expelled from the ANC, but that does not mean we cannot give him coverage, especially when it is so clear that he still enjoys support from ordinary people. The SABC, as a public broadcaster, cannot cover ANC leaders only, but must cover all the people who matter in society."

Another said: "I have always taken Jimi as a genuine newsman, but he has changed. What he is doing now is exactly what Snuki Zikalala [the former SABC head of news] did to him. This is what happens every five years when the ANC goes to conference. But unlike before, when journalists were divided along factional lines, this time all of us are unhappy about what's happening."

*NB: Four years later Jimi Matthews proves himself to be a liar when he admits to Eusebius Mckaiser that he did in fact ban coverage of Malema. Matthews admitted that he took the decision to censor Malema and the EFF. “I took the decision, but it was a decision bigger than Jimi Matthews, others also expressed the same view,” said Matthews.

7 September 2012: Corruption Watch expresses concern about the increasing number of newspaper investigations implicating Communications Minister Dina Pule in nepotism and corruption. The picture painted by these stories is of a “minister mad with power, using her position to manipulate the South African Post Office and the SABC.”

13 September 2012: The SABC’s largest trade union, BEMAWU, claims that its members in the Corporation’s news rooms have been instructed not to report on expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

The Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) is extremely concerned with what appears to be the censoring of the SABC’s News Reports. It has been reported to us by several of our members that they have been instructed to not report on ANY activities of the expelled ANC Youth League leader, Mr Julius Malema. The instruction went as far as to say that even if he is assassinated, or he dies in any other manner, it should not be reported on any SABC platform until Top Management has instructed otherwise. News staff have been warned also not to report on his whereabouts or what he is doing. This instruction apparently came from Solly Phetoe and Mike Seluma and was conveyed to all news editors around the country. A special meeting was called in some regions this morning to inform all news editors of this instruction.

BEMAWU regards this as a gross violation of the principles of journalism and also an attack on freedom of the press. As a public broadcaster the SABC is duty bound to report news in a fair, unbiased and accurate manner and without influence from top or any other management of the SABC. We have informed our members to not comply with this unlawful instruction and to report the news of the day without fear or prejudice and to judge what should go on air purely on the news value and principles of the editorial policy of the SABC. This reminds BEMAWU of the censoring of news by the apartheid government and total control of the public broadcaster by the ruling party. If management dare to touch any of our members ignoring this unlawful instruction, BEMAWU will defend our members and take the matter to the highest court.

We call on an urgent investigation of this sorry state of affairs at the Public Broadcaster and we demand that the strongest action be taken against those top managers responsible for this instruction.

In a statement carried in the Mail & Guardian, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the allegations were not true.

"It is untrue that the SABC news department has issued any instructions banning Julius Malema. What news management has appealed for, is for more responsible and in depth reporting on the issues," Kganyago said

13 September 2012: Jimi Matthews publicly attacks his own staff.   He appealed to staff for more nuanced reporting on Marikana and related stories. Matthews warned against lazy journalism and “running with the herd”.

“I am very disappointed with the turn of events. Instead of debate, certain members of my staff ran off to other media houses claiming that I had banned Malema from the airwaves.

“Nothing can be further from the truth. I asked for responsible journalism and intellectual engagement”.  SABC news release

14 September 2012: Thinus Ferreira, author of the most authoritative blog on the South African television industry, “TV with Thinus” strongly criticises Matthews: “It's beyond shocking that the SABC's acting head of news Jimi Matthews would make statements chastising members of his own staff in public - things which a news editor (I've been one at various places; I know) and news executives do behind closed doors, in private, delicately, and handle as internal operational matters.

 “Yet Jimi Matthews chose to say in a public statement yesterday from the SABC: "I am very disappointed with the turn of events. Instead of debate, certain members of my staff ran off to other media houses claiming that I had banned Julius Malema from the airwaves. Nothing can be further from the truth. I asked for responsible journalism and intellectual engagement."

“On the spectrum of possible things to do and say, this is so far towards the spectrum of "wrong", "mistake", and "no-no" that it boggles the mind. Surely someone like Jimi Matthews knows the SABC news staff by name. They presumably also have email addresses.

“Unhappiness like this would be better communicated internally like through a memo to news staff. Not to the whole outside world and during a week in which the SABC is besieged by multiple crises and a hungry press looking for and at all possible weak spots at the public broadcaster.

“To say something bad about your people - for any organisation - in public, even if it’s true, doesn't build self-esteem and trust. It further demoralises, breaks down trust and support, fosters resentment and creates bigger divisions.”

14 September 2012: IFP marches on SABC building in Auckland Park to protest anti- IFP bias in its news coverage

17 September 2012: In an editorial, Sunday World says it is concerning that Jimi Matthews’ claims to be basing the SABC’s television news coverage of Julius Malema purely on the basis of news values but that his expressed antipathy towards Malema echoes the sentiments of Luthuli House: Matthews said the decision on how to cover events involving Malema was based on news value and not popularity.

"I won't be stampeded into following the popular line," he told the Mail & Guardian.

He said they had led Tuesday night's broadcast with Malema speaking to mine workers at Goldfields.

But they had not broadcast Malema's address to members of the SANDF - though a reporter was assigned to it - "because of the low turn-out by soldiers".

He said: "Here is a man [Malema] who is exploiting the desperation of poor people, with promises that he is not able to deliver.

"This guy [Malema]. is supposedly unemployed, but he travels around. They must question and find [out] who is funding him." Very interesting, indeed, how Matthews walks into the punch of his accusers by revealing his own judgment of Malema. His pronouncements ironically show him forsaking the objective hat of a newsman for that of a politician, lending credence to accusations of biased news judgment.

Is it coincidental that his utterances - that "Malema is exploiting the desperation of poor people" - echo the sentiments of some ANC leaders?

Rather disturbing is the growing dissonance between the SABC's actions and public perceptions of its execution of its broadcasting mandate.

19 September 2012: MWASA (Media Workers Association of South Africa) pickets outside SABC's Auckland Park headquarters today, demanding "an SABC that works" and that the members of the dysfunctional SABC board resign or be replaced.

28 September 2012: President Jacob Zuma tells parliament that four people have been arrested on criminal charges and another arrest is imminent following a Special Investigating Unit probe into irregularities at the SABC.

Responding to a Parliamentary question, President Jacob Zuma said the unit had introduced special probes in SABC business units to assist the public broadcasters Board in identifying red flag areas.

Zuma says the SIU also assisted the Brixton Commercial Police Crime Unit, in eight criminal matters that related to their probe into the Public Broadcaster.  The president says seven case dockets have already been completed, and others are nearing completion.

He says the SIU probe into the SABC included a range of irregularities. These include allegations of possible conflict of interest by some employees and certain board members, and the continuous payment of remuneration to SABC personnel who had been on suspension for excessively long periods.

29 September 2012: City Press reveals that six former SABC senior executive may face criminal charges and civil claims to recover millions of rands lost by the public broadcaster in irregular, fraudulent and corrupt deals in which they were allegedly involved.

1 October 2012: President Jacob Zuma reveals in parliament that the Special Investigation Unit which had been tasked with investigating corruption that occurred in the SABC between 1 January 2005 and 29 October 2010 was progressing well.

7 October 2012: The Sunday Times front page lead story exposes a litany of corrupt and deals and wasteful expenditure. Two months later. On 19 December, the Press Council rejected in its entirety a complaint laid by the New Age newspaper against this story:

The newspaper has established that the cash-strapped public broadcaster:

  • Spent R196-million on a deal with Siemens which the SABC's internal auditors deemed an "irregular contract" that "delivered no significant value". SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago owns 10% of Siemens BEE partner Sedibeng, but says the deal was done before he arrived in 2006 and that he recused himself fromdiscussions involving Siemens;
  • Was guilty of "irregular expenditure" in giving the scandal-plagued ICT Indaba R3-million in sponsorship, including R1-million cash;
  • Agreed to give the Guptas' New Age newspaper free exposure worth millions on its Morning Live show, flood Auckland Park with thousands of newspapers staff don't want, and pay the paper R147251 to run advertorials;
  • Blew R1.6-million on a July Handicap extravaganza for 200 people, including 46 SABC staff, this year, even after claims surfaced that its directors embarrassed the broadcaster at last year's event by demanding extra booze be served worth R32000;
  • Bent its own rules to appoint politically connected Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer at an annual salary of R1.6-million, then tried to suppress a report which found he had lied about failing matric twice;
  • Hired Justice Ndaba as its turnaround-strategy head and allowed him to keep working even after discovering he'd apparently forged three degrees, including an MBA, until he quit after reportedly becoming involved in a prostitution scandal when in London on SABC business; and
  • Has been told by the Special Investigating Unit to take disciplinary action against more than 300 staff for failing to declare their interests, while recommending criminal action in nine other cases.

7 October 2012: Ms Liezl van der Merwe MP, IFP Spokesperson on Communications calls on Communications Minister, Dina Pule, to intervene after a Sunday Times exposé on a deal struck between the New Age newspaper and the SABC:Reports today that the SABC struck a deal to buy a 1000 copies of the ANC-aligned New Age newspaper every day, despite concerns from staff that the broadcaster was spending a fortune on newspapers that were not being read, coupled with the fact that it gave the newspaper free exposure worth millions on Morning Live, is more evidence that political interference has been built into the SABC system and ruthlessly exploited by the ANC-alliance. It is again abundantly clear that the SABC is not an independent public broadcaster, but a state broadcaster that panders to the ruling party”

12 October 2012: BCCSA orders SABC to correct a false news report which alleged that the SA Society of Anaesthesiologists (Sasa) was guilty of overcharging.

14 October 2012: Chairman of the board, Dr Ben Ngubane and CEO, Lulama Mokhobo attack the Mbeki-era SABC board of Eddie Funde and Christine Qunta and the Mbeki-appointed CEO, Dali Mpofu, in a Sunday Times article: “….. it became blindingly obvious that previous SABC boards and executive administrations drove a precious national asset into near bankruptcy. Suppliers were not being paid, content of value could not be acquired, and local talented producers (particularly fledgling companies) were all but decimated”

New board determined to clear up the SABC

15 October 2012: Sunday World reveals that Deloittes has been struggling since October 2011 to get R9-million which it is owed for the work it did for the SABC’s “turn-around” strategy.

19 October 2012: Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan tells the parliamentary standing committee on finance that the SABC management had to take "credible measures to stop wasteful and ill-considered projects and expenditure". He said the Treasury had declined the SABC's request in March for an amendment of the government guarantee targets because it had not adequately addressed the issues which created financial instability such as cost escalations in excess of revenue growth.

In reply to a question by COPE MP Juli Kilian, he said:  "The SABC needs to demonstrate progress in achieving the original targets to which it committed”.

The SABC had only partially completed an implementation plan for a turnaround strategy

22 October 2012: The Sunday Times reveals that the SABC is under investigation by the National Consumer Council after outraged citizens and justice groups accused the Corporation of lying and described its debt collection modus operandi as "tantamount to extortion" and racketeering. Letters of demand, text messages and calls to customers from the public broadcaster's debt collectors have threatened blacklisting, even though credit bureaus stopped listing TV licence debt at the end of 2004.

Unreasonable demands by the SABC on consumers have included:

  • A mentally disabled woman in Pretoria, who never owned a TV, being told to pay 25 years of licence fees that were "in arrears"; and
  • A 22-year-old first-time TV licence-holder who, immediately after getting a licence, was back-billed for arrears to the age of 18.

1 November 2012: Thinus Ferreira of the TV with Thinus blogspot reveals on Channel 24 that the Auditor General has been asked by Parliament's portfolio committee on communications to investigate the ANC-appointed SABC board with specific reference to the fractious relationship between the board and one of its members, Cawe Mahlati.

In September the SABC board chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane shocked parliament when he announced that the SABC has "degenerated into serious dysfunctionality".

He revealed that the entire SABC board has unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in Mahlati and wants her gone. Mahlati has refused to step down.

In a highly embarrassing public spectacle on 18 September with the whole SABC board in parliament, Mahlati lashed back in parliament against "the rampant maladministration and corruption in the SABC board" under the "autocratic and patriarchal" leadership style of Ngubane.

In the SABC's latest annual report, the SABC missed most of its set strategic objectives

2 November 2012: Thinus Ferreira, webmaster of the “TV with Thinus” blogspot reveals that charges are being drawn up against the SABC's suspended chief financial officer (CFO) Gugu Duda and according to the SABC a disciplinary hearing "is imminent".

Duda was suddenly suspended mid-September on charges

She was appointed in March 2012 as the beleaguered SABC's permanent new CFO, when she replaced Robin Nicholson and took over from the acting CFO, Lerato Nage (now resigned).

The SABC board told parliament in September that Gugu Duda was allegedly responsible for financial irregularities.

The SABC now says that the forensic attorneys who have been investigating Gugu Duda presented their report to the SABC board this week. "Currently charges are being drawn up against her and a disciplinary hearing is imminent," says the SABC.

4 November 2012: The SABC having advertised that it is going to broadcast a commissioned documentary, Poject Spear, fails to do so and it later transpires that the documentary was shown to the ANC which vetoed its broadcast. This occurs again and again – the SABC commissions a documentary and then refuses to broadcast it because it is not a paean of praise for the African National Congress

Episode 6 – 04 November 2012

Project Spear

Spies, Lies & Stolen Billions

A probe into the SA Reserve Bank's affairs by a disgruntled shareholder has led to the discovery of a multi billion rand corrupt deal set up by the former regime that has major repercussions for the current government. Project Spear is an investigative documentary film told from the perspective of journalist Sylvia Vollenhoven. It explores the illegal lifeboats that were given to various business entities, mainly ABSA, by the apartheid government and the Reserve Bank in the old days. In recent times a British consultant, a former MI 6 Spy, has presented the government with an opportunity to recover some of these funds. The government first signed a deal with the consultant but then reneged, refusing to recover the money. The recovery plan is called 'Project Spear'. In an innovative departure from the documentary norm, Project Spear, uses the "Return to Burn B-Boys" in creative dance sequences to fill the gaps left by secrecy and absence of archive.

Watch “Truth Be Told “6 Part Documentary on SABC 2, Sundays at 21h00

7 November 2012: The SABC's acting head of news and current affairs Jimi Matthews has ordered SABC News journalists and reporters not to use the words "Nkandlagate" or refer to it as a "compound" or a "homestead" in any stories about president Jacob Zuma's presidential home in KwaZulu-Natal which is supposed to be upgraded at the cost of a massive R238 million.

Previously the SABC News division was also told not to refer to the Marikana shootings as a "massacre".

Jimi Matthews sent out the following email to SABC News staff:

"Dear All,

Your [sic] are hereby notified that, with immediate effect, President Zuma's Nkandla home should be referred to as the President's, or Mr  Zuma's "Nkandla residence", and not a "compound" or "Homestead" or any other such term. Please also refrain from using imported terminology in reporting on the controversy surrounding the infrastructural developments around the residence, such as "Nkandlagate", "Zumaville" and such like.."


Jimi Matthews

The SABC has not yet responded to a media enquiry made.

The COPE political party Juli Kilian said the email was indicative of "deplorable political censorship" and a "direct attack on freedom of expression and the editorial independence of the SABC".

"This is the latest incident of ongoing Luthuli House news manipulation. This deplorable political censorship is a direct attack on freedom of expression and the editorial independence of the SABC," says Juli Kilian.

"This does not only destroy the credibility of the SABC News, but the very integrity of the SABC as an independent public broadcaster. COPE condemns any form of censorship and partisan meddling into what South Africans should hear and what not. The SABC belongs to South Africans, not to a ruling faction of the ANC."

"The email is irregular and it contravenes the Broadcasting Act and the SABC license agreement with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa). This matter will be reported to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA)."

8 November 2012: Prof Jane Duncan, Highway Africa chair of media and information society at Rhodes University, says of Jimi Matthews’ internal email dictating that new staff must refer to Nkandla as President Jacob Zuma’s “home” that it was difficult not to arrive at the conclusion that Matthews was sanitising the news to cause minimal offence to the powers that be.

"While I can understand the sensitivities around the use of the word 'compound' – but not the use of the word 'homestead' – Jimi Matthews's email instruction goes way beyond what is needed to address this particular issue, and way beyond the legitimate exercise of editorial authority, and tilts over into out and out censorship," said Duncan.

Banning the use of "any such term" was unacceptably broad, she said.

8 November 2012: The Mail & Guardian questions the banning of the word compound by Jimi Matthews

10 November 2012: Andrew Donaldson, in his weekly column in the Weekend Argus describes the SABC radio programme SAFM as having apologised for having described President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla homestead as a "compound" in its news bulletins. The apology was the result of an instruction from SABC acting head of news Jimi Matthews.

An email from Matthews to his staff was read out in Parliament by Cope's acting chief whip, Juli Kilian, to wit: "Your [sic] are hereby notified that, with immediate effect, President Zuma's Nkandla home should be referred to as the President's, or Mr Zuma's, ‘Nkandla residence' and not a ‘compound' or ‘homestead' or any other such term. Please also refrain from using imported terminology in reporting on the controversy surrounding the infrastructure developments around the residence, such as ‘Nkandlagate', ‘Zumaville' and such like."

The closing "and such like" is the giveaway. It's one of his pet phrases, and so typical of Matthews, it's almost as if we can hear him using it right now, just tossing it out there at the end of another of his long-winded tales about swimming through shark-infested seas and being chased through a volley of rubber bullets by a sweating man named Odendaal. And such like.

The Matthews memo, however, smacks of censorship and political interference. Readers will recall that it was on Monday afternoon that Mac Maharaj, the Presidency spokesman, informed Johannesburg's 702 radio station of the sinister meaning of the word "compound". Helen Zille had used it in referring to Zuma's residence and this showed, ipso facto, that the Democratic Alliance is racist, Maharaj claimed, because the term was used during the apartheid era to denote single-sex living quarters for black people, especially on the mines. It was language "loaded with prejudice", he said. "She'd never use that for a white person's home."

This is utterly specious rubbish -- especially as Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi, among other government members, had also used the term, quite correctly, in describing the chief's country crib.

Maharaj, the Ridge regulars will tell you, was a former transport minister who resigned in 1999 and joined FirstRand Bank as its highest paid non-executive director. His political reputation was somewhat sullied a few years later by newspaper reports alleging that he and his wife Zarina had received several large payments from Shabby Shaik, the convicted fraudster who miraculously rose from the dead after punching a reporter on a golf course.

In July last year, Maharaj was coaxed out of retirement by Zuma. Not many politicians get a second crack at establishing a legacy of full-blown ignominy, and the man certainly has grasped at the opportunity with relish, displaying a degree of zeal with his sophistry that is often quite breath-taking.

Anyway, on Tuesday, the morning after this bilge, SAfm, the SABC's "flagship" radio station, issued its startling apology. Was Matthews instructed to do so -- or was this a heat-seeking, brown-nosing own-initiative grovel? If the latter, then it suggests a new depth in toadyism.

12 November 2012: The SABC has suspended its chief audit executive, Lorraine Francois, but the public broadcaster has not announced the news, nor given any reasons.

The SABC chairperson, dr Ben Ngubane, informed Lorraine Francois by letter that she has allegedly been working against the interest and authority of the SABC board.

12 November 2012: In a surprising move, the FXI announced that the four day hearing scheduled between itself, ICASA and the SABC would not be taking place because the parties had reached an agreement. Here is how television blogger, Thinus Ferreira described it:

It took all of 5 minutes for the Freedom of Expression Institute and the SABC to settle their fight before Icasa without saying a word about it.

It took all of 5 minutes this morning for the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) to meet with the Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to withdrawn from public scrutiny its intended case and hard-fought right to have a hearing before the country's broadcasting regulator, into alleged Blacklisting practises of the SABC.

Shock is reverberating through the broadcasting and media industry today at the FXI's unexpected withdrawal of an issue and a case dating back to 2006 - something the FXI went to court for after Icasa refused to hear the case, and which the South Gauteng High Court in January 2011 forced Icasa to hear.

That hearing into alleged Blacklisting of commentators and journalists by the SABC which was finally to be heard from today in a new hearing set to last this whole week, ended up lasting only five minutes with the FXI and the SABC withdrawing the case.

No details of the agreement between the FXI and the SABC have yet been released. I've asked the SABC earlier today about the case, and have as of yet received no response.

"Parties were engaged in a settlement agreement and the FXI hereby withdraws its complaints," advocate Nasreen Rajab-Budlender, acting for the FXI said during this morning's hearing.

Hamilton Maenetje, SC for the SABC, said the dispute had been resolved. "There is no complaint remaining. We ask for a termination of proceedings."

The terms of the settlement between the FXI and the SABC were not disclosed - ironic given that it’s the Freedom of Expression Institute and the public broadcaster.

It turns out that the FXI and the SABC have been meeting the past few weeks and last week hammered out a settlement between the institute and the public broadcaster.

The hearing, diarised to continue this entire week, would have cast a renewed spotlight on the SABC's news practises and reports since 2006 alleging that the SABC has been manipulated its news coverage through censorship by pre-deciding who the public broadcaster won't give editorial airtime.

"Sadly the issues of Blacklisting and censorship raised by this complaint remain as burningly relevant today as when they were first raised in 2006," said the Support Public Broadcasting (SOS) public pressure group in a statement before the hearing started this morning.

"To restore faith in the SABC's news coverage, we call on the SABC board, CEO and the acting head of news to publicly commit to news coverage that is hard-hitting, covers all points of view and ultimately holds those in positions of power to account."

See also Ed Herbst: The disturbing silence of the FXI lambs

14 November 2012: The Citizen, in an editorial, says that even though the FXI has reached a deal with the SABC to drop the ICASA investigation there could be no doubt that under news head Jimi Matthews, the SABC remained as much a craven lackey of the ANC as it had ever been.

More troubling is the false impression created that through this settlement the SABC is somehow redeemed; that because there is no longer a blacklist, credibility is restored.

In fact, under current head of news Jimi Matthews, the SABC is as craven as ever.

The banning of words such as “Zumaville” and “Nkandlagate”, along with the outlawing of “compound” as a description of Jacob Zuma’s publicly  funded  private homestead, all point to a one-sided political agenda. So, too, the instruction not to call the Marikana shootings a massacre.

Like his predecessor, Matthews is trying to skew news and views. In doing so he places the public broadcaster in breach of its mandate.

This week’s deal with the FXI must not be allowed to obscure the central issue of the SABC’s bias.

19 November 2012: As a result of a PAIA application by the SOS coalition, the Presidency releases three letters of resignation written by SABC board members to President Jacob Zuma in which the breakdown in trust with the board chairman, Ben Ngubane is highlighted.

20 November 2012: Cape Town - Suspended SABC financial officer Gugu Duda surprised many at the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) by making an appearance and trying to make her own presentation to MPs.

Committee chairperson Themba Godi cut Duda short when she tried to interrupt proceedings to give her own version of woes at the public broadcaster over the past eight years

MPs wasted little time in lambasting the SABC board and management members for the lack of internal control which led to the SABC receiving another qualified audit opinion for the 2011/12 book year.

"The result of this lack of internal control [was]... of the 66 planned performance indicators only 20 were achieved... this represents a 70% failure rate," ANC MP Roy Ainsley charged.

27 November 2012: IOL reveals that the almost bankrupt SABC is giving senior managers a R10 000 a month petrol allowance:

SABC grilled on fuel and contracts

Shanti Aboobaker

Senior managers at the SABC are receiving petrol allowances of up to R10 000 a month under a system designed to replace petrol cards, which were previously a source of controversy.

The SABC board was back in Parliament and received a grilling from the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).

SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane said the broadcaster had decided to get rid of petrol cards, but that the “new measures” were actually more expensive.

Acting chief financial officer Tian Olivier said the news team and outside broadcasting vehicles still used petrol cards, as did the sales team, but there were “controls” in place.

He conceded, however, that senior managers, while not being allocated petrol cards any longer, were allocated a petrol allowance – in his case, R10 000.

Scopa also heard that the broadcaster’s supply chain management policy had not yet been approved, and it had been operating without an internal audit committee for months.

ANC MP Roy Ainslie questioned Ngubane as to why the policy had not yet been approved when a recommendation to this effect was made more than two years ago.

“Why is it taking so long? Supply chain management is a vital area, and if there’s no policy, it must give rise to fraud, it must give rise to corruption, it must give rise to irregular expenditure,” an exasperated Ainslie said.

“But in the meantime, the organisation procures billions and billions of [content] – based on what? On no policy. It’s mind-boggling. It’s unacceptable.”

1 December 2012: In an editorial, Noseweek castigates the SABC for its attempts to suppress the broadcasting of its commissioned documentary, The Spear which asks why the ANC did nothing to follow up information it had received about the transfer of billions of rands out of the country during the apartheid era.

5 December 2012: On 5 December 2102 a scheduled Metro FM debate on the ANC’s Mangaung conference was cancelled at the last moment by Hlaudi Motsoeneng.  Business Day political editor Sam Mkokeli, Sunday Times political editor S’thembiso Msomi and Andrew England, Southern African bureau chief for the Financial Times were in the SABC’s Auckland Park studios and ready to go on air when they were told that the debate had been cancelled because the ANC was not represented in the discussion.

Insisting that the ANC be present in any broadcast discussion which refers to the party effectively negates freedom of speech because all the ANC has to do to chill debate is to refuse to participate.

This decision was harshly criticised by Makhuda Sefara in the Star who said that Motsoeneng’s actions insulted the Struggle.

6 December 2012: The SABC broadcasts an hour-long, soft interview with President Jacob Zuma in which not a single question is posed about major concerns in the country. Here is how Ranjeni Munusamy described the interview on the Daily Maverick web site: To round off a rather pleasant day for Zuma, the public broadcaster aired a recorded hour-long television interview on a current affairs programme called A Nation @ Work. Zuma was able to speak at length, unchallenged, on the work of government and his perspectives on issues such as the Marikana tragedy, education and unemployment.

7 December 2012: The Cape Town Press Club expresses concern about repeated censorship by the SABC news department

"Presenter Siki Mgabedeli was due to interview Cosatu [president] Sdumo Dlamini, but an instruction was given apparently to cancel the discussion because the interview did not have an ANC participant."

The club said in the space of a week both the media and an alliance partner of the ANC had been on the receiving end of censorship within the SABC.

9 December 2012: Ferial Haffajee, the editor of City Press which says that the acting chief operating officer of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng is obsessed with watching adulatory film clips about himself. She also reveals that for the first time in the history of the SABC news management team, Motsoeneng has hired, at taxpayers’ expense, a bodyguard. Not even at the height of the PW Botha era, when Botha had declared a state of emergency and the country was wracked by a low-intensity civil war, did the heads of the various television and radio  news departments  at the SABC consider it necessary to have bodyguards

The SABC’s acting chief operations officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is engrossed.

His eyes are glued to the TV in his luxurious perch on the 27th floor of the broadcaster’s headquarters in Joburg.

I am watching him watching himself intently on the TV.

Playing on the outmoded TV set is a recording of an internal broadcast from earlier this year. Held to welcome then-new CEO Lulama Mokhobo, all the broadcaster’s provincial offices had a turn to say something.

Each provincial rep welcomed the new CEO and then praised the acting COO like this: “Ntate Motsoeneng, the loss to the province (Free State, where he first worked), is a gain to the nation,” says one staffer.

The next adds: “Ntate Motsoeneng, you have saved the SABC a lot of money. We are behind everything you do.”

And another: “The SABC is becoming more stable. This is attributed to the acting COO. You are giving platforms to our concerns, fears, cries.”

So it goes for a good hour as each region welcomes the CEO and praises Motsoeneng to high heaven.

He is enraptured by his own image, perhaps it is his antidote to a fortnight which has seen him hog headlines for several acts of censorship at the SABC.

The DVD recording feels staged, but Motsoeneng is a staff favourite, according to many at the broadcaster.

9 December 2012: The Sunday Times makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng its Mampara of the Week

12 December 2012: An SABC decision to move editorial control of talk shows on politics and governance to news has far-reaching implications, Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) says.

13 December 2012: The Times in its front page lead reveals that the SABC has canned an Interface interview with cartoonist Jonathan Zapiro, which was going to be broadcast on the Interface programme.

13 December 2012: It is surely time for an independent investigation into the news practices at the SABC, which are starting to resemble those of some state broadcasters north of the border. Editorial in The Times after Interface interview with cartoonist Jonathan Zapiro is canned.

Similar articles are carried on the News 24 website and in the Mail & Guardian

14 December 2012: Acting SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng says the Corporation decided not to broadcast Zapiro’s Interface interview because it “lacked fairness and balance”.  He then threatened staff saying would be “consequences” if this were to happen again.

16 December 2012: Sunday World reveals that the statebroadcaster has paid DeLoittes R50 million (R50 million!) for a ‘turnaround” strategy.

The details are revealed in a letter was sent from Sandile Gwala of DeLoitte Consulting to Finance Minister, Pravan Gordhan. The letter which made its way into the public domain when it was inadvertently sent to the wrong person decries the futility of drafting a turnaround strategy when the SABC’s board of directors was incapable of successfully implementing it.

In his letter Gwala asks the minister to deploy one of his own senior staff members to run the SABC or bring someone from abroad "as CEO for three years".

Gwala is scathing of the SABC board in his assessment: "The overall governance structure remains an area of concern for the SABC. This is underpinned by board instability, weakness in internal controls and a lack of leadership. There are critical political and commercial forces at play influencing the position of [the] SABC.

"Some new board members (not all) have recreated the board instability that we experienced before we commenced our project."

He then recommends that Gordhan's department send a strong leader to "save the ailing broadcaster".

19 December 2012: The Press council rejects, in its entirety, a complaint by the New Age newspaper about a report in the Sunday Times on 7 October 2012 headlined “Looting at the SABC laid bare”: The story, written by Stephan Hofstatter, Mzilikazi wa Afrika and Rob Rose, casted a wide net over various questionable transactions of the SABC. The article was based on forensic reports, board minutes and internal correspondence and the revelations disclosed that the SABC was at the same time looking to raise a further R6 billion to implement its digital broadcasting strategy. The story also focused on TNA subscriptions at the SABC, the exposure that the national broadcaster had given to TNA on its Morning Live show and the advertorials that the SABC paid for to TNA.


10 January 2013: Thinus Ferreira on his “TV with Thinus” blog follows up on the Sunday World article - a consultant appointed by the SABC to help with the turnaround of an organisation that had been bankrupted in the Eddie Funde/Christine Qunta/Dali Mpofu/Snuki Zikalala era has urged the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan to appoint an overseas person to get the state broadcaster out of a situation of endemic crisis

The consultancy company the SABC paid in 2011 to help the struggling South African public broadcaster with its Turnaround Strategy wrote to the minister of finance Pravin Gordhan telling him that "the ailing broadcaster" is suffering from "a lack of leadership".

An external consultant involved with helping the SABC with its Turnaround project wrote to the minister that the SABC would be better served by a CEO from overseas for 3 years and that the struggling SABC's governance structure "remains an area of concern".

Sandile Gwala, a partner at Deloitte Consulting, wrote to the minister of finance, imploring him to appoint a CEO from outside of South Africa to run the SABC for 3 years or one of the department's own senior staff members.

The SABC paid Deloitte millions to help with the struggling public broadcaster's Turnaround Strategy. In the Deloitte letter to the minister, the consultancy firm writes that "the overall governance structure remains an area of concern for the SABC."

"This is underpinned by board instability, weakness in internal controls and a lack of leadership. There are critical political and commercial forces at play influencing the position of SABC."

"Some new board members (not all) have recreated the board instability that we experienced before we commenced our project."

Responding to a media enquiry made to Sandile Gwala and Deloitte, the PR company employed by the firm tells me that "Deloitte does not comment on private and confidential correspondence issued by the firm in relation to its clients and therefore will not be commenting in this regard."

The SABC didn't respond to a media enquiry made before Christmas 2012 regarding the letter and neither did Jabulani Sikhakhane the minister's spokesperson.

11 January 2013: The Star reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, acting chief operating officer of the debt-crippled SABC, has ordered that millions of rand be spent converting surplus freelancers into full-time staff.

The Star can reveal that Motsoeneng issued the “instruction” through an internal memo on November 7, despite protests by the public broadcaster’s acting chief financial officer (CFO), Tian Olivier, and others.

In fact, Motsoeneng warned there would be “consequences” if the management and human resources failed to find the budget and implement the conversion during the 2012/2013 financial year.

According to internal memoranda seen by The Star, the decision means all permanent technical employees will be paid a full month’s salary, but be able to work only for three weeks a month because of the new oversupply of staff.

The conversion will cost millions in unbudgeted expenses to cover the erstwhile freelancers’ new human resources benefits.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has publicly called on the SABC to reduce its staffing complement and cut costs as it continues to service the R1 billion bailout granted by a private bank in 2009, after the Treasury signed sureties to save the SABC from its R800 million deficit.

Some managers have accused Motsoeneng of wasteful expenditure and flouting the Public Finance Management Act, according to internal correspondence.

According to an internal memo, the cost and other implications are:

  • 7 million to convert 22 video editors into permanent staff members at scale 404.
  • Staff members will now work a combined 324 hours less a month.
  • R729 000 will be needed to pay six freelancers who would do the job usually done by the three video editors earmarked for the 24-Hour News Channel.
  • R200 000 extra will be required to pay salaries between December 2012 and March.
  • Employees will work a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 32 hours a week, even though the law required them to work a minimum 40 hours a week.

Acting SABC group executive for human capital services Keobokile Mosweu has denied the figures mentioned in the memo.

“The audit that we are conducting will give us the figure. It will give us the financial impact, not the R5 million that you have referred to because the figure is premature,” said Mosweu.

Motsoeneng and Olivier confirmed his instruction during an interview with The Star at the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters this week.

However, they denied that the conversion would negatively affect the SABC’s financial positions and amounted to wasteful expenditure. They said they were merely doing what the Basic Conditions of Employment Act required of them.

Olivier also confirmed that he had refused to approve the conversion, but denied that he had said the freelancers were surplus to requirement.

“People came to me after this memo of the 8th and said ‘We need to employ’. I said ‘Whoa! Whoa!’

“I haven’t seen the request (for the posts). I have not approved anything, it is a fact, because they didn’t come to me with it yet. And in terms of the delegation of authority, any new post that does not have a budget yet must be approved by the CFO,” Olivier said.

Motsoeneng defended his decision, saying it was necessary to end the “abuse” of freelancers, comply with the law and retain skills. He said he had responded to complaints and concerns from the affected freelancers.

Motsoeneng conceded that Olivier had raised “red flags”. However, he said he was forging ahead to ensure the SABC’s sustainability.

15 January 2013: Ed Herbst analyses the situation at the SABC involving Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Lulama Mokhobo and Phil Molefe

17 January 2013: The SABC’s acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, has launched a witch-hunt for employees suspected of leaking damaging information about him.

This came after The Star’s report last week that Motsoeneng had instructed the debt-crippled corporation to spend millions it did not have converting surplus freelancers into permanent employees.

The Star has learnt that he summoned SABC employees to a general meeting at the public broadcaster’s headquarters on Monday and threatened to sniff out and fire those behind the leaks.

Four employees who attended the meeting said Motsoeneng announced that he had asked internal auditors and the corporation’s acting news chief, Jimi Mathews, to find out who had leaked the story and to recommend sanctions.

They said Motsoeneng maintained that he was launching “operation clean up” to flush out insubordinate managers who did not want to “be on the same page” with the executive.

He did not name them.

20 January 2013: City Press reveals that three of the country’s biggest state-owned companies are paying millions of rands to bankroll ­business breakfasts hosted by President Jacob Zuma’s close friends, the Gupta family.

24 January 2013: The Freedom Front asks the Public Protector to investigate the SABC in connection with its sponsoring of the New Age newspaper’s breakfasts

25 January 2013: The SABC once again vetoes the use of a commissioned program for fear of upsetting the ANC

30 January 2013: City Press reveals that the SABC has hounded a dead woman for the past 15 years for her TV licence money

3 February 2013: The SOS Coalition sends an open letter to parliament expressing concern about the resignation of board member Patricia Makhesha. “The reasons for Ms. Makhesha’s resignation have not been released, but media reports have speculated this was due to corporate governance ­problems.

“The working group notes with dismay that this is the seventh of the 12 non-executive SABC Board members to resign since 2010 when the board took office.

After an exhaustive Promotion of Access to Information Act request, SOS has managed to obtain from the Presidency the resignation letters of all board members, save for one, since 2010.

“These letters can be accessed on the SOS website, and make for depressing reading. What is startling is that where reasons are given for the resignations, they actually focus on two key factors: serious corporate governance problems and inappropriate ­ministerial interference.

“In light of this latest resignation, SOS formally and publicly calls upon the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications to hold a special hearing on the two deep-seated problems identified by outgoing SABC board members.”

3 February 2013: The Sunday Times reports that Communications Minister Dina Pule’s alleged lover, businessman Phosane Mngqibisa was paid a R6m “management fee” for the 2012 ICT Indaba despite not being involved.

The report further suggests that the conference organisers were forced by the Department of Communications (DoC) to hire Mngqibisa.

The Sunday Times cited two forensic documents which showed that Mngqibisa was not really involved in the organisation of the event, despite being paid R6-million

4 February 2013: Parliament’s communications committee is asked to hold a special hearing to get to the bottom of a spate of resignations of SABC board members, who have cited “intolerable interference” in the affairs of the board, multiple breaches of the law by the chief executive officer and the board chairman and failures of corporate governance as reasons for their going.

15 February 2013: The Mail & Guardian reveals that the SABC has been caught napping by the announcement of a 24-hour news channel by the Guptas.

26 February 2013: SABC announces that Hlaudi Motsoeneg will be removed from his position of acting COO with immediate effect

4 March 2013: SABC chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane, announces that he has over-ruled a board decision to remove Hlaudi Motsoeneng from his position as acting COO.

4 March 2013: The SABC denies that Ngubane has the power to overrule a decision by a properly-constituted SABC board to remove acing COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, from his position.

5 March 2013: Communications Minister, Dina Pule, asks parliament to urgently review the SABC’s board fitness to hold office.

8 March 2013: A strike at the SABC is threatened as the broadcaster seeks to reverse salary increases awarded in December 2012 under Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

10 March 2013: City Press reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, recently removed as COO, refuses to leave his office.

10 March 2013: The DA calls for the SIU (Special Investigating Unit) to urgently appear before a parliamentary committee to present a report on the status of its probe into SABC corruption.

11 March 2013: The chairman of the board, Dr Ben Ngubane and his deputy, Thami ka Plaatjie, resign.

11 March 2013: Zuma gets Ngubane resignation letter – DA and IFP urge that he accepts

14 March 2013: Communications Minister Dina Pule lashes out at the SABC board.

Communications Minister Dina Pule has lashed out in a scathing letter at the SABC board for the suspension of the corporation’s controversial chief financial officer Gugu Duda, the appointment of her replacement and the reinstatement of acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, which she described as “unprocedural.

17 March 2013: The Sunday Independent, quoting from a leaked forensic report commissioned by SABC board chairman, Dr Ben Ngubane, claims that communications minister Dina Pule connived at the appointment of the corporation’s Chief financial Officer, Gugu Duda by holding secret meetings with her months before she was appointed. Duda was not the board’s choice for this position but they were given no option but to appoint her.Duda was later suspended for diverting R3m into a bank account for the ICT Indaba, an account from which Pule’s alleged lover, Phosane Mngqibisa, subsequently drew millions of rands.

19 March 2013: Pippa Green resigns from the SABC board and says the SABC should be broken up

19 March 2013: Suzanne Vos resigns from the SABC board and tells parliament that the board’s implosion was the result of the interference of Communications Minister Dina Pule and the unilateral and often illegal actions of board chair, Dr Ben Ngubane.

19 March 2013: SABC board members blame Pule for mass resignation.

20 March 2013: Rebecca Davis describes the shambolic meeting in parliament which saw the SABC board dissolved.

22 March 2013: The Mail & Guardian reveals board member Pippa Green’s resignation letter in which she, like Vos, cites interference by Pule as a major factor in her resignation.

24 March 2013: The Sunday Times reveals that Phosane Mngqibisa, Communications Minister Dina Pule’s lover, engineered getting friends and relatives on the boards of the Post Office, Sentech, Usasa and the SABC with the full knowledge of Pule.

The Sunday Times has established that Mngqibisa engineered the appointment of his close relative, Lulama Makhobo, to the post of SABC CEO, as well as one of his friends, Gugu Duda, as chief finance officer at the broadcaster.

A former confidante and business partner of Duda, Nomakhaya Malebane, gave the Sunday Times a blow-by-blow account of Mngqibisa's role in the appointments.

"I was at Gugu's house on December 8 2011 when she was informed that Phosane was arranging a secret meeting between her and the minister. A series of meetings took place before all parties went on Christmas holidays," Malebane said.

"Phosane gave Gugu three choices: to be a CFO at either the SABC, the Post Office or Post Bank, and she chose the SABC."

On Friday, Duda would not deny or confirm Malebane's allegations. She admitted speaking to Mngqibisa about the SABC at the time, but claimed the call was about other matters. She did not elaborate. But Duda did not deny sending her CV to Pule's office, instead of to the SABC board - as well-placed sources at the broadcaster claimed. "I was on the market and I sent my CV to everyone," she said.

When the SABC board initially recommended a candidate from the Eastern Cape for the position because Duda's CV was still stuck at Pule's office, the minister refused to endorse the board's decision and asked for a second round of interviews.

"Before the second round of interviews, Phosane was lobbying at least five board members to give Gugu the job," said Malebane.

This was confirmed by former SABC board member Pippa Green, who said in her resignation letter sent to Zuma this week: "The name the board submitted to the shareholder for the position of the CFO ... was rejected out of hand. We were told to submit three [names], including the name of a person whose CV came to us suspiciously late. This was the CV of the person whom the minister subsequently appointed and who turned out to be a major disappointment for the board."

Malebane told the Sunday Times that she prepared all the documents that Duda needed for the interviews, first with Mngqibisa and later with the SABC board

24 March 2013: Marian Shinn, DA shadow minister of communications, reacting to the Sunday Times report, calls on President Jacob Zuma to dismiss Pule.

25 March 2013: Jonathan Jansen, the vice chancellor and rector of the University of the Orange Free State, slates Communications Minister Dina Pule calling her incompetent and corrupt.

27 March 2013: Communications minister, Dina Pule, speaking to Talk Radio 702 DJ Eusebius McKaiser, denies a romantic link between herself and businessman Phosane Mngqibisa. Subsequently, on 5 May the Sunday Times accuses her of lying, quoting four diplomats as saying that he accompanied her on numerous overseas trips. On June 2, the paper again accuses her of lying, publishing an official government document in which she cites Mngibisa as her “spouse”.

27 March 2013: The Communications Ministry says that it has received no official communication from the former SABC board and thus, technically, Hlaudi Motsoeneng is still the COO.

28 March 2013: The Times reports that a panel of nine people has been appointed to investigate the nature of Communications Minister Dina Pule's relationship with businessman Phosane Mngqibisa

30 March 2013: Hlaudi Motsoeneng issues a statement via SAPA to say that from 1 April  the English tv news bulletin would run from 6:30 – 7:30 to “ … allow an opportunity to give coverage to stories from the respective provinces.”

31 March 2013: The Sunday Times reports that Parliament’s ethics committee, chaired by Ben Turok will interview Communications Minister Dina Pule for five days, starting on April 22, to ascertain what role has been played by her alleged boyfriend/lover, Phosane Mngqibisa in various allegations of corruption. (“Ethics committee to probe Pule and her partner – MPs want to know if minister transgressed rules”)

8 April 2013: The Department of Communications reveals that President Jacob Zuma has endorsed the interim SABC board recommended by Parliament.

8 April 2013: SABC fined R25000 for “gross negligence” and “serious contravention of broadcasting code of conduct”.

8 April 2013: Opposition parliamentarians accuse Communications minister Dina Pule of not being interested in her job.

10 April 2013: DA lays charges against Communications Minister Dina Pule and others

12 April 2013: Saying that it feared that the SABC could be placed under administration the trade union, MWASA, called for it to be changed into a Chapter 9 Institution. A perpetual dark cloud of depravity, ineptitude, self-interest and corruption looms large over the SABC."

18 April 2013: Writing in Business Day, columnist Carol Paton says: Allegations about the abuse of office and government funds by Communications Minister Dina Pule have filled pages of newsprint this year and last, without a word of comment from the ANC

21 April 2013: The Sunday Times alleges that Communications Minister Dina Pule blew R2.6-million on a recruitment deal that led to the appointment of cronies of her boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa, to the boards of key parastatals.

22 April 2013: Dina Pule calls a press conference to rebut the Sunday Times allegations against her saying it was a “political smear campaign”.

22 April 2013: The Sunday Times responds saying that Pule is attacking the messenger instead of providing a detailed response to the allegations against her

22 April 2013: Marian Shinn of the DA slates the Pule press conference and calls on Pule to wait until the parliamentary enquiry into her conduct is complete.

5 May 2013: The Sunday Times accuses communications minister, Dina Pule, of lying about her romantic link to businessman Phosane Mngqibisa – a link which she had previously denied on 27 March in an interview with Talk Radio 702 DJ Eusebius McKaizer.

According to the Sunday Times report four diplomats, some of whom will testify in parliament’s ethics committee hearing into alleged misconduct by Pule, said that Mngqibisa was treated as Pule’s romantic partner on three international trips.

15 May 2013: The Sunday Times reveals details of Dina Pule’s overseas trips with her married lover, Phosane Mngqibisa

17 May 2013: Plans to screen a documentary about a corrupt apartheid deal at a fringe event during the Franschhoek Literary Festival were halted after the SABC served papers on journalist Sylvia Vollenhoven, who made the film.

From: Sylvia Vollenhoven <> Date: 17 May 2013 1:44:42 PM SAST To: Peggy Mabaso <> Subject: Re: SABC / SYLVIA VOLLENHOVEN & VOLLENHOVEN & APPOLLIS INDEPENDENT


I have no intention of screening a documentary on the Arms Deal because I never made one.

I made a documentary for the SABC's Truth Be Told series called Project Spear that deals with apartheid corruption and latter day consequences.

Your letter has been noted and I will not be screening this film at the Franschhoek Literary Festival tomorrow.

I have been writing to the SABC for many months now. They have showed no interest in screening this film, made with public funds. It was on the schedule last year but was taken off with no public explanation.

The last I heard from the SABC I was given an undertaking that they were prepared to sell the rights. I was told that a Business Plan was doing the rounds at the SABC and that I would be able to buy the rights for Project Spear. Could you please ask your client what has happened to these negotiations. We have been raising money to buy the rights but all my attempts to make progress with this issue has met with silence since the time when I was told that they were preparing the business plan for the sale.


Sylvia Vollenhoven

19 May 2013: In an interview with City Press Sylvia Vollenhoven compares the actions of the SABC in attempting to suppress her commissioned documentary, “The Spear” with those of apartheid era police:

“In the old days, we had cops doing the dirty work. Now, we have highly paid attorneys working on hourly rates doing it – using even more public money to put a stop to a film made with public money.”

23 May 2013: Business Day carries the following letter relating to the frantic efforts by the SABC to prevent the public screening of Sylvia Vollenhoven’s documentary on NP/ANC corruption, Project Spear.

LETTER: SABC back to old ways

I am surprised you have not picked up on the story from the Franschhoek Literary Festival.

The SABC sent two high-priced lawyers to ensure Sylvia Vollenhoven, an independent film producer and much-respected former SABC producer, did not screen her documentary on corruption from the past and its influence on the present.

Her film, Project Spear: Spies, Lies and Stolen Billions, followed the trail of more than R1bn nested in secret by the former apartheid government. A former British MI6 spy offered to help our government recover the stolen loot but was ignored.

The SABC hired the high-priced law firm to halt Ms Vollenhoven and the editor of Noseweek from screening the film to a small group of people.

That has people like me worried because I worked at the SABC as an editorial trainer in the 1990s to help people like Ms Vollenhoven transform it from government lap dog into a broadcaster producing top journalism.

This is the latest in a series of incidents in which the SABC has reverted to its habits as official apologist and censor.

Daniel David

Kanehsata:ke, Québec

2 June 2013: The Sunday Times again accuses communications minister Dina Pule of lying about her romantic link to businessman Phosane Mngqibisa. On 5 May the paper said it had testimony from four diplomats who said that Pule had made repeated overseas trips with Mngqibisa. Now the paper publishes a government document in which Pule nominates Mngqibisa as her “spouse”. On 27 March Pule denied any romantic link with Mngqibisa saying in an interview with Talk Radio 702 DJ Eusebius McKaizer that the businessman was only a “comrade”.

The Sunday Times reported today (2 June 2013) that it has documents where communications minister Dina Pule had nominated Phosane Mngqibisa as her spouse to accompany her on official visits to Mexico in September 2009.

Pule previously denied that she was romantically linked to Mngqibisa. She said that she only knew Mngqibisa as a comrade, but has “nothing to do with him”.

One document – which was published by the Sunday Times and came from the Office of the Deputy Minister – stated that Mngqibisa was nominated as Pule’s spouse. Pule was the deputy communications minister at the time.

The newspaper report highlighted that “Mngqibisa, a father of three, was married at the time”.

Former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda confirmed that he approved the trips with Pule and her spouse. However, he said that he was not aware who the spouse was.

The report added that Pule and “her spouse” took 20 trips together since 2009, with the last one on 7 June 2012 – the last day of the controversial ICT Indaba.

2 June 2013: SABC Spokesman, Kaizer Kganyago, tells the Sunday Independent that the corporation has reached an agreement with former news head Phil Molefe who has been on suspension with full pay for more than a year.

4 June 2013: Two days after Kganyago was quoted in the Sunday Independent as saying that a settlement agreement had been reached between the SABC and Molefe, Stephen Grootes of Eyewitness News says Molefe refutes Kgnyago’s claims. The story is headlined “SABC are liars – Phil Molefe”.

Molefe’s lawyers said they don’t know where the SABC’s claims in the Sunday newspaper came from because they have not reached any settlement with the corporation.

They said they were still preparing to go to the Supreme Court of Appeal over an earlier court ruling on his suspension.

The SABC said the board dealt with the Molefe issue but that it could not go into details about the matter.

4 June 2013: Authoritative television commentator, Thinus Ferreira, disputes the claim by communications minister, Dina Pule, that her department spent R758m on local content in 2012.

13 June 2013: The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry calls for communications minister Dina Pule to be suspended pending the outcome of a series of investigations against her.

“We are disappointed at the lack of action taken by the president given that the minister’s public office is under investigation for serious allegations of corruption,” says chamber executive director Viola Manuel in a statement. “It undermines the promises made to fight corruption, which has a ripple effect on the confidence to govern important initiatives such as broadband.”

22 June 2013: Press ombudsman Johan Retief entirely dismisses all three complaints by Communications Minister Dina Pule against the Sunday Times.

29 June 2013: Die Burger carries a story about “Project Spear” the SABC-commissioned documentary on how the apartheid regime, in collusion with the ANC, moved more than R30 billion of stolen money offshore before the 1994 democratic elections. The documentary was made by Sylvia Vollenhoven but and it was scheduled for broadcast in January this year. The state broadcaster refused to broadcast it, allegedly due to political pressure, and interdicted van Vollenhoven when she attempted to show extracts from the documentary at the Franschhoek Literary Festival (See Timeline 17 May 2013)

30 June 2013: Winnie Mandela tells Britain’s ITV News that the family were deeply offended by the ANC’s visit – televised by the SABC – to a clearly confused and ailing Nelson Mandela:

In excerpts published on the ITV website, she added: "It was insensitive, it compromised the family, compromised his dignity and it should have never been done."

Zuma said at the time Mandela was "up and about", a description that was clearly at odds with televised footage that showed the revered ex-leader frail and dazed, sitting frozen in an armchair.

30 June 2013: Charl Blignaut of City Press reveals that the SABC is preparing to go to court to prevent Sylvia Vollenhoven, a former SABC reporter and producer who was commissioned to produce a documentary for the SABC2 series Truth be Told, from airing the program or from even discussing the matter in radio interviews. The documentary, “The Spear” tells of how R3 billion was siphoned out of government coffers during the apartheid era.

“It questions why the ANC allegedly refused to take action to punish apartheid leaders”.

9 July 2013: President Jacob Zuma holds a press conference in parliament and, among other changes, announces that Communications Minister Dina Pule will be replaced by Yunus Carrim, the deputy minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs.

Then, abruptly and without taking questions he walks out . . . exactly four months and one day after his spokesman Mac Maharaj had rejected a rumour that she would be replaced.

10 July 2013: Forty five minutes after being sworn in, the new Minister of Communications, Yunus Carrim, expresses concerns about the SABC:  We are all excruciatingly aware of the need to stabilise the SABC board and its management. We need to improve its performance.

We simply have no choice. The public out there, the business community, trade union movements and society have reached a limit of tolerance about the difficulties we have been having in the SABC.

10 July 2013: The communications industry reacts with surprise to the appointment of Carrim, a member of the SACP and someone with strong struggle credentials, saying he has no experience in the sector. It points out that there were several more obvious choices and the motivation of President Zuma in appointing Carrim is questioned.

10 July 2013: Marian Shinn, Democratic Alliance shadow minister for communications issues a press statement saying that three months after the DA laid charges of corruption against Pule on 10 April, the police had made no effort to investigate Pule.

11 July 2013: Itweb publishes a timeline of Dina Pule’s tenure as Communications Minister

11 July 2013: 2 Oceans Vibe News reveals that the SABC is going to sue noseweek and its editor Martin Welz after the magazine carried an article in its issue about Sylvia vollenhoven and her SABC-commissioned documentary, “The Spear”.

11 July 2013: Julius Malema launches his new political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Johannesburg and lashes out at the media in general and the SABC in particular. This is posted by SAPA on YouTube:

“The SABC is run from Luthuli House, in Jackson … oh … Jack Daniels Mthembu’s (laughter) office er.. Luthuli House, Sauer Street, that’s where the SABC is ran (sic).   And when I came here I didn’t expect them because I know how we used to run them when we still there.

“And they can’t tell me it’s wrong, I’m lying -we used to do it. (laughter)

They will be called to Luthuli House, they will be told which story to cover and which story not to cover.

“Comrades in the SABC operate like it’s the eighties, scared they are going to be fired.”

22 July 2013: The Hawks confirm that they are investigating former Communications Minister, Dina Pule, for corruption. Nothing further is ever heard about the ‘investigation’

23 July 2013: Business Day reports that almost a hundred names have been put forward for the SABC board.

23 July 2013: The Daily Maverick carries report by UK documentary producer Inigo Gilmore about how he was refused access to SABC archive footage when he was researching his documentary into police brutality in South Africa.

In addition, when I approached SABC to access the full footage their cameraman filmed that day, I drew a blank. After an exchange with the channel's archive department I was informed that they would not release the video to me, and told me that this was a "top management decision.”

His documentary, South Africa’s Dirty Cops was broadcast on the acclaimed British television programme Channel 4 Dispatches.

The SABC sells archive footage on a daily basis and has done so since the SABC began its television service in 1975. Since then it has generated a significant income from this source. This raises the question of why the Tatane footage should be any different.

Gilmore worked in South Africa for the Guardian for several years so has a good understanding of the country. He says the programme on police brutality in this country has been offered to several local networks including the SABC without response.

23 July 2013: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela confirms that, like the Hawks, she is investigating former Communications Minister Dina Pule

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Monday evening that her office was nearing completion of at least two investigations involving Ms Pule.

The first was about the chaos within the previous SABC board that led to Parliament replacing it with an interim board.

The second is also related to the ICT Indaba.

26 July 2013: Media experts and trades union express concern about the viability of the SABC’s proposed launch of a 24-hour news channel:

Broadcast, Electronic, Media & Allied Workers Union president Hannes du Buisson says it is morally wrong for the public broadcaster to launch this channel.

"They speak of their public mandate but I have a strong feeling that they may be in breach of the Broadcasting Act and possibly their licensing agreement with Icasa (the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa).

"It boggles the mind that they are using public funding to broadcast on a platform that the majority of the people who pay TV licences can’t reach," Mr du Buisson says. "They are supposed to be free-to-air and to broadcast in multiple languages, but one presumes that once they are on DStv, the news will only be in English — which is against their mandate."

31 July 2013: President Jacob Zuma addresses the Black Business Council at a dinner in Gallagher Estate, Midrand and lists the ANC’s achievements. The SABC interrupts scheduled programming to carry the speech live which upsets opposition parties. The SABC rejects this criticism.

1 August 2013: Live SABC television coverage of a speech by President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday night smacked of electioneering, the Democratic Alliance said.

“In fact, the president's speech sounded much like an election speech,” party spokesman Mmusi Maimane said on Thursday.

“He used the opportunity to rattle off a list of supposed government achievements.”

Maimane said he would insist on an explanation from SABC head of news Jimi Matthews.

No explanation waas ever provided by Matthews

1 August 2013: The SABC launches its 24-hour channel with President Jacob Zuma as the guest of honour and with acting COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng sitting alongside him while CEO Lulama Mokhobo was relegated to being the MC.

Zuma called for sunshine journalism and Motsoeneng had harsh words for his critics.

The head of news, Jimi Matthews, said that all the “checks and balances” were in place to prevent the channel from becoming a government mouthpiece.

"I am not quite sure where it comes from that the channel could be used as a propaganda tool. I am not sure how it would be any different to the operation I oversee at present. It is not like a 24-hour channel is a beast on its own. It still resides in the newsroom, with all the same management team, and all checks and balances. How it would somehow become a tool for some political entity confounds me a bit," Matthews said.

1 August 2013: The ANC issues a statement congratulating the SABC on the launch of its 24-hour news channel

It is the hope of the ANC that the Public Broadcaster will bring to South Africans accessible and informative news content from around the country and the world with no fear or favour. We further trust that this platform will not be yet another hourly regurgitation of stale content which can no longer be considered news, but rather a critical assessment and exposure of the best and worst in our society, anchored firmly on the hope and determination of ordinary South Africans to be part of solution, building a common nationhood.

2 August 2013: Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with his hallmark bragadocio, lauds his own achievements

4 August 2013: The Sunday Times makes SABC acting COO its Mampara of the Week:

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who describes himself as the “engine” of the Zuma broadcasting operation in Auckland Park, was revving it up at the chaotic launch this week of the SABC’s new 24-hour news channel.

Group CEO Lulama Mokhobo was relegated to programme director for the evening while Hlaudi hobnobbed with No 1 and got to make the keynote speech. Zandile Tshabalala, interim chairwoman of the board, barely got a look in.

Promising to tell South Africa’s “success stories” for 24 hours a day, Hlaudi boasted: “We can cross to any country in Africa, including New York.” Someone should buy this overreaching mampara an atlas.

4 August 2013: The Sunday Times in its Hogarth column pans the launch on Friday August 1 of the SABC’s 24-hour “international” news channel.

Lights, camera, action . . . er, hang on a moment

No one could have scripted a sillier episode of our own Faulty Towers than Thursday’s launch of the SABC’s 24hour news-free channel. The only saving grace was that it ran on the exclusive DStv network, so ordinary South Africans were spared the latest abuse of their taxes and VAT contributions.

Open microphones catching presenters unawares, impromptu colour bars, bad camera work and cringe-worthy dialogue made the show feel like an Idols audition in Tweebuffelsfontein.

A clip of the first false start was still feeding a digital virus when anchor Peter Ndoro interviewed interim SABC chairwoman Zandile Tshabalala and kept calling her Andile.

“A point of correction: My name is Zandile. Zandile. Not Andile,” she said pointedly before going on to preview the riveting menu of hope and good leadership that will be the new channel’s secret recipe.

“Sorry, sorry for that mistake,” Ndoro grovelled as he watched his Christmas bonus go down the drain.

4 August 2013: The news breaks that Sylvia Vollenhoven, producer of The Spear which was commissioned by the SABC and then canned because of the questions it asked about the ANC, is to take her case to court.

6 August 2013: Marian Shinn, DA spokesperson on communications reveals that the SABC has spent almost R20 million on corruption investigations and resolving staff dismissal disputes but only 14 cases have been reported to the SAPS  and of the 14 only one has been concluded.

6 August 2013: The Legal Resources Centre reveals that it will be assisting free lance producer Sylvia Vollenhoven in her court action against the SABC over her documentary Project Spear which was vetoed by the ANC after the documentary question why the ANC had never followed up information of the transfer of billions of rands out of the country by apartheid era people.

7 August 2013: A multi-parliamentary disciplinary committee which investigates former Communications Minister, Dina Pule, for malpractices finds her guilty of all but one of the charges levelled against her.

Sowetan 8/8/2013

Dina Pule found guilty and fined

A report detailing misconduct by former communications minister Dina Pule has recommended that it be referred to the police and the National Prosecuting Authority for possible investigation.

The report, which was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, found that Pule had "wilfully misled" Parliament's ethics committee by denying her romantic relationship with a man who allegedly made millions from sponsorship deals with her former department.

The report was compiled by a nine-member, multi-party panel which recommended that Pule be docked a month's salary, and that she be reprimanded in the National Assembly by Speaker Max Sisulu.

The ethics committee adopted the full report, which was sent to the National Assembly for approval.

Pule was found guilty of failing to disclose the interests of her romantic partner Phosane Mngqibisa.

He benefited financially from the sponsorship of last year's information and communications technology event, the ICT Indaba, which her department hosted in Cape Town.

"We found her guilty of failing to declare her relationship with Mr Mngqibisa," said joint committee chair Ben Turok.

"She failed to declare the fact that he received material benefits which are financial and otherwise, and in failing to do so she broke the rules of the code of conduct of Parliament."

The panel's report was sent to the National Assembly (NA) and to Pule. Turok said the penalties could be imposed only if the NA approved the report.

"We are recommending a reprimand by the Speaker in the House, a 30-days' salary equivalent fine, and 15-days' suspension from all the committees in Parliament," Turok said.

The Democratic Alliance welcomed the findings.

"The DA is pleased that the multiparty ethics committee was unanimous in its decision to impose the strictest possible penalties available to Parliament in this case," said MP Diane Kohler-Barnard, who served on the committee.

Pule consistently denied during panel hearings that Mngqibisa was her permanent companion, insisting he was a "friend".

However, testimony showed that he accompanied her on various trips abroad and had shared her hotel suites.

According to the report: "Honourable Pule's testimony under oath regarding her relationship with Mr Mngqibisa is inconsistent with the facts, as is her statement regarding Telkom."

Telkom was one of several sponsors of the ICT Indaba.

Pule claimed the sponsorship from Telkom had been obtained prior to her becoming communications minister last year.

"However, the contract of sponsorship is signed on 10 May 2012, when Honourable Pule was already in office," the report stated.

"The committee notes the concealment of the relationship by Honourable Pule enabled Mr Mngqibisa to gain improper financial benefit."

Pule was cleared of only one of the allegations against her.

"On the allegation that the Honourable Pule breached paragraph seven of the code [of conduct of Parliament] in that she received a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes as a gift from Mr Mngqibisa, the panel finds that there is no breach. There was not sufficient evidence to prove the allegation."

Pule was sacked from Cabinet in a reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma last month, but she remains an MP.

Source: Sapa


The Times 8/8/2013

MPS put boot into lying Pule

High-flying former minister gets public reprimand and a suspension

Thabo Mokone

PARLIAMENT’S ethics committee reserved its harshest sentence ever for disgraced former Communications Minister Dina Pule after she was found guilty of “wilfully misleading” MPs.

She will receive a public reprimand from National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu and the committee has recommended that her salary be suspended for a month.

She will also be suspended from parliament for 15 days.

Pule was demoted to an ordinary ANC backbencher after being fired by President Jacob Zuma from the cabinet last month.

The sanctions are the result of a lengthy inquiry by parliament’s joint ethics committee following a series of Sunday Times reports.

The reports detailed how Pule’s boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa , went on numerous overseas trips with the now-disgraced minster at the taxpayers’ expense.

The newspaper also reported that a company he owns, Khemano, allegedly pocketed R6-million for organising the ICT Indaba in Cape Town in June last year.

Pule had earlier denied the allegations and any romantic links to Mngqibisa, dismissing them as a smear campaign.

But yesterday the ethics committee — led by veteran MP Ben Turok and Lemias Mashile — found that:

  • Mngqibisa was “the de facto permanent companion/spouse”, with their relationship tracked back to 2009 when she was still deputy minister in the Presidency;
  • Mngqibisa, through that relationship, obtained government funding for trips abroad and took part in official meetings of the Communications Department despite not being its employee;
  • Mngqibisa and Khemano enjoyed financial benefits from the department “as a result of his relationship with Pule” and admitted to pocketing R600 000 from the indaba;
  • Pule had not declared the financial benef its enjoyed by “her de facto spouse”, with her declarations between 2009 and 2012 being incomplete; and
  • Pule ‘‘wilfully misled’’ the ethics committee panel that investigated her on these matters and never admitted any wrongdoing and that several officials from the communications department might have committed perjury in their evidence.

The committee did not make any finding on allegations that Mngqibisa had bought expensive Christian Louboutin shoes for Pule while they were on a government-sponsored trip to Barcelona.

The ethics committee could not corroborate this claim.

“There was one charge on which we failed to prove [and] that is the shoes,” said Turok.

“But on the rest, we succeeded and she was found guilty on them. She submitted two affidavits in which she denied [all the allegations],” he said.

Turok said officials who appear to have lied to parliament to protect Pule would be reported to the Office of the President and the Public Service Commission for further action.

He said the matter would also be referred to the police and the National Prosecuting Authority for investigation in terms of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act.

The national legislature’s watchdog body also established that Mngqibisa had placed himself in a favourable position to benefit from the department’s future projects similar to the Cape Town ICT Indaba that landed Pule in hot water.

“There was an agreement between another company and the Communications Department about indabas going forward into a few years ...

“I don’t want to go into details but indications are that Mngqibisa located himself in a favourable position to benefit from future activity,” he said.

“So it’s a fair inference to say that the influence he was accumulating as a result of the [romantic] association would extend beyond the immediate indaba that we were looking into.”

Pule last night refused to speak to The Times, saying she had neither seen the report nor been informed about the outcome of the inquiry into her ethical conduct.

But Turok and Mashile said she had been sent a copy.

“I cannot because they have not yet spoken to me ... I have not received any report as I am sitting at home right now,” Pule said.


7 August 2013: Dianne Kohler Barnard, DA Shadow Minister of Police, welcomes the findings of the multiparty Parliamentary Ethics Committee which investigated complaints against former Communications Minister Dina Pule at the behest of the Democratic Alliance.

8 August 2013: Writing in Business Day, media commentator and Professor of Journalism at Wits University, Anton Harber, describes the launch of the SABC 24-hour news channel as “tacky”.

It wasn’t just that the launch was full of technical blapses (did anyone else catch the presenter talking about her breasts, not knowing that she was on air?), but how extraordinary it was that anyone could think to launch a news channel with live coverage of a dinner and long, boring speeches by politicians and business partners.

The SABC chose to display not sharp, informative, on-the-ball journalism but a public genuflection to its political and financial masters.

The inappropriateness of the launch was matched only by the tackiness.

The channel design — the logos, the badly shot, overused promos — look like something out of the 1970s. What became clear in the first few days of watching is that the SABC’s sleepy news operation has not geared up for the speed, immediacy and interactivity of the digital age.

What summed it up for me was to see the SABC’s head of news, Jimi Matthews, on the wrong side of the camera, eating dinner with the guests during the channel’s launch.

How can the main man not be in the control room at a time like this?

8 August 2013: Writing on the Media Online website, Chris Moerdyk says that the new SABC 24-hour TV news channel will never attract viewers because it is multi-lingual.

I find it most distressing to see what could be a successful national broadcaster, clearly pandering to political demands and political correctness, continuously heading off on expensive tangents that always end up having to be bailed out by the taxpayers.

Just listening to the rationale behind this channel at the time of its launch, it should have been abundantly clear to anyone with even a single figure IQ that the SABC’s 24 hour news channel was born out of the dictates of a political party and its national broadcaster both under severe pressure to deliver what they have been promising for so long.

History has shown that when politicians are unable to keep election promises and unable to supply basic services, a last desperate measure is to try and control the media to persuade the masses that everything is actually hunky dory. The Nats did it very well and the ANC are looking to be no different.

8 August 2013: Corruption Watch calls for former Communications Minister to be criminally charged:

Corruption Watch calls for the prosecuting authorities to act swiftly and ensure former Communications Minister Dina Pule is held accountable for her alleged unlawful conduct.

While welcoming the findings of the Parliamentary Ethics Committee against Pule, Corruption Watch’s executive director David Lewis said criminal charges must be laid against Pule in line with the anti-corruption laws. 

“It is important to note that Pule is not an ordinary member of parliament but held a Cabinet post vital to South Africa’s well-being and economic prospects. It is therefore imperative that strong consequences flow from the manner in which she has abused the public resources under her stewardship,” said Lewis.

Corruption Watch has also noted the limited powers of the ethics committee, which Lewis said needed to be augmented to enable the committee to impose heavier penalties on corrupt members of parliament.

“While we understand that the committee used all powers at its disposal and we commend them for that, their punitive powers appear far too limited relative to the level of misconduct and disregard for the public office that Pule occupied.  This is all the more reason for the criminal justice authorities to act, including action to recover the public funds plundered.”

9 August 2013: The Mail & Guardian reveals that veteran ANC MP, Ben Turok who led a parliamentary investigation into allegations of corrupt behaviour by former Communications Minister Dina Pule, was given bodyguards after he and the registrar of the Ethics Committee received threats.

Turok said while a panel appointed by the joint committee on ethics and members interests was midway through the hearings into Pule's conduct, Parliament's security services received information of a threat to harm him and the committee registrar Fazela Mahomed, and to disrupt the proceedings of the hearing.

"A threat was received through a certain person, that they would try to stop the investigation and the report," said Turok.

He said certain witnesses were also threatened and some tried to change their evidence.

The threats were reported to the national VIP unit, and both Turok and Mahomed were provided with two security personnel each.

Turok said the matter was reported to the speaker of the national assembly Max Sisulu, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and to police commissioner Riah Phiyega because the protection services felt it was an attack on Parliament.

"To interfere with a process of Parliament is a dangerous matter, but it is being taken quite seriously in very high offices."

Turok suspects that a person or people mentioned in the report had felt threatened and wanted to stop the report from being published.

9 August 2013: Mosesh Monare, editor of the Sunday Independent, calls for former Communications Minister, Dina Pule, to be barred from public office and says that the ANC must force her to step aside. He says Pule must be jailed in the same way that Tony Yengeni was. He criticises the ANC for its double standards saying that it was far more firm with Limpopo MEC Mirriam Sekgabutla.

At least we jailed former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni for “defrauding Parliament” after lying about the discount he received on his SUV.

He pleaded guilty to fraud and admitted his misrepresentation was made with the intent to defraud Parliament. Pule must face a similar fate. If she is charged, found guilty and sent to jail for more than a year without option of a fine, she will be constitutionally barred from being an MP.

In the meantime, the ANC must stop its disingenuous double standards and force Pule to step down.

Its terse statement on Pule is a duplicitous contrast to the statement it made against former Limpopo MEC Mirriam Sekgabutla, who is facing criminal charges. On Pule, the ANC caucus said: “We will await the decision of Parliament on the report and its recommendations. The ANC will never condone any act of ill-discipline, misconduct and impropriety.”

On Sekgabutla, the party was firmer. “Whilst acknowledging that Cde Mirriam remains innocent until proven guilty, the charges levelled against her have the potential to harm the image and standing of the ANC in its fight against crime and corruption… It is in this context that the 53rd National Conference resolved that those who are facing serious criminal charges should on their own volition, in keeping with the core values of the ANC, step aside from participating in any ANC leadership positions and occupying public office pending the outcome of the court proceedings.”

Granted, Pule is not facing any criminal charges, but she was found guilty of the most serious parliamentary offence. She’s most likely to face criminal charges.

The ANC must treat Parliament and other public institutions with the same respect. When the ANC was vacillating on the Yengeni matter a decade ago, it took former Speaker of the National Assembly Frene Ginwala to remind the ruling party MPs: “It’s time the South African public realised that some people in this Parliament take the institution very seriously, and let us see how many.”

Pule violated her oath of undertaking to “hold my office… with honour and dignity; to be a true and faithful counsellor”. She does not deserve to call herself a representative of the people of South Africa.

15 August 2013: Parliament’s communications committee draws up a shortlist of 37 people who will be considered for the new SABC board.

15 August 2013: Anton Harber, writing in Business Day reveals that SABC lawyers flew to Cape Town, placed a judge on urgent standby and then drove to the Franschoek Literary Festival to coerce Sylvia Vollenhoven and Martin Welz into not showing a small, selected audience, its commissioned documentary, The Spear.

Business Day 15/8/2013

Censorship and intrigue in ‘Project Spear” case

Anton Harber

SOMETIMES censorship arrives at the front door and then we confront it. At other times, it comes around the back and tries to sneak inside unnoticed. Sometimes it dresses up in funny clothes. My story is about censorship disguised as copyright protection. It involves Absa Bank, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), a documentary film maker, a muck-raking magazine, a literary festival, two lawyers, apartheid and a barrel-load of intrigue.

Apartheid is part of the story because it always is. Absa is involved because it was implicated in financial shenanigans in the dying days of apartheid. The muck-raking magazine, Noseweek, ran the original story. The documentary maker is Sylvia Vollenhoven, who made Project Spear, which apparently tells of a former British intelligence man who offers to recover many billions of rand secreted overseas in the dying days of apartheid and to do it on spec. To his surprise, there was no interest from the new South African government, raising interesting questions.

Vollenhoven made her film for an SABC series called If Truth be Told. Well, it was not. She says she had the approval of her commissioning editor, but when it was finished and shown to the political heavyweights, they wanted major — and impossible — last-minute changes. They chose not to show it and — without explanation to her or the audience — screened in its place a rerun.

Vollenhoven says she entered into discussions to buy the film from the SABC. And she and Noseweek’s Martin Welz decided to show it to a tiny audience at the Franschhoek Literary Festival earlier this year.

Enter the two lawyers. Not only do they fly to the Western Cape and put a judge on weekend standby to stop them showing the film to a handful of people, but they serve court papers demanding that no one ever show it, that they return all copies and every bit of footage and never even make "an adaptation" of it. In other words, not content with not screening it, the SABC is trying to block it out entirely and prevent anyone ever seeing it, or making another version of it, or even possessing a copy of it. It doesn’t even want another version made of the same story.

That is called censorship.

I have no idea if the film is any good or a load of baloney. I can’t see it because now I am not allowed to. But you have to think that if someone goes to so much trouble to ensure that no one ever sees it, it probably has something juicy in it.

But why should the SABC, which is in the business of showing such films, not suppressing them, and which does not have money to throw around on legal action, care so much?

Vollenhoven thinks it is the result of "fear, insecurity and juniorisation" at the SABC, rather than a grand conspiracy.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago has been quoted as saying the SABC’s concern is only with the principle of who owns the film. "We own this material. We have commissioned it and paid for it and we want all of it to be returned…. It’s a matter of principle," he said.

"People are making it sound as if it’s about the content. This has got nothing to do with the content. The fact is it doesn’t belong to them and they’re showing it to people," he said. Really? The SABC would go to these lengths to keep control of a film it doesn’t even want to show?

The root of the problem is an archaic clause in SABC agreements with independent producers that gives it total and open-ended ownership of all material, even if it never uses it. That clause is confining a range of material to the archives, hidden forever unless the SABC finds a use for it. The effect is to suppress information and material.

Vollenhoven is defending her case, with the support of the Freedom of Expression Institute, and is challenging the SABC to sell copyright to her. It will be a fascinating case to watch. Hopefully, we will get to see the film. And the SABC will be pushed to modernise its contracts with producers that would pull it into line with international norms.

  • Harber is Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University and chairman of the Freedom of Expression Institute.

17 August 2013: Thinus Ferreira of the authoritative television website, TV with Thinus, reveals that the SABC has shown complete contempt for its Afrikaans viewers by refusing to disclose information about the Afrikaans 19h00 TV news bulletin which has been extended by half an hour.

Since SABC News launched at the beginning of August, neither the SABC nor the SABC News channel has made any information available or communicated any programming specific information about the Afrikaans news, nor who the news readers are, nor responded to any of the multiple media enquiries made about it and the channel the past weeks.

20 August 2013: Ben Turok provides parliament with the report on Dina Pule

Submission by Prof Ben Turok MP to the National Assembly on the Investigation of Allegations against the Former Minister Of Communication, Dina Pule MP

Parliament, Tuesday 20 August 2013 - As the Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests and Chairperson of the Panel appointed to consider the allegations against the Hon Dina Pule, I wish to present the Report of the Committee.

The Report was adopted unanimously both by the Panel and the Committee as a whole after a long and difficult process. We hope that the House will also support the findings in the same non-partisan spirit.

I need to make some preliminary remarks with respect to the role of the Ethics Committee. This is a multi-party committee with members from both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). We have the difficult task of overseeing the proper compliance with the annual declaration by Members of their financial interests and those of their close family members.

In doing this we act as the instrument of Parliament, fulfilling your requirements as an important institution of the country, maintaining public trust in its integrity. The Code of Conduct requires us to place public interest above our personal financial interests and those close to us.

We have to be objective in complying with the Joint Rules of Parliament. We cannot be politically partisan, we cannot allow bias or prejudice to enter into our considerations, we must base our judgements on facts and where there is a conflict on the facts we have to discover the truth. We must be fair and be seen to be fair. In all this we are guided by the will of this House and the NCOP, by the national interest and by the Constitution.

Parliament has a duty to reflect a common purpose and common values. And when it acts in the national interest the whole must be greater than the sum of its parts, that is, Parliament rises above the specific concerns of parties and individuals.

Our powers of investigation are substantial, but we are not a court of law. We must respect the rights of Members and follow due process. Where we investigate the ethical conduct of a Member, we do so in closed session, we are sworn to observe confidentiality, and our findings are based "on the balance of probabilities".

While our investigations centre on the proper declaration of Members' interests, these investigations often introduce evidence that goes much broader than the immediate declaration. We have to exercise much discretion on how far we go and what evidence is relevant.

Finally, on the general approach of the committee, we draw a distinction between a breach of ethical conduct and a breach of some rule or law. Both are undesirable and we have to act on both. Too often a person may act within the rules or within the law, but the conduct is unacceptable on ethical grounds and is therefore liable to sanction.

I come to the Hon Pule. In the allegations against the Hon Dina Pule, we uncovered both these transgressions and our findings are according to these criteria.

The central issue in this case was the relationship of Hon Pule with Mr Mngqibisa and how her public office was used to benefit him improperly. She denied in an affidavit that the relationship went beyond "longstanding friendship". Mr Mngqibisa stated under oath that "my private life is private" and refused to answer questions about the relationship.

However, evidence emerged during the hearings that Hon Pule and Mngqibisa had travelled together to several foreign destinations such as Mexico, New York, Kuala Lumpur, Paris and Prague. They shared road transport and they shared hotel accommodation. The Panel obtained proof that at least one of these trips was paid for by the Department of Communications and Mngqibisa was listed for purposes of that trip as Hon Pule's "spouse".

The Panel had great difficulty in obtaining other travel papers and the file for the Mexico trip was "lost". Officials were uncooperative and gave contradictory evidence on how travel companions were recorded.

What is remarkable about these trips is that Mngqibisa had no formal status at these meetings and when asked what his role had been he was unable to answer. It is clear, therefore, that he benefited from several privileges through his association with Hon Pule, none of which were declared. 

More seriously, the Hon Pule seems to have been instrumental in enabling Mngqibisa to advance from being a minor player to a dominant position in the ICT Indaba. He not only gained R6 m for his company Khemano but he steadily positioned himself to become the main player with prospects of further substantial gains. None of this was declared.

Hon Pule allowed herself to be in a position where her private interests were in direct conflict with the public interest. Hon Pule did not act to prevent this and indeed promoted this undesirable situation.

I need to refer to some serious attempts to interfere with the work of the Ethics Committee and, therefore, Parliament:

  1. The witness Mngqibisa came to give evidence accompanied by a bodyguard. This man stood outside the door of the committee room while it was in session and during the coffee break he asked the Registrar several questions which she found intimidating. There is no place for private bodyguards in Parliament and he should have been removed.
  2. Throughout the hearings it was clear that there was collusion between Hon Pule and some senior officials in presenting a false version of her activities.
  3. The Head of Parliament's Protection Services and the Registrar met with a certain Mr X who alleged that he had been approached (a) to forge certain documents which would be served on the Panel to reverse its decisions, (b) to arrange a "hit" on the Registrar and myself but he was afraid to do that. The consequence of this threat was that both the Registrar and I have been provided with security. We call for a thorough investigation of this matter.
  4. In recent weeks three persons, including an official of the Department, who had given evidence, were subjected to bullying to try to get them to reverse their testimony.

Parliament needs to take note of these attempts to intimidate the Ethics Committee and interfere with the proceedings of Parliament.

In the light of all these findings, the Ethics Committee recommends the maximum penalty allowed in the Joint Rules of Parliament, namely,

  • A reprimand in the House
  • A fine of 30 days' salary and
  • Suspension of privileges and Hon Pule's right to a seat in Parliamentary debates or Committee for a period of 15 days.
  • She must also submit full details in respect of non-disclosure and correct the incomplete declaration for the respective years.
  • We further recommend that:
  • the Presidency considers measures to address the relationship between the DOC and other entities;
  • the Public Service Commission investigate the possible misconduct of certain officials in the DOC;
  • the report be referred to the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority for possible breaches of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act 4 of 2004;
  • we also recommend the House support the speedy revision of the Code of Conduct; 
  • the penalties for transgression be increased.

This has been a long drawn out affair, requiring a great deal of research and scrutiny of the Rules and legislation. We must record the tenacious work of the Registrar of the Committee Ms Fazela Mahomed and her support team, the excellent legal advice of Parliament's Legal Advisers, Adv Zuraya Adhikarie and Ms Fatima Ebrahim, and, finally, the extraordinary commitment to finding the truth by the Members of the Ethics Committee. 

I thank you.

Statement issued by Parliament, August 20 2013

21 August 2013: ANC parliamentarians hug and comfort former Communications Minister, Dina Pule after she has made a brief and qualified apology for lying to parliament. If in the course of me doing my job I made a mistake, I am sorry and I apologise” Members of opposition parties express their dismay saying that treating Pule like a rock star showed contempt for parliament.

DA MP, Diane KohlerBarnard said: “Here is someone who has just been referred to the police and the NPA for investigation, and given the most severe sanction that a parliamentary committee can hand out, and yet she was mobbed like someone who was being lauded for some great achievement.”

“It seems to mean that the ANC - live in front of the whole nation - is saying it’s fine to lie to Parliament, to cheat the public and to do everything possible to try to get away with it. For the ANC to treat Parliament with such contempt is of massive concern and is frankly disgusting. We were shocked.”

COPE MP, Juli Killian said: "It looked as though they were consoling her. It was totally inappropriate. If you steal from the public purse, you are a thief."

23 August 2013: The Mail & Guardian reveals that the Parliamentary Ethics committee heads Ben Turok and Lemias Mashile were grilled by angry ANC MPs on why law enforcement was brought into the Dina Pule scandal.

23 August 2013: Business Day columnist, Gareth van Onselen, writes that the new Gupta-financed Africa News Network 24-hour TV news channel now rivals the SABC for pro-ANC sycophancy.

The real test, though, will be the 2014 elections. One month ago eNCA had a monopoly on 24-hour current affairs, and given the amount of bad news out there, its broadcasts are pretty much bad publicity for the ANC 24/7. With elections come launches, opening and closing rallies, manifesto unveilings and ostensible debates about policy. The SABC has become infamous for sidelining other parties in favour of uncritical live broadcasts of ANC events. Its coverage of the ANC’s closing rally in 2011, about four hours of live speeches broadcast into the living rooms of millions of South Africans, certainly helped the ANC make up for a generally disastrous campaign.

An industrious journalist should ask these new stations what their policy is when it comes to covering elections. The ANC’s January 8 statement, which it traditionally uses to launch its election campaigns under the guise of talking about something else, will be a good place to start. Will they guarantee fair and equitable coverage for the big parties? Or will they have one set of rules for the ANC and another for everyone else, like the SABC does?

Read the ANC’s public documents on cadre deployment over the years, and the successes and failures of its attempts to extend control (hegemonic or otherwise) over the "key centres of power", and time and time again "the media" emerge as the last vestige of independence. This has frustrated the ANC no end. In the Gutpas it has the last piece of the puzzle. Finally the party has managed to inject into the fourth estate a healthy dose of obsequiousness.

24 August 2013: Makhudu Sefara, the editor of The Star writes that former Communications Minister Dina Pule’s qualified apology in parliament was insulting.

26 August 2013: After social networks exploded with ribald comment about the launch of “Gupta-TV” and numerous clips were posted on YouTube, the clips mysteriously disappeared. The story was revealed by the Daily News

ANN7’s great disappearing act

As a wave of negative publicity washes over new news broadcaster ANN7, the numerous “blooper” clips of the station’s failings have all but vanished from YouTube overnight.

On Sunday night, videos of presenters blankly staring into the camera, mispronouncing words and occasionally making factual errors had been watched by hundreds of thousands of YouTube viewers, but on Monday morning, most of the clips had been removed.

YouTube’s warning message about copyright infringement looms large when you try to click on the re-tweeted link of one presenter referring to “Louise Hamilton” winning the “Grand Pricks”.

The “ANN7 news” Twitter account, a spoof claiming to be an account for “possibly the worst news network in the world”, was also suspended, while the “ANN7 reporter” account remains active.

While the station has claimed it has over 70 journalists with broadcast backgrounds on staff, a look at the Twitter accounts of many of the presenters reveals that most have been drawn from the modelling industry.

Abigail Visagie, a model and BCom student, recently applied to be a Top Billing presenter. Cleopatra Simelane is a former Miss Soweto runner-up who models and acts “on the side”.

Lebogang Keagile also modelled part-time while at her old job as an air hostess. The list goes on.

It was also reported that one senior journalist has already resigned from the broadcaster, just four days since its launch.

But it’s still unclear if the removal of the accounts and videos is due to complaints from TNA media, or if the videos simply infringed on YouTube’s copyright policies and Twitter’s own rules of spoof accounts.

Attempts to get clarification from TNA chief executive Nazeem Howa proved unsuccessful on Monday morning. Questions were also asked over whether the station would be releasing a statement to explain its future and if any attempts would be made to improve its quality.

He told The Star, the Daily News’s sister newspaper, all questions about the network should be addressed in writing to him and he would do his best to respond shortly.

But no response was received by the time of publication and more attempts to get back to Howa were unsuccessful. So it remains unclear if the removal of the clips and accounts is an attempt at damage control.

Rival news networks engaged in dry-runs for months before their channels opened, but ANN7 reportedly had only a few weeks of practice before going on air.

While the SABC’s own 24-hour channel received some criticism when it started earlier this year, the backlash for ANN7 has been massive, the social networks exploding with jokes and negative commentary about the station’s amateurish broadcasts.


  • * From cartoonist, Jerm (@jerm): The more ANN7 get YouTube to take down blooper videos, the more blooper videos will be duplicated and uploaded to YouTube. #ANN7
  • * From Martin Tagh (@martintagg): Yip, I had four of my videos deleted. Here they are before deletion.
  • * From Reuben Goldberg @RubyGold: The real blooper it needs to delete is itself #ANN7
  • * From Michelle Solomon (@mishsolomon): The folks who shot videos of #ANN7 should upload them on multiple vid sites. They’ll have a hard time suppressing the evidence then.


Since its launch, ANN7’s anchors have come up with a lexicon of their own.

  • Former Egyptian dictator – or “detector”, as one presenter dubbed him – Hosni Mubarak was rechristened Hoseeni Mubarak, Hoisni Mubarak, Horse-ni Mubarak, and Hosni Mumbarak.

Here are some of the names and nouns invented by their anchors:

  • “pollutal”
  • “tri-apartheid alliance”
  • “Nathi M-turt-wa”
  • “Megan Shangerai”
  • “Mokogotedi Mopeshe”
  • “Gaven Mbeki”
  • “tenornations”

and perhaps most famously, “Louise Hamilton” wins the “Grand Pricks”   

26 August 2013: Public Service and Administration Minister Lindiwe Sisulu when quizzed by the DA’s Patricia Kopane in Parliament reveals that the late Communications Minister Roy (Room Service) Padayachee spent R373,163 – 00 on hiring luxury vehicles even though he had an official car.

30 August 2013: Glynnis Underhill reveals in the Mail & Guardian that the SABC’s acting COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng has instructed his staff that stories of corruption, murder etc must be 70% under-reported

SABC calls for 70% happy news

Glynnis Underhill

The SABC's acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, has quantified how much sunshine news he wants in the corporation's bulletins

The controversial executive is championing for 70% of the news stories aired by the public broadcaster to be positive.

"For me, it is actually disappointing to see what news coverage there is out there, because there are so many positive issues happening in this country," Motsoeneng told the Mail & Guardian this week.

"The media normally focus on the negative publicity. I believe, from the SABC's side, 70% should be positive [news] stories and then you can have 30% negative stories. The reason I am championing this is because if you only talk about the negative, people can't even try to think on their feet. Because what occupies their mind is all this negative stuff.

"My thinking is when you deal with positive stories, you are building a nation. You are building the future of the kids. That is what I believe all of us in the media should do."

Motsoeneng is not the only news boss who favours what critics term "sunshine journalism".

In addition to the launch earlier this month of SABC's 24-hour news channel, last week saw the launch of ANN7 (popularly known as Gupta TV) on DStv. The other development was Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium's recent purchase of Independent News and Media South Africa.

These new brooms have vowed to clean up the act of the South African media by ridding the industry of what they see as cynical journalism through publishing and airing positive news stories.

Alternative viewing
"People in this country are sick and tired of negative press," ANN7 talk- show anchor Jimmy Manyi told the M&G this week.

"ANN7 presents major opportunities for alternative viewing."

He said the new channel is committed to reporting on good news and it encourages patriotism.

And in a recent interview with the Financial Mail, the Independent's new chairperson, Iqbal Survé, said: "We felt the media was not representing the positive aspects of South Africa. What we are reading about is not what we see in South Africa."

Jackson Mthembu, ANC national spokesperson, appears to share this sentiment in a statement released last week in which the ANC congratulates ANN7 on its launch.

"The South African story remains largely untold," Mthembu said.

Manyi, a former government spin doctor, said: "Unfortunately, the mainstream media here have adopted rigid editorial policies, which dictate what's newsworthy. A lot of work that government does isn't considered newsworthy and government press releases are often rejected because they are labelled as propaganda."

This situation may have pushed the government into a corner, but it has also opened a door for the rich and powerful Gupta family, who saw a business opportunity in the media sector, he said.

Rigid editorial policies
"It's not a government strategy but an entrepreneur [the Gupta family] who sees this big client [the government] and hopes he can appeal to the reasonableness of this frustrated client who has Cabinet briefings, government cluster briefings and departmental briefings, but none of that is covered in mainstream media," said Manyi.

"The entrepreneur thinks he can flesh out this content. He's seeing a gap in the market and he's exploiting it. If I was in this business I would do exactly the same.

"The mainstream media should thank this entrepreneur for closing this gaping hole. The government would otherwise be forced to think of its own platforms. How else do you get news out, when we all know that advertorials lack credibility?"

He warns that mainstream media, with what he sees as rigid editorial policies that favour sensationalism, may run the risk of being out in the cold. "In fact, they are already cutting themselves off because they're not publishing government news."

He adds that the only editorial policy that allows government news is the New Age newspaper's (which is also owned by the Guptas).

"Now, they [mainstream media] shouldn't cry foul when others cover government news - it's not privileged information; it's released to every media organisation. This is a free country and the media are entitled to make a democratic choice not to cover certain topics, but in doing so they run the risk of cutting themselves off from government news and depriving their readers of positive news."

At the SABC, Motsoeneng has been criticised by his staff in the past for practising censorship with programming that might offend President Jacob Zuma or the ruling party.

Sunshine journalism
But Motsoeneng has not wavered from his conviction about what should go on air. He was removed from his post in March by the previous SABC board shortly before it was dissolved. While the furore raged around his head at the time, with the SABC spokesperson announcing that Motsoeneng had been replaced in his acting role, he stayed put.

Now that things have blown over, Motsoeneng is firmly at the helm. And to enlighten others, he says, he has been sharing his views about how positive journalism can build the country.

Motsoeneng does not believe his news targets mean he favours sunshine journalism, because 30% of the news stories covered by the SABC can be negative.

As a public broadcaster, the SABC is different to other media, says Motsoeneng. "We want to concentrate more on positive stories, rather than to put everything in a negative way. Before you become a manager at the SABC, you first have to be a citizen of this country. You should love this country. When you love this country, you will do what is right for it, which is what we are doing now at the SABC.

"The message I put out very strongly at the SABC is to think about the positive when people go out and do stories. The difference is our own citizens are tired of crime and tired of people talking about negative things.

The SABC's new 24-hour satellite news channel has received mixed reviews, but Motsoeneng said he had specified that he needed more positive stories, and these news stories were now flowing in.

"I need to find a way for all people to believe in what I am saying. The majority of the country believes we should highlight good-news stories," he said.

"Some people say we should focus on more cultural issues, and we are building up our programming."


Asked whether the SABC would, for example, carry a story on Zuma's homestead Nkandla, should more money be found to have been spent on it that we don't already know about, Motsoeneng said he believed the public broadcaster should not just follow the "hullabaloo".

"It would depend on whether that story is in the public interest. I hear what you are saying about a story on Nkandla. If there is an investigation going into the matter, I don't think we should follow the hullabaloo, but rather wait until that investigation is finalised.

"We can highlight that the public protector might be investigating, but we can't come to a conclusion before the report is concluded."

Motsoeneng said he was happy with the newcomers to the media industry - such as the Gupta family and the new owner of Independent Newspapers Iqbal Survé.

"I am very excited by it all. I have engaged some of them to share views, and they too will focus on building the country," said Motsoeneng.

"I don't want to mention names of who I have met. I think some of them are on the same path as I am. Other people are realising the importance of having different opinions about how the media should [be] run."

Motsoeneng believes there is a bigger plan emerging in South Africa to change the way people focus on negative news.

"Since I have became very vocal about the media, and there was all this hullabaloo around whether I had censored, so many people, even those in print media, have been supporting me on my view," he said. "I think I have won over so many people on this issue."

The SABC's 24-hour news channel had not been rushed to air in time for the elections next year, said Motsoeneng.

"Elections come and go. This is a long-term project," said Motsoeneng, who said he had never received any favours from anyone and had worked hard to get to the top in broadcasting.

He said the print media will soon be quoting the investigations and stories the SABC broadcasts, rather than the other way around.

"This is an exciting time for us," he said.

“The media really needs to change”

30 August 2013: Media Monitoring Africa responds to the Mail & Guardian article saying that Motsoeneng’s 70% positive news coverage instruction to the SABC’s news reporter was deeply disturbing

SABC sunshine news strategy 'deeply concerning', says media monitoring group

William Bird, Thandi Smith, Lethabo Dibetso

The call by Hlaudi Motsoeneng for 70% of SABC news stories to be positive raises issues of editorial independence, says Media Monitoring Africa

The call by the acting chief operations officer at the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng,  for 70% of news stories to be aired by the public broadcaster to be positive goes beyond controversial and raises fundamental questions as to who is running the show at the SABC as well as critical issues of editorial independence. The suggestion is deeply concerning and Media Monitoring Africa calls on the SABC interim board to act immediately and prevent any such proposed editorial interference.

Whether there is a need or desire for more positive news stories, must surely be driven by the audiences of the SABC. Before that however we need to ask the question as to what constitutes a positive or a negative story and who makes the decision?  Is a story about the reintroduction of sexual offences courts, to deal with the epidemic of gender based violence and child abuse a positive or a negative story? Depending on the angle taken it could be either, or both or neither. Surely each story must be assessed within context? Given that SABC has news services across just under 20 platforms, the sheer practicality of such a decision needs to be questioned.

The core ethical principles of journalism are to tell the truth as fully as possible, act independently, minimise harm and be accountable. These principles are currently broadly reflected within the SABC existing editorial policies, and can be found in best practice cases throughout our continent. The issue of fairness is crucial here, not whether or not stories should have a positive or negative spin on them.

There can be no doubt that there is a need for greater diversity of views across our media. Pro poor, gender mainstreamed, child focused, youth focused, disability focused, pro- government media should all be welcomed and encouraged. This is one of the roles for the Media Development and Diversity Agency. The role of the public broadcaster is, however, a unique one, and its mandate in news is to, "reflect and draw on South Africa’s diversity of people, languages, cultures, genders, abilities and classes, and the full spectrum of opinions, perspectives and comment" (SABC Editorial Policies News & Current Affairs, page 19). The issue of positive or negative is notably absent precisely because such concepts are simply grossly inappropriate for the public broadcaster. Clearly this is not to suggest that the broadcaster should not have programming that is positive and inspirational, and that serves to highlight the best our nation and our people have to offer, but to suggest a 70/30 split is fundamentally dangerous.

The call also raises the crucial question as to what research the acting chief executive officer is drawing upon in making his assessment that SABC has too much "negative news". We call on Mr Motsoeneng to make the research public so we can investigate what must surely be an issue of fundamental bias and fairness. Indeed if it is the case that government is overwhelmingly negatively portrayed in the SABC news it suggests a democracy threatening bias that must be addressed immediately.

Crucially, however, the issue of editorial independence is highlighted by the fact that it is the acting chief executive officer who is making these calls. There is NO mention of the role of this executive in the SABC editorial polices.  Indeed the roles of heads of news are clearly stated. The concept of upward referral is included, for those occasions where a decision is passed upward in order to address especially challenging dilemmas.  Whether or not this is appropriate as a mechanism is a core issue to be addressed by the editorial policy review. What is clear however is that upward referral refers only to the Group Chief Executive Officer (see page 5 of the SABC editorial policies). Accordingly any attempt to direct the news agenda, from anyone other than the editors and heads of news, must be considered direct editorial interference and must be prevented at all costs.

The SABC appears to be seeking to no longer operate on a crisis to crisis basis.  Should the suggestions proposed be allowed to go forward in the manner it has been presented the SABC will once again find itself plunged into a new crisis of credibility and governance.

Thandi Smith and Lethabo Dibetso run the Media Policy & Quality Unit at Media Monitoring Africa. William Bird is director.

5 September 2013: COPE and the IFP send a jointly signed letter to the Acting Interim SABC Board Chairperson, Ms Ellen Tshabalala, asking for urgent intervention after acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng stated that from now on the Corporation’s official policy would be to under-report stories relating to ANC corruption etc by 70%.

8 September 2013: In an interview with Chris Barron of the Sunday Times, the SABC’s acting COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, states that his news policy is to under-report stories of ANC corruption, the government’s wasteful expenditure, crime etc by 70%.

Sunday Times 8/9/2013

So Many Questions

The acting chief operating officer of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, says 70% of its news stories must be positive. Chris Barron asks him . . .

Will you overrule your editors?

No. Let me explain to you. I’m also a former journalist. And this is what I stand for from long ago.

Editorial independence?

No. The view that we need to change the way the media operate.

Who will decide if a story is positive or negative?

Remember, you have a diary meeting every morning where you come with stories. I’m saying to think positive. They should go and get good stories.

Who will decide what is a good story?

There are so many good stories, and people are not reporting them.

Will you decide what is a good story?

We don’t sell a story because of commercial issues. We don’t need to put headlines, I’m not interested in headlines. What I’m interested in are stories that are building the nation, not stories that destroy the nation.

Give me an example.

If you look at rural areas where there was no water, where there was no electricity, where there were no houses — the government has done very well on those issues.

Is it news that the government is doing the job we pay it to do?

It is news.

That the government is doing what it was elected to do is news?

Yes. The answer is yes, it is news.

And is it news when the government is not doing what it was elected to do?

That is news too.

Will you report it?

If you have concrete evidence. But journalists should not come to conclusions; they should not just make a hullaballoo.

If only 30% of your news is about negative stuff like corruption, crime and service-delivery failures, you are going to have to underreport a lot of it, aren’t you?

Which is good.

Why is it good?

Because I want to build this country, and I want journalists to think of building their own country.

Does it help to pretend that things are better than they are?

It is not pretending. Things are better, man. After democracy things have changed a lot.

When you talk about negative news, negative from whose point of view?

From my personal view. And other people’s view.

And from the governments point of view?

From our own audience’s point of view. They are tired of negative news, let me tell you.

Why did you come up with this policy now? Who told you to do it?

It’s me; no one can tell me what to do.

Do you think it will benefit the government in the elections next year?

It will benefit the public.

Will it benefit the government?

No, man, why do you talk about the government?

There is an election next year. I want to know if this policy has anything to do with that?

Elections come and go. It’s got nothing to do with the elections.

Surely if 70% of the news is about how well the government is doing, it is going to benefit the government at election time?

The positives I am talking about are not just about the government. I am talking about positive stories that are happening within communities and so on.

You said your positive stories will be about houses being built, the provision of electricity, water and so on?

Yes, yes, it’s true, I said that.

If 70% of your news is about that, will you not be doing the government a big favour?

No, I’m doing the public a favour, not government. After 20 years of democracy we need to release it; what this country has done for ordinary citizens, what are its achievements.

You are the acting chief operating officer. Why are you involved in editorial policy?

I’m a former journalist and a citizen.

Does that give you the right to call the shots on editorial policy?

Those people report to me.

Should the editors not decide what stories to report?

When it comes to what kind of news people should see, the buck stops with me. I drive the strategy, I’m the one responsible.

Were you not fired by the board?

I was not fired. I don’t know what you are talking about.

Did the board not tell you you were no longer the acting COO?

I can’t respond to that.

Why not?

I don’t talk about history.

You should not actually be there at all, should you?

Look, man, I can’t talk about history. I’m the acting COO. That is why I am talking to you.

10 September 2013: Communications Minister Yunus Carrim tables a shocking report by the Auditor General which shows that the SABC has regressed under acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The DA spokesperson on communication, Marian Shinn, calls for his dismissal.

The Times 11/9/2013

SABC blows R1.5bn

Thabo Mokone

Financial mismanagement continues to ravage the SABC, with its latest annual report showing a failure to account adequately for R1.5-billion spent on consultants for services that could have been provided by its own staff.

What is likely to shock South Africans is that about R913-million in TV licence fees that SABC officials claimed to have collected cannot be backed up with evidence.

Tabling the public broadcaster’s annual report yesterday, Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said auditor-general Terence Nombembe had slapped a disclaimer on the SABC’s financial results.

This means Nombembe was unable to express an opinion on the veracity of the corporation’s financial statements because he “could not obtain sufficient [and] appropriate audit evidence”.

The latest audit outcome suggests the broadcaster slid back after obtaining a clean audit in the 2011-2012 financial year.

The litany of financial transgressions uncovered at the SABC include:

  • Supporting documents for the hiring of consultants and other service providers at a cost of R1.5-billion could not be produced;
  • A further R106-million was spent irregularly as proper tender procedures were not followed;
  • Tax payable to the SA Revenue Service was understated by more than R47-million; and
  • No provision was made for any financial liability the SABC might incur despite being a defendant in a number of lawsuits.

The revelations do not augur well for the broadcaster. Its executive management was instructed in 2009 to tighten up its financial controls after it was granted a R1.4-billion loan guarantee by the National Treasury.

In the annual report, SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo admits that the broadcaster failed to meet performance targets attached to the government’s loan guarantee. She said the corporation was more than R600-million below its revenue targets.

She attributed this to the underperformance of key revenue streams, with sponsorships coming in R368-million lower than the target and the sale of content R62-million below budget. Advertising revenue was also under target by R190-million.

She said, however, that this failure had not affected the SABC’s cash flow.

Mokhobo vowed next year’s audit report would show improvements.

An industry expert said the annual report showed that the SABC’s problems were far from over.

DA MP Marian Shinn said her party would ask parliament’s portfolio committee on communications to convene a meeting with Carrim at which he would be asked to present a plan to solve the SABC’s problems.

Shinn called for the removal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s chief operating officer. Under Motsoeneng’s tenure, management, staffing, financial and editorial crises had escalated, she said.

Carrim said he had established a task team to strengthen financial controls at the SABC.

“On behalf of the shareholder, our department will also exercise far more strategic oversight over the SABC. A turnaround will not happen overnight. But if all the relevant parties cooperate, there will certainly be improvements over time,” he said.

Kate Skinner, a broadcast policy researcher, said: “The annual report indicates serious financial management problems at the SABC. The financial situation is far from sorted despite assurances from SABC leadership that the finances had been turned around.”

Editorial: The Times 11/9/2013

Officials cannot even account for licence fee money

Communications Minister Yunus Carrim must crack the whip if he wants to turn around the fortunes of the SABC. It is scandalous that a public entity, funded out of taxpayers’ pockets, cannot satisfactorily account for about R1.5-billion spent on consultants and for other services that could have been provided by its own staff.

And, as we report on our front page today, South Africans now have reason to be even more angry  —  we have learned that SABC officials cannot account to the auditor-general for about R913-million in TV licence fees they claim to have collected. They could not back up their claim with evidence.

This latest demonstration of incompetence at Auckland Park coincides with the SABC’s recent launch of its 24-hour news channel on DStv.

The new channel, which will be expensive to run, will drill a big hole in the corporation’s finances.

Back in 2009, the Treasury ordered the SABC to tighten up its financial controls as a condition of being given a R1.4-billion loan guarantee, but it seems the order was ignored.

Yesterday, the public broadcaster’s CEO, Lulama Mokhobo, admitted that it had failed to meet the financial performance targets attached to the loan guarantee.

It has also emerged that the broadcaster is more than R600-million short of its revenue target — dashing any hope of a turnaround.

But, knowing how the broadcaster is run, with factional politics outweighing sound corporate governance, we can be sure that no harm will befall Mokhobo and her executives.

Taxpayers will again be asked to pump more money into this black hole.

Carrim should demand from his ANC comrades a better line-up of board members if he wants to have a chance of stopping the SABC from sinking. And heads must roll in expiation of this latest mess.

11 September 2013: Cosatu expresses shock over the Attorney general’s findings

12 September 2013: DA communications spokesperson, Marian Shinn, requests that the shocking report by the Auditor General, Terence Nombembe on the SABC’s financial position be referred to the Special Investigating Unit.

13 September 2013: The Sunday Independent reveals that South African taxpayer’s will have to pay more than a million rand to fund former Communications Minister, Dina Pule’s legal attempts to suppress a Sunday Times investigation of her corruption.

13 September 2013: Financial reporter, Mzwandile Jacks, calls SABC acting COO, “Zuma’s megaphone”.

15 September 2013: Writing in Business Day, Rob Rose comments on the AG’s report by saying the SABC “could not run downhill with a tornado at its back”.

17 September 2013: The ANC nominates its own 12 members for the SABC board rejecting the names put forward by opposition parties

Opposition parties reject the SABC board that the ANC is foisting on the Corporation in what they claim is an undemocratic manner.

22 September 2013: The Sunday Times reveals how the ANC has gerrymandered the selection of the new SABC board.

ANC interns used in SABC process

List of ‘fit and proper’ board members handed to MPs

INTERNS at Luthuli House, the headquarters of the ANC, were among those used to nominate new members of the SABC board.

Staff members at the headquarters were also part of the ANC’s back-room manoeuvring to find SABC board members, which took the power away from MPs who had to agree to the handpicked candidates.

The Sunday Times has seen a memorandum by Lindiwe Zulu, head of the ANC’s subcommittee on communications, which details how the party had identified good candidates long before parliament officially put together its list.

The Luthuli House list of 17 was submitted to the ANC’s national executive early this month, two weeks before parliament’s portfolio committee on communications met to consider the candidates.

The list was whittled down to 12 this week and given to ANC MPs to push through, a source said.

Opposition parties have accused the ANC of manipulating processes and pushing through the appointment of “lackeys” to gain full control of the SABC ahead of elections.

Five of those who made the final cut were nominated directly from Luthuli House — three of them by junior staff, including two interns, apparently on instructions from politicians.

In her September 4 memorandum, Zulu said she and an ANC study group had decided on “fit and proper individuals, including comrades”.

Parliament’s committee met only this week to decide on the new board at its public meeting on Tuesday — but sources said MPs were given a list to rubber-stamp.

In a surprise move, the ANC MPs dropped Lumko Mtimde, who was on the initial list submitted by Zulu but is regarded as “too independent” an ANC member. Mtimde served on the SABC board that was dissolved earlier this year and clashed with former SABC chairman Ben Ngubane over the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operations officer.

When the SABC was constituted in 2007, the ANC faced similar accusations of party preference at the time of Thabo Mbeki’s presidency.

Nomvuyo Mhlakaza, wife of ANC MP Buti Manamela and a member of the national task team of the ANC Youth League, was nominated by Luthuli House. MPs said broadcast policy researcher Kate Skinner was sacrificed in favour of Mhlakaza.

Keith Khoza, ANC head of communications who reports to Zulu, nominated Krish Naidoo, a legal adviser to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee. MPs had wanted to nominate Zola Majavu, a leading lawyer and former prosecutor for the Premier Soccer League.

Rerani Netshilema, a 24-year-old intern in the communications division, nominated Bongani Khumalo, CEO of Gidani, which runs the National Lottery. Another intern, David Shabangu, nominated businesswoman Ellen Tshabalala.

Noluthando Gosa, also a businesswoman, was nominated by Cikiswa Xoswa, a personal assistant to ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.

Zulu said the ANC had a “high interest” at the SABC. “That does not necessarily mean we want to interfere as the ANC,” she said.

“We are a governing party and, being a governing party, we have a high interest and that interest needs to be served by us being able to make sure that in all the strategic areas we have our own and we can’t be apologetic about it. We need to have our qualified, capable comrades in strategic structures.”

She said it was an insult to suggest that the party nominations were not competent to sit on the SABC board.

“People must go into their CVs and see who they are,” she said.

Eric Kholwane, chairman of the communications portfolio committee, said “there was nothing wrong” about Luthuli House’s influence.

The Democratic Alliance said the incoming board was designed to ensure positive coverage of the ANC ahead of next year’s general elections. “They are there to rubberstamp the decision of the SABC executive and management and not to rock the boat. They will make sure that a faction of the ANC gets positive coverage for the 2014 elections,” said MP Marian Shinn.

Sunday Times editorial 22/9/2013

ANC has hijacked airwaves to gain political profit

LINDIWE Zulu reacted with outrage this week when confronted with the fact that the ANC had openly manipulated parliament in getting its preferred candidates on the SABC board. A memorandum by Zulu, dated September 4, shows how the ANC selected the candidates for whom the party’s MPs would eventually vote two weeks later. All that needs to happen now is for President Jacob Zuma to approve the names. When confronted, Zulu was unashamed about the manipulation. In fact, she expressed her disgust at the suggestion that the ANC had effectively seized control of the SABC before the general elections next year.

“That does not necessarily mean we want to interfere as the ANC. The bottom line is that we are a governing party and, being a governing party, we have a high interest and that interest needs to be served by us being able to make sure that in all the strategic areas we have our own and we can’t be apologetic about [that]. We need to have our qualified, capable comrades in strategic structures and we are not being apologetic about our deployment.”

But a closer look at the memo offers an astonishing insight into those who were chosen as selectors.

How do we believe Zulu’s competency claims when two Luthuli House interns — one a 24-year-old — and a personal assistant to spokesman Jackson Mthembu were allowed to make nominations?

How are we to believe that the ANC really does have the mandate of the public broadcaster — delivering an array of services to South Africans — as its best interests when the party deliberately rejected independent-minded candidates with experience in broadcasting in favour of someone like Krish Naidoo, a legal adviser to the ANC’s national disciplinary committee?

Or how will ANC MP Buti Manamela’s wife, Nomvuyo Mhlakaza, serve the interests of South Africans better than broadcast policy expert Kate Skinner?

This unashamed manipulation of parliamentary processes is nothing but the ruling party’s hijacking of the SABC before the elections.

In this context, the ridiculous policy of insisting on 70% of “happy news” by acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng makes perfect sense. Happy news, as defined by Motsoeneng, is about service delivery — access to water, electricity and housing. These are all issues that would aid the ANC in its election campaign.

Even if we give Zulu the benefit of the doubt — that the ANC’s candidates are competent — it is clear where their loyalties will lie, and that is to serve the ruling party.

23 September 2013: In a column in the Citizen, Douglas Gibson suggests the ANC with its manipulation of the SABC board has set the Corporation up to fail.

24 September 2013: former SABC board member, Suzanne Vos issues a statement in which she condemns ANC interference in the running of the SABC.

It was simply mind-boggling to see how dramatically the Corporation had been brought to its knees by GCEO, Adv. Dali Mpofu, and his team and a highly political board wracked by in-fighting.

We now know for sure that the new SABC board may well find themselves in a farcical situation where to their amazement (or not!) when they walk into the boardroom they find that Mr Motsoeneng, the Acting COO (aka Mr Sunshine), is in reality running the place and will not adhere to instructions.  Furthermore, that there will be absolutely nothing they can do about it unless the Minister intervenes (and will he?).

25 September 2013: The Broadcasting Complaints Commission finds that the SABC has defamed a church in a Special Assignment programme

28 September 2013: Pathetic SABC-TV and ANN7 exposed – William Saunderson-Meyer castigates the SABC and ANN7 for their truly pathetic coverage of the Kenya mall siege.

 “Africa’s News Leader”, that’s SABC-TV’s boast. It’s as brassy a lie as Joburg metro’s assertion, “Joburg: A world-class African city”.

The only difference is that the Advertising Standards Authority called out the metro on their misleading claim, while SABC-TV still gets away with it. However, the Kenyan shopping mall siege, played out over four agonising days, showed that a slick slogan doth not necessarily a credible credo make.

South Africans were reminded that the state television network is lamentably poor at independent news gathering. Those without access to social media or satellite channels – by far the best coverage was from Sky News and eNCA – were pretty much in the dark.

29 September 2013: The Sunday Independent reveals that, in response to questions by COPE MP Juli Killian, Communications Minister Yunus Carrim has revealed that the suspended Phil Molefe has been given a golden handshake of R2.5 million rand in addition to the R2.7m he was given for staying at home or a year

This week, Communications Minister Yunus Carrim confirmed that Molefe was paid out for the remaining two years of his contract after falling out with SABC chief executive Lulama Mokhobo for flighting an extensive television interview with Economic Freedom Fighters leader and ex-ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.

Molefe’s five-year contract was due to end in June 2015.

Carrim also revealed that Molefe was paid nearly R2.7m to stay at home between April last year and May, when the SABC paid out the remainder of his contract.

The public broadcaster also paid about R1.9m to fight Molefe at the Johannesburg High Court and his pending Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) case.

According to Carrim, the SABC is waiting for set-down dates for the SCA matter.

Carrim revealed the details of Molefe’s settlement in a Parliamentary reply to Cope MP Juli Killian.

Last month, SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago told The Sunday Independent that details of the transaction between Molefe and the public broadcaster were confidential. “This is a matter between employer and employee,” Kganyago said.

Molefe, who was unavailable for comment this week, was granted leave to appeal by Johannesburg High Court judge Sherise Weiner in February after his lawyers agreed with the SABC that the legal tussle “warrants the SCA”.

He has continuously defended the March 2012 Malema interview on SABC1’s Sunday Live, saying the decision was justified because “audience ratings reached a peak last achieved more than three years ago”.

At the time, SABC chief executive Lulama Mokhobo complained that the ANC was not present during the hour-long interview.

However, Molefe said the ANC was invited but declined because the disciplinary case against Malema was sub judice, according to papers the veteran journalist filed at the SCA.

Molefe said that “owing to mounting public interest, an editorial decision was taken to proceed with one guest (Malema)”.

He said at the time Malema’s troubles with the ruling party generated enormous public interest.

Molefe had asked a full high court Bench to grant him leave to appeal Weiner’s December 2012 judgment dismissal of his application to have his suspension and pending disciplinary hearing declared unlawful.

The judgment is erroneous,” he said.

3 October 2013: President Jacob Zuma appoints Ellen Tshabalala as chairperson of the new SABC board.

4 October 2013: The SABC drops a scheduled interview with Liv Shange, spokeswoman for the Workers and Socialist party and a vehement critic of the ANC.

6 October 2013: The Sunday Independent reveals in its front page lead that lawyers representing the suspended Phil Molefe have accused the SABC board of misleading Parliament and Communications Minister, Yunus Carrim by falsely asserting that Phil Molefe had accepted a R2m golden handshake.

8 October 2013: MP’s question massive bonuses paid to SABC senior staff members when it is doing badly.

17 October 2013: Former Communications Minister, Dina Pule fails to declare her financial and business interests to parliament's joint ethics committee by the stipulated deadline. Ben Turok, co-chairman of the ethics committee, questioned whether Pule would make an honest declaration this time around.

"The issue for us is: is she going to comply honestly," said Turok.

"So whether it's a week later or a week earlier is of little interest. What interests me is, is she going to tell us the truth and that's where the focus should be."

17 October 2013: The Mail & Guardian  reveals that the SABC’s contentious acting COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, has ordered that the widely popular The Big Debate show will no longer be broadcast because it is too critical of the Zuma administration.

18 October 2013: The Right2Know Campaign announces that it will organise a protest march to register its concern about the censorship of The Big Debate by the SABC.

18 October 2013: The SABC says that it censored The Big Debate because it was done by an outside company and thus its editorial control over content was compromised.

21 October 2013: Increasing outrage is expressed by lobby groups against the censorship of The Big Debate.

21 October 2013: Communications Minister Yunus Carrim says he will continue to consult with the SABC board about the editorial independence of its news service.

Hoever, Thinus Ferreira asks why this came from a politician and not from CEO Lulama Mokhobo

21 October 2013: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC is blurring out the mic flags of ENCA in footage of news conferences.

3 November 2013: Dali Mpofu joins the EFF and Gareth van Onselen analyses the top 10 controversies involving him

5 November 2013: Gareth van Onselen discusses in Business Day how the SABC must have had difficulty in deciding whether or not to cover the story when Helen Zille was booed off the stage in Saldhana Bay and President Jacob Zuma remained silent.

6 November 2013: Communications Minister Yunus Carrim slaps down Hlaudi Motsoeneng on set top boxes

13 November 2013: Thinus Ferreira reveals on his TV with Thinus blog that eNCA has taken over the The Big Debate

24 November 2013: The City Press front page headline is: SABC’s Hlaudi ‘guilty’.

A “damning” provisional report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has decried the abuse of power and maladministration by senior executives and former board members of the SABC.

City Press has seen the recommendations made in the report, which slams “unlawful” behaviour by the SABC’s acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and “improper conduct” by group chief executive officer Lulama Mokhobo.

1 December 2013: The Sunday Independent reveals that the multimillion-rand contract authorising the flighting of the SABC’s 24-hour news channel on DStv, negotiated by its acting chief operations officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, is coming under scrutiny from the unions and the civil society coalition, Save Our SABC (SOS) and could well be challenged in court.

1 December 2013: Phylicia Oppelt calls on Dina Pule to apologise to the Sunday Times for her lies

Truth is out, again, about Dina Pule’s lies

This newspaper is ready to receive the former minister’s long overdue apology, writes Phylicia Oppelt

DINA Pule has now twice been found guilty of lying, acting unethically and bringing parliament into disrepute.

The first time — in August — Ben Turok, leading the investigation of parliament’s ethics committee into Pule’s relationship with Phosane Mngqibisa, found she had indeed lied about their involvement and how it led him to benefit financially.

Now comes public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report about Pule, and it is a painful, humiliating condemnation of a woman who allowed a lover’s influence to lead her to deceive and exploit the state.

For us, this has been no ordinary story of a minister abusing her power and office to benefit a romantic partner. Neither has it been the straightforward telling of a story by three journalists — Rob Rose, Mzilikazi wa Afrika and Stephan Hofstatter — of a cabinet minister’s lies.

The three journalists and this newspaper became part of the story — often the lead actors in a vindictive campaign by Pule and her various spin doctors to subvert the truth and cast aspersions on the integrity of the reporters involved.

In this, certainly, Pule did an astonishing job. The press statements over the months that a series of investigative stories were published about her and Mngqibisa stand as stark and frightening testimony to the lengths to which a minister will go to draw attention away from her own culpability.

There was that astounding press conference at the Hyatt Regency in Rosebank, Johannesburg, where Pule sought to “expose” Hofstatter, Rose and Wa Afrika as tainted journalists driven by self-interest and corrupt motives.

There she stood, saying the Sunday Times had not provided “any shred of evidence that I had broken the law. They have failed to point to any wrongdoing on my part.”

Pule went further, saying the “objective field of journalism has now been reduced to slander and the spread of salacious rumours. Real investigative journalists do not do this kind of journalism.”

Her allegations — enthusiastically driven by spin doctor Wisani Ngobeni — found fertile ground in South African media outlets and were repeated so often that the journalists’ guilt was almost cast in stone.

The press ombudsman’s office, the recipient of several complaints scripted by Ngobeni, found itself accused of “a treacherous whitewash attempt to legitimise the unethical journalism conduct of the Sunday Times editor”.

This, after Pule lodged three complaints against us: one for a story proving she blew R2.6-million appointing Mngqibisa’s cronies to top jobs in parastatals under her department’s control; one for reporting that she had sent her lawyer to apologise to us; and one accusing the Sunday Times of unethical conduct for cooperating with the ethics committee. They all were dismissed in their entirety.

Now the public protector’s report confirms one central fact: that it is Pule — rather than the journalists — who is guilty of improper and unethical conduct.

The parliamentary ethics committee had found this to be case, too, and in a stinging rebuke instructed Pule to apologise for her conduct. Madonsela recommends that Pule be fired from her job as ANC MP and that the money spent on Mngqibisa be repaid.

Ultimately, though, it is not only about our journalists being vindicated for their determination to prove that Pule had indeed lost control of the Communications Department and allowed a lover’s influence to triumph over her duty to the state and this country.

Pule, like former cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Sicelo Shiceka and public works minister Gwen MahlanguNkabinde, was shown to be unworthy of the office she held and to which she had been appointed by President Jacob Zuma.

It begs some uncomfortable questions about the choices made when selecting senior government officials — and when competence and moral probity are sacrificed for political expediency and patronage.

Pule, by all accounts, was a compromise candidate from Mpumalanga — chosen because of her gender, her province and dealmaking before the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung last year.

It has been said that Zuma would have continued to shield Pule had she not outlived her usefulness. That, apparently, was why she was dropped from the cabinet in July — not because she had become an embarrassment to the president.

During the course of the Pule scandal, one of her spokesmen, Siyabulela Qoza, issued a statement saying: “The latest fabricated story was published by the Sunday Times on 5 May 2013 in which the newspaper claimed that Minister Pule had sent a lawyer and a government official to apologise to the Sunday Times. For the record, Minister Pule has not apologised to the Sunday Times and has no intention to do so.”

As part of her recommendations, Madonsela suggests that Pule apologises to “the Sunday Times for the persistent insults and denial of the truth”.

We would be happy to hear Pule’s apology — long overdue though it might be. Unless, of course, she wishes to accuse Madonsela’s office of being “reduced to slander and the spread of malicious rumours”.

3 December 2013: Thinus Ferreira on his TV with Thinus website reveals that the SABC cannot afford to pay for programmes and is constantly embarrassed when scheduled and announced programmes do not materialise

5 December 2013: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela instructs former communications minister Dina Pule to apologise to Parliament, the communications department, and the Sunday Times for "persistently lying and unethical conduct”.

6 December 2013: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on Dina Pule is released. She says Pule should quit parliament

11 December 2013: City Press reveals that SABC news staff were instructed by news head, Jimi Matthews, not to report on incidents that might embarrass the ANC at the Nelson Mandela memorial service.

11 December 2013 12:39

SABC bans Zuma booing from news broadcasts

City Press Reporters

While TV news broadcasters across the world led their bulletins with the booing of President Jacob Zuma at the memorial for Nelson Mandela yesterday, SABC’s prime-time newscasts all but erased the incidents from history.

City Press has learnt from six independent sources at the public broadcaster’s news division that various instructions were given to ban broadcasts of the booing.

The SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, was not available to respond to questions sent by City Press making these allegations.

The sources – from field reporters to producers to technical crew – do not wish to be named as they do not want to jeopardise their jobs, but have filled City Press in on how news bosses handled the booing situation.

SABC broadcasted the memorial live, beaming images of Zuma arriving at the FNB Stadium both on TV and on big screens inside, when elements in the crowd began to jeer and boo.

Some also gestured the soccer substitution sign.

The incidents repeated when Zuma was shown in pans of the VIPs on the big screen until the live feed was cut on the screens, which showed an image of Mandela for about half an hour. These screens are presumably not, however, controlled by the SABC but by the organisers.

The live feed on the screens recommenced during US President Barack Obama’s speech.

In the SABC news studio, the crisis was managed, according to insiders, by Nyana Molete, the national TV news editor.

Sources say he strode into the control room in Auckland Park calling: “Cut away! Cut away! Cut away!”

This, they say, was in line with the decision in a meeting before the broadcast to avoid broadcasting any incident that might embarrass the ANC leadership.

City Press believes presenters in the field complained about the control room instructions, which put them on the spot. Commentary was steered away from the booing.

Two separate sources confirmed that SABC radio reporters in the field received instructions over their cellphones when the booing happened. They were observed not commenting on or covering the crowd’s displeasure.

Another source told City Press that staff preparing the evening’s news bulletins received instructions, said to come from head of news Jimi Matthews, that the booing incidents would not be included and that booing should not be referred to, rather “unruly behaviour” by elements in the crowd.

While eNews and eNCA made the booing their headline story, SABC3’s 7pm news bulletin and prime-time 24-hour news channel coverage all but ignored it.

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird confirmed this, saying: “There’s no mention of booing from our observation so far. Not in the SABC1 headline bulletin or the SABC3 headline bulletin. There’s not even mention of an unruly crowd.”

According to one independent monitor, the broadcasters’ websites followed suit.

By 3pm, it was the main story on the eNCA website with a clip of the booing. The first mention of it on the SABC website is four hours later just after 7pm, says the monitor. It is then only mentioned in a story about Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s rebuke of the crowd.

SABC news did, however, tweet about the booing, even storifying it by assembling tweeted reactions.

Observers of the SABC’s 24-hour news channel say that after prime-time, passing mentions were made to the booing and the unruly elements in the crowd.

Kganyago was sent questions about the editorial control of the booing three times since last night but had not responded at the time of publication. City Press also phoned him twice and SMSed him twice.

This is not the first booing incident the SABC has had to deal with. In 2005, aired footage proving that an SABC cameraman had been present and filming when then deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was booed on Women’s Day by Zuma supporters.

The SABC had denied this and went on to issue an apology, which blamed the freelance cameraman for failing to record the booing and accused of being “bitter”.

In October this year, a similar incident occurred at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, when a bereaved widow shouted at national police commissioner Riah Piyega. eNCA broadcast the confrontation but the SABC did not, according to reports.

22 December 2013: The Sunday Times quotes BEMAWU members as saying that news teams have been instructed not to broadcast anything that could embarrass the Zuma faction.

Union blasts SABC over latest Zuma ban

Isaac Mahlangu

THE SABC this week instructed its editors and managers to stop carrying reports calling for President Jacob Zuma’s resignation, according to a labour union whose members work at the corporation.

The order was sent out on Friday by the SABC’s chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, according to the Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers’ Union.

Motsoeneng denied that his instruction amounted to censorship: “I spoke to senior editors about broader issues about how some people are lazy . . . I spoke about getting other angles on stories so that they remain fresh and interesting.”

Motsoeneng said he spoke to senior editors about many other reports and not only about those containing calls for the president to resign. The call came out of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s special congress this week.

“I said let’s make sure we get the president to comment and change the angle,” Motsoeneng said.

“We can’t be playing the same story with the same angle the entire week.”

The union called Motsoeneng’s instruction “unlawful” in a letter it wrote to the corporation’s CEO, Lulama Mokhobo, this week.

Union president Hannes du Buisson said editors were told in a conference meeting on Friday that they should no longer “run stories calling for the president’s resignation”.

Du Buisson said members regarded this as “a worst form of manipulation of news and a serious attempt to silence the critics of the president”.

Motsoeneng’s instruction comes barely a week after the SABC was criticised for banning reports on the booing of Zuma at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service.

Media Monitoring Africa, which promotes ethical and fair journalism, reviewed news bulletins from SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 this week and there had been no mention of the booing.

It said that it was “clear that the incident may perhaps not be the central news story of the day given the event at which it took place.

“If we consider the stature of the speaker and the importance of his speech, there can be little doubt that the story was newsworthy.”

24 December 2013: The Right2Know campaign reveals that instructions have been given to SABC news personnel not to broadcast any reports on calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down.This is confirmed by trade union Bemawu.


4 February 2014: SABC CEO, Lulama Mokhobo resigns for “personal reasons.”

4 February 2014: The Parliamentary Communication Committee receives the Price Waterhouse Coopers skills audit on the SABC which it commissioned. In parliament, MPS are not amused

5 February 2014: In an editorial Die Burger says that it’s no longer a question of whether the SABC serves the ANC but which faction of the SABC it serves.

6 February 2014: The PwC skills audit reveals that the qualification of one of the finance administrators at the SABC is a diploma in beauty therapy.

6 February 2014: Acting SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, address a news briefing about the PwC skills audit and says that university graduates are detrimental in the SABC workplace.

 “Your degrees can’t work for you. You need experience to do the work. When these people come with their degrees, they drain the same people [who are skilled but don’t have degrees

10 February 2014: Zandile Tshabala, chairperson of the SABC board, blames apartheid in the wake of the scathing PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) skills audit report.

"There's competences (sic) like psychometric tests which has(sic) been dropped many years ago, because that was a system used in a racially divided society to marginalise certain people."

10 February 2014: MWASA lashes out at the SABC’s response to the PwC skills audit calling it “insulting and idiotic”. MWASA general secretary, Tuwani Gumani said: “Whilst there are many skilled individuals within the employ of the SABC, they are victimised, persecuted and prosecuted for their qualifications, demonstrable skills and insistence on the maintenance of professional and ethical standards.”

15 February 2014: Hlaudi Motsoeneng tells SANEF that Dali Mpofu was wrong to take the SABC out of SANEF in 2007. By re-joining SANEF, his message about positive news coverage can be better communicated.

17 February 2014: Preview of Public Protector’s report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng

17 February 2014: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela releases a damning report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng: “When Governance and Ethics fail”.

In the report she says that Motsoeneng wasted millions of rands in driving dissenting staff out of the SABC.

20 February 2014: SABC chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala makes light of public protector Thuli Madonsela's findings of irregularities in Hlaudi Motsoeneng's salary and says he has the board’s full support.

20 February 2014: The Mail & Guardian in an editorial says HlaudiMotsoeneng is worse than Snuki Zikalala

“The new Zikalala is Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and his tenure as the SABC's acting chief operating officer has become a bad parody of the kind of transformation everyone wants to see take place there. The SABC board has had so many resignations and returns over the past few years that it is beginning to look like a very dour version of a bedroom farce. Round and round they go, and round and round the SABC goes, consuming itself; soon there will be nothing left for the state to bail out with more taxpayers' billions.”

20 February 2014: The SABC issues a media statement saying that a Mail & Guardian story by journalist Glynnis Underhill headlined "Hlaudi is here to stay" is not true.

21 February 2014: Mosibudi Mangena asks why successive SABC boards turned a blind eye to corruption at the SABC

23 February 2014: Sunday Times editorial

Survival of the unfittest in murky corridors of the SABC

THE SABC effectively gave the public protector’s office the middle finger this week. There is no other way of describing the insistence of SABC board chairwoman Ellen Zandile Tshabalala that acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s dictatorial reign at the public broadcaster will not be ending any time soon.

This was is in spite of the severely adverse findings by Thuli Madonsela’s office against Motsoeneng, who, she said, should be disciplined “for his dishonesty relating to the misrepresentation of his qualifications, abuse of power and improper conduct in the appointments and salary increments of Sully Motsweni, and for his role in the purging of senior staff members, resulting in numerous labour disputes and settlement awards against the SABC”.

Motsoeneng has already indicated that he will challenge Madonsela’s findings, which show that the public broadcaster was held hostage to his whims and desires.

That Motsoeneng has survived for so long — outliving many board members and senior executives — is perhaps the clearest indication of how the state-funded broadcaster has been hijacked and dumbed down by a few.

The Madonsela report arrives on the heels of an audit by PwC that found a dire lack of skills among senior executives at the SABC. In a bleak report released earlier this month, the auditing firm found an environment plagued by the “manipulative abuse of power”.

Furthermore, the audit found that 60% of executives and senior managers did not meet the minimum requirements for strategic thinking at an executive level.

Motsoeneng, with splendid myopia, was quoted as saying the broadcaster was doing well and had the right management team in place.

It appears that successive boards and CEOs have failed hopelessly in efforts to stop the rot in Auckland Park. Instead, they have found themselves pushed to the outside and quickly seen off by the likes of Motsoeneng.

The disdain with which the report has been met is of concern, and Tshabalala’s wholesale endorsement of Motsoeneng deserves close consideration. Why is it so important that he — who late last year imposed a 70% positive-stories quota at the broadcaster — must survive when others more skilled and deserving are shown the door?

Surely the public protector’s report must raise some discomfort in the corridors of the SABC over the fact that Motsoeneng irregularly increased the salaries of staff members at his discretion? It resulted in R29-million added to the salary bill, and this after the auditor-general placed a disclaimer of opinion on the broadcaster’s financial results last year. Then it was found that the SABC could not produce financial records for R1.5-billion spent on consultants, and that a further R1.6-billion had been spent irregularly without due tender processes.

The broadcaster’s history is littered with so many other incidences and events that it seems impossible that the government has not realised the crisis it finds itself in.

But a cynical observer might believe that it suits the government to keep the SABC in disarray.

23 February 2014: TV critic Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC’s Media Monitor programme has ignored the biggest media story of the week – the Public Protector’s report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

23 February 2014: Mondli Makhanya writes in City Press that the rot at the SABC starts at Luthuli House

25 February 2014: The Communication Workers Union (CWU)  - which was started by Snuki Zikalala - supports Motsoeneng and attacks the Public Protector or, as Thinus Ferreira puts it ‘Confused trade union supports the SABC’s matricless liar, Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

26 February 2014: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela reacts to the CWU attack on her by saying that she will raise the matter with parliament.

7 March 2014: the SOS Coalition holds a rally in Johannesburg to highlight the crisis at the SABC

9 March 2014: The Sunday Independentreveals that the SABC has, in a single year under Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Lulalama Mokhobo, seen its profits plummet from R329 million to R22 million – a difference of R306 million.

11 March 2014: Marian Shinn DA shadow MP for Communication reveals how the SABC refused to accept the findings of research which showed wide spread public concern about the veracity of the SABC news bulletins and the belief that these bulletins were biased towards the ANC and that ANC politicians controlled news dissemination at the SABC.

Project Kindle was commissioned by the SABC to analyse declining viewership since 2009. I am reliably informed that, because the research agency did not educate and inform research respondents "when their opinions and perceptions are wrong", it was rejected by the SABC's market intelligence department.

13 March 2014: The SABC carries a 1 minute:41 seconds news story on its channel 404 7 pm news bulletin about fringe churches attacking Public Protector for her report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng. They sought to exorcise the demons from Madonsela’s office and said that Madonsela was obsessed with vilifying him

19 March 2014: The EFF accuses the SABC of banning EFF coverage ahead of the May 7 general election

19 March 2014: The SABC refuses to answer questions about what it is going to do to replace former CEO, Lulama Mokhobo

20 March 2014: The SABC does a somersault on a canned radio interview with Julius Malema suddenly agreeing to broadcast the interview after Malema’s complaint about about the interview being censored resulted in adverse media publicity.

Hours before the show was aired on Wednesday, SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago defended the move to can the interview - although the decision was later reversed.

“In as far as the recorded interview, we have recorded the interview and we will broadcast (it) at a later stage. It must be noted that (election-period broadcasts are) regulated and we have already given EFF more time than required.”

23 March 2014: In an interview with Charl Blignaut of City Press the dismissed Chief Financial Officer, Gugu Duda, lashed out at Hlaudi Motsoeneng: She described reporting for work at the SABC, where acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng “ran the show”.

She said he barged into meetings, personally dispatched news teams and hijacked wage negotiations.

Motsoeneng, she says, was wasting money on news and increases for himself and his “generals”.

Motsoeneng’s boss, former chief executive officer Lulama Mokhobo, was “a sleeping CEO” who let Motsoeneng act with impunity, even when she was made aware of his “highly irregular” increases, claims Duda.

24 March 2014: SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala, who is supposed to be apolitical in public, has been heard asking South Africans to vote for the ANC. Tshabalala was speaking at the handover of houses  by the notorious Sbu and Shauwn Mpisane in KwaMashu north of Durban.

9 April 2014: The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) asks the Competition Commission to investigate the agreement between Multichoice and the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). ICASA said there was need to investigate   a possible "restrictive horizontal practice" between the two organisations.

10 April 2014: Thinus Ferreira reveals that it is the second anniversary of former head of news, Phil Molefe, being suspended on full pay.

11 April 2014: The SABC bans a Democratic Alliance election advertisement but ENCA continues to flight it. The SABC’s ban on the DA election advertisement backfires when it goes viral

12 April 2014: The DA lays a complaint  with ICASA gainst the SABC advertisement ban.

12 April 2014: The DA censures the SABC for banning radio advertisements as well.

13 April 2014: City Press leads with a story of a rebellion by SABC news staff against the abuses of their bosses, Motsoeneng, Matthews and Molete;

City Press editorial 13/4/2014

SABC staff move away from the trough

For a long time, decision-makers at the SABC have come to regard the public broadcaster as their little fiefdom they run on behalf of Luthuli House. From the board level to senior news executives, they have, with little shame, taken orders from whoever is the master at Luthuli House.

It is a continuation of an old tradition inherited from the National Party, which exercised tight control over the public broadcaster since its inception. Despite condemnations from all corners of society, opposition parties and even negative rulings from the Broadcast Complaints Commission, nothing has deterred this agenda.

Civil society bodies even formed the Save Our SABC campaign to directly take up policy matters, with little consequence.

It seems each board that gets appointed simply picks up the baton from the old ones. We report elsewhere in this edition of ongoing efforts to suppress fair and proper coverage of opposition parties as we head to elections. But we are much heartened by senior editorial staff members, who have decided to fight back in the interest of protection of editorial independence and integrity.

The SABC editorial management team took on their bosses at an election workshop last month where they sought to take back editorial control of their newsrooms from politicians. Among other things, the resolution they adopted says they reject direct or indirect interference by any political party in editorial decisions.

It also says they will not allow commercial, political or personal Considerations to influence decisions. They commit to reflect our attitudes, opinions, values and artistic creativity, and offer a plurality of views and a variety of news and information. The staff have also commendably become whistle-blowers by exposing the rot.

17 April 2014: The SABC experiences a complete blackout on all its television channels

20 April 2014: City Press carries a damning editorial on the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

8 May 2014: Anton Harber says the SABC is a key weapon in the ANC arsenal

25 May 2014: President Jacob Zuma announces that Faith Muthambi will replace Dina Pule as Communications Minister. He refuses to take questions.

8 June 2104: SABC bans City Press TV advertisement

8 June 2104: City Press provides a timeline of SABC censorship

13 June 2014: Hlaudi Motsoeneng is gifted a wife, a cow and a goat on a visit to Venda.

19 June 2014: Commission for Gender Equality agrees to investigate the apparent gift to Hlaudi Motsoeneng of a wife

24 June 2014: Cosatu says the SABC is not fulfilling its mandate

24 June 2014: Broadcast Minister Faith Muthambi gives the SABC board three months to find a new CEO.

“Don't be afraid of that the SABC is going to be a state propaganda. (sic) The SABC remains independent as it is but ours is to ensure it fulfil its public mandate.”

24 June 2014: SOS Coalition calls for the SABC to be “saved from its sorry state”.

25 June 2014: Editor Martin Williams reveals in the Citizen that Hlaudi Motsoeneng made no attempt to distance himself from the apparent gift of a wife.

In the Venda matter, which was first reported in The Sowetan on June 13, Motsoeneng, as a senior representative of the public broadcaster, should have immediately distanced himself from claims that he had chosen a wife from 10 women paraded for his benefit.

Instead he reportedly said in Sesotho on SABC2: “Ba mphile mofumahadi (they gave me a wife).”

1 July 2014: Thinus Ferreira, the most authoritative journalist on the television beat, reveals how the SABC marginalises Afrikaans viewers despite the fact that Afrikaans is the third most spoken language in the country after Zulu and Xhosa and is used as a lingua franca by more ethnic groups than any other. The Luthuli House selected SABC board has not included anyone representing Afrikaans viewers for years despite the fact that a significant percentage of its advertising revenue comes from Afrikaans companies.

2 July 2014: Speaking at the annual Joburg Radio Days at Wits University in Johannesburg Hlaudi Motsoeneng says journalists should be licensed and the only reason why the media expose corruption ( which the SABC religiously avoids doing) is because South Africa has a black government. He also said that in order to undo the "brainwashing" that South Africa's journalism students receive at university's journalism schools, the SABC will be starting its own school to train journalists.

2 July 2014: In response the DA Shadow Minister on Communication, Gavin Davis, says Motsoeneng has given the SABC board another reason to suspend him.

2 July 2014: In response SANEF says that Motsoeneng’s reveal ignorance. “It is unfortunate that the remarks come from a high-ranking official of the public broadcaster, one of the biggest media houses in the country. The proposal is at odds with freedom of speech which is enshrined in the Constitution.”

4 July 2014: Hlaudi Motsoeneng says the SABC is one of the best-run organisations in the country

4 July 2014: The Times, in an editorial, says Motsoeneng is “turning SA politics into a bad reality show.”

Editorial – The Times – 4/7/2014

Hlaudi is turning SA politics into a bad reality show

HLAUDI Motsoeneng has done it again, and he will continue to put his foot in his mouth as long as he presides as the head honcho of the public broadcaster.

Speaking at the annual Joburg Radio Days conference at Wits University, SABC acting chief operating officer Motsoeneng said the media should be more tightly regulated, even proposing that journalists should get licences. He apparently claimed that journalists only reported on corruption because black people govern the country.

This from a man who the public protector found had lied about his qualifications.

We fully agree with the opposition that Motsoeneng believes his duty is not to serve the public, but to protect the ruling party.

Motsoeneng forgets that governments come and go.

The National Party, and apartheid, disappeared — and so too, in time, will his ANC leaders.

Motsoeneng’s role is to objectively inform the public. We do not need a state censor deciding what news we can or cannot hear.

It is people like him who are taking this country backwards by thinking the ANC needs protection from its own citizens. The ANC is a big party — it can defend itself. It is disappointing to constantly read and hear negative things about Motsoeneng.

We hope he understands that journalists will always expose wrongdoing in society, and that politicians are accountable to the citizens.

Why should we not report about corrupt individuals?

We will only remain a vibrant democracy if there is vibrant debate based on the free flow of information, and the people are not silenced or cowed.

The SABC has a mandate to inform, educate and entertain the public. It does not exist to protect the state at all costs.

If we allow the likes of Motsoeneng to prevail, how can we claim today’s democracy is different from when the SABC was the National Party’s lapdog?

The time has come for the SABC board to review Motsoeneng’s contract.

4 July 2014: Tian Olivier, the SABC's acting CEO tells parliament that the SABC will eventually run out of money if it has to continually pay sports rights totalling R300 million to R500 million per year.

"The sports item puts us under pressure. If we have to continuously fund sport with R500 million or R300 million of our own cash year after year, eventually we will run out. It's not a difficult calculation to make,"

4 July 2014: SABC board chair Zandile Tshabalala tells MPs that there is no basis to suspend Motsoeneng and he chuckles.

7 July 2014: Justice Malala interviews Hlaudi Motsoeneng on eNCA

9 July 2014: Hlaudi Motsoeneng announced as the permanent COO of the SABC

9 July 2014: The FXI expresses concern about the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as SABC COO.

9 July 2014: SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabala says the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as full time COO will “bring stability” to the SABC. The YouTube video clip shows that the camera operator did not use a tripod – the interview looks as though it was shot during an earthquake.

11 July 2014: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says that Hlaudi Motsoeneng was cleared of all wrong doing before being permanently appointed as COO.

11 July 2014: Business Day reveals that as a result of the decision by the SABC board to appoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the full-time COO for three years without following due process and the endorsement of this decision by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is going to investigate the matter. eNCA and ANN7 covers the story, the SABC censors it.

11 July 2014: The Mail & Guardian claims that an attempt by cabinet to discuss the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng was vetoed and the newspaper attacks the appointment in an editorial.

11 July 2014: The Presidency denies the Mail & Guardian story that Jacob Zuma played a role in the appointment in the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as COO.

11 July 2014: The DA welcomes the announcement that the Public Protector is going to investigate the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng but the Star says he ‘remains bad news’.

11 July 2014: The Star reveals that a religious diploma which Hlaudi Motsoeneng obtained from the USA is not recognised in South Africa. The SABC which has given extensive coverage to Motsoeneng’s religious proclivities ignores the story.

12 July 2014: The Presidency issues a press statement saying Jacob Zuma played no role in the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng

13 July 2014: The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) lodges a complaint with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) over the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as SABC chief operations officer.

13 July 2014: The Sunday Times claims in its front page lead that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi lied to the SABC board over the permanent appointment of the public broadcaster’s chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. It says Muthambi allegedly ignored the fact that no formal settlement had been reached with the previous chief operating officer (COO), Mvuzo Mbebe.

13 July 2014: City Press claims in its front page lead that the chairperson of the SABC, Ellen Tshabala, lied to Parliament about her qualifications.

Tshabalala – who President Jacob Zuma appointed last October to head the public broadcaster’s board – claimed to have a commerce degree and a postgraduate diploma.

In her CV before the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, which interviewed her for a board position, Tshabalala said she graduated from Unisa with a BCom and a postgraduate diploma in labour relations.

This claim was repeated in a statement by the presidency announcing her appointment.

But the university’s response to a Promotion of Access to Information Act application sent by City Press revealed she has neither of those qualifications.

Sikhumbuzo Kholwane, the former chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications and now an MEC in Mpumalanga, was in charge of the committee that interviewed Tshabalala for a board position last August.

Asked if he knew Tshabalala had lied about her qualifications, Kholwane said: “No, no, no. I didn’t know. “But when I think back, the question was raised at that time about certificates to prove her qualifications.

“As I recall, she made an indication she’d lost or misplaced the original certificates of the degrees. I recall her indicating she’d requested new certificates from the institutions and had made affidavits to this effect.”

Attempts to obtain comment from Tshabalala this week were unsuccessful.

14 July 2014: Business Day reveals that the ANC is concerned about the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and its ramifications.

14 July 2014: Mwasa declares a dispute with the SABC over the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as permanent COO: The union’s general secretary, Tuwani Gumani, says the move was in response to the failure of the SABC to “follow established recruitment and placement procedures in the appointment of Mr Motsoeneng as the COO of the SABC”.

“It has been a case of crisis management that includes massive golden-handshakes and political back-patting. We have seen it all before but there seems to be no end to it. “However the latest instalment involving the Minister, the SABC board, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications, the Office of the Public Protector and others trumps all previous displays of ineptitude, incapacity, inefficiency, corruption and of abuse of privilege to serve,”

15 July 2014: An international media rights body, the Committee to Protect Journalists, expresses concern about Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s proposal to licence journalists.

15 July 2014: Muthambi says there are no plans to reverse Motsoeneng’s appointment

15 July 2014: The Communications Workers Union says it is shocked at the City Press revelation that the chairperson of the SABC board, Ellen Tshabalala’ falsified her CV

CWU is acutely mindful of the provision in the Broadcasting Act, No.4 of 1999 that “…members of the Board must, when viewed collectively- (a) be persons who are suited to serve on the Board by virtue of their qualifications, expertise and experience in the fields of broadcasting policy and technology,…”. However, a deliberate fabrication of a qualification is in our view a gross misrepresentation of facts by somebody who aspired to serve at a higher level and would imply she has misled parliament. If found to be true, this misrepresentation will without doubt further tarnish the image and reputation of the public broadcaster which is of late in the habit of being in the news for the wrong reasons and will worsen the existing poor public image of the SABC coming not so long after the PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ skills audit which found that 60% of SABC executives did not meet the minimum requirements for strategic thinking and leadership in their work.

16 July 2014: Thinus Ferreira reveals how the SABC’s decision to change Afrikaans programmes from SABC 2 to 3 will radically reduce the numbers of Afrikaans speaking people who can receive SABC Afrikaans broadcasts and how the SABC lied about this.

16 July 2014: Veronica van Dyk, DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Communications calls on Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to explain why all Afrikaans programmes were moved to SABC3.

16 July 2014: Thinus Ferreira reproduces Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s matric certificate.

16 July 2014: Pieter Mulder of the FFP says the SABC’s approach to Afrikaans programming is illegal.

16 July 2014: Die Burger in an editorial says that there is no logic in moving the Afrikaans programmes to a channel which cannot be received by millions of Afrikaans-speaking people.

Thinus Ferreira translates the editorial and posts it on his website:

SABC forsakes its role as public broadcaster

The news that the SABC wants to move its Afrikaans television programmes and news bulletins to SABC3 from the current SABC2 channel - which far fewer people can access - creates understandable distress.

This beggars belief. It is not normally the case that an organisation that is being smothered by a tsunami of bad publicity chooses to exacerbate the problem.

In the past few days the SABC has been dealt two crushing blows.

The first was the public reaction to the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer (despite the damning indictment of him by the Public Protector); the second was the revelation that the chairperson of the SABC board, Ellen Tshabalala had enhanced her CV - just as Motsoeneng had done.

In itself this would have resulted in any organisation under competent management taking a decision not only to investigate those under a dark cloud of suspicion but to delay or negate any further controversial decisions.

But no, the SABC resolutely continues with its decision to move its Afrikaans television news bulletins to a channel which cannot be accessed by the majority of people in areas of South Africa where the dominant language is Afrikaans.

Who is the most detrimentally affected by this decision? Afrikaans speaking people in rural areas, coloured and white, who cannot afford to subscribe to DStv.

By taking such injudicious - or perhaps deliberately malicious - steps the SABC nullifies its duty as public broadcaster.

But more than that: the Corporation which should be creating unity, through this step, creates division. In so doing it negates its calling.

It is ironic that, in so doing, the SABC has turned its back on a potentially valuable audience and created a gap in the market which will quickly be filled by the market forces of demand and supply.

Other institutions will profit from this while the public broadcaster staggers under its growing debt.

The SABC's problems are far broader and deeper than just this poor decision. Its point of departure should be to remove Motsoeneng from his post and to thoroughly investigate Tshabalala. Only then can the question of reconstruction be considered."

17 July 2014: Chris Moerdyk says the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as COO was the logical thing for the ANC to do.

I don’t expect anything to change within the SABC in the years ahead. Yes, it might have to be continually propped up with injections of extra cash but 75% of the voting public won’t know that.

So, the only logical conclusion I can come to, given all the evidence, is that the ANC want the SABC totally under their control as a hedge against the majority if South Africans turn away from them.

17 July 2014: The DA files urgent court papers calling for the dismissal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng

17 July 2014: Lukhona Mnguni says that Pansy Tlakula and Hlaudi Motsoeneng are the same side of a bad coin.

17 July 2014: The SACP expresses reservations about the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng

18 July 2014: Tawana Kupe says that the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng is an assault on democracy which has united the nation.

20 July 2014: Jovial Ranteo, editor of the Sunday Independent, says Hlaudi Motsoeneng does not have the support of Jacob Zuma.

20 July 2014: Hlaudi Motsoeneng announces a R10 billion plan for the SABC. (Less than two and a half years later the SABC, far from being R10 billion in the black is R5 billion in the red.)

20 July 2014: The SABC announces a R42 million bonus for staff

20 July 2014: Mcebisi Ndletyana, head of the political economy faculty at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi would not have given Hlaudi Motsoeneng a permanent appointment without being instructed to do so by President Jacob Zuma.

Motsoeneng is superbly suited for his mandate at the public broadcaster.

He’s not been employed to improve the technical competence of the institution but to make it a mouthpiece of the ruling party.

And, he has already distinguished himself in that role.

That is why no one was in a hurry to make a permanent appointment.

The man acted in that post nearly three years. They all knew he was woefully inadequate.

But, President Jacob Zuma found Motsoeneng useful in his rivalry with Kgalema Motlanthe. This was especially so in the period leading up to the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung conference, when he needed to receive favourable coverage.

The ANC benefited from similar favours during this year’s election campaign.

So, Motsoeneng has performed superbly in his role as a party apparatchik. That’s what Muthambi based her decision on, not technical competence. That was never part of Motsoeneng’s key performance indicators.

And, what probably made her take even more of a liking to Motsoeneng was that the party still needs a mouthpiece.

Some in the party have even convinced themselves that the need is greater now than it has ever been.

The party, they argue, faces a counter-revolutionary force, led by the private media.

They need the public broadcaster to thwart the counter-revolution. Muthambi believes that Motsoeneng, based on an illustrious record, is the man to lead that offensive.

24 July 2014: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi opposes the DA’s interdict on the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

24 July 2014: The Democratic Alliance welcomes the news that the ANC is going to oppose its interdict against the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng saying it looked forward to the court case on 19 August

24 July 2014: Anton Harber, writing in Business day, says the Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s plan to licence journalists is the “antithesis of good journalism.”

27 July 2014: Rapport reveals that the aunt who raised Hlaudi Motsoeneng is living in penury.

30 July 2014: The SA Freelancers' Association (Safrea) said it would approach the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) regarding a proposal to "license" journalists. Safrea chairperson Clive Lotter said the statements made by SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng in this regard were "an assault on South African democracy"

4 August 2014: SABC loses rights to broadcast Bafana games live to new consortium Siyaya TV

6 August 2014: The Public Protector subpoenas Communications Minister Faith Muthambi who is refusing to be interviewed by her.

7 August 2014: The Public Protector says that nobody can challenge its findings on Hlaudi Motsoeneng and threatens Muthambi.

“Should she not come, I will proceed to the next stage which is to invoke the powers in terms of contempt of the public protector and [she] stands to get a fine of R40 000 or imprisonment or both.”  

8 August 2014: The Times, in an editorial says that the refusal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to meet the Public Protector over the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng tests the strength of the country as a constitutional democracy.

Claims of respect for constitution about to be tested

Cabinet minister defies protector — Zuma says nothing

IT IS unprecedented and its outcome will show whether our power elite really respects the office of the public protector and the powers conferred on it by our constitution. Thuli Madonsela has, as a last resort, decided to take Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to court for refusing to meet her to discuss the minister’s decision to endorse the SABC board’s appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the public broadcaster’s chief operations officer.

Muthambi is in contempt of Madonsela’s office by refusing to give clear answers about why she endorsed the appointment of Motsoeneng.

This legal battle will reveal whether President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet respect the constitutional powers Madonsela holds, as Zuma has repeatedly asserted, or whether he feels free to disregard them.

It is unprecedented for a cabinet minister to defy a constitutional structure — but the president has had not a word to say.

If Muthambi continues to defy the law the government will be sending out a powerful statement to the effect that the executive can flout the constitution whenever it suits it.

If the minister is confident about her decision to endorse the Motsoeneng appointment, why is she refusing to meet Madonsela? Is she following the orders of her principals?

Madonsela was clear in her report in February. She found that Motsoeneng had lied about having a matric qualification, and had abused his powers by increasing his salary three times in one year while acting COO.

She recommended that Motsoeneng’s appointment as COO not be made permanent and called for a qualified candidate to be appointed instead.

But then Muthambi asserted that Motsoeneng was the ideal man for the job.

As long as the minister refuses to share with us the lawyers’ report that, she says, clears Motsoeneng of wrongdoing, we are bound to side with Madonsela.

The minister should remember that the public has a stake in the SABC and she has no right to play factional games that suit her agenda and that of those pulling her strings.

9 August 2014: The SABC files opposing papers in the Cape High Court saying the DA’s application to have Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment as COO is not urgent and should be set aside

18 August 2014: Gavin Davis alleges that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communication is not investigating allegations that SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala falsified her CV

19 August 2014: The DA’s application in the Cape High Court to have Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment as COO begins

20 August 2014: In response to Gavin Davis’s complaint parliament promises a response by the end of August.

21 August 2014: Business Tech publishes the SABC’s advertisement placed in the Sunday Times on 3 February 2013 which shows conclusively that “the first requirement is “A relevant degree/diploma and/or equivalent qualification”.

24 August 2014: Jovial Rantao, editor of the Sunday Independent writes that Faith Muthambi, in bringing in an independent law firm to contest the Public Protector’s report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng, contravened the Constitution – something that should not go unpunished.

26 August 2014: Gavin Davis of the DA slams Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on her evasive answers in parliament to the Hlaudi Motsoeneng question saying she was treating parliament with contempt.

29 August 2014: SABC board chairperson, Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, sends a letter to fellow board members saying they are being investigated for leaking of confidential information and non-disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.

2 September 2014: In response to a question from Gavin Davis, the DA Shadow Coomunication Minister, Faith Muthami reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s annual salary went from R334 167 in 2010 to R2.9 million in 2014 – an eightfold rise in three years. At R2.9 million, Motsoeneng is earning more than President Jacob Zuma.

5 September 2014: Gavin Davis reveals that 42 media institutions covered the story about Hlaudi Motsoeneng earning more than President Jacob Zuma but the SABC censored the story. He also reveals that Jimi Matthews acknowledged that it was an editorial decision not to cover the story

5 September 2014: Professor Anthony Butler of UCT says what is happening at the SABC is scarcely credible and likens it to a fictional “docudrama”.

8 September 2014: Changing the method of selecting the SABC board is imperative says Thato Mmereki, founder of the African Youth Secretariat.

9 September 2014: The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications resolves to expedite the inquiry into the academic record of SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala

11 September 2014: President Jacob Zuma’s wives clash in the SABC studios

11 September 2014: Thinus Ferreira reveals that, more often than not, the lifts at the SABC do not work

12 September 2014: The Mail & Guardian speculates that Commmunications Minister Faith Muthambi has proved a failure and is being sidelined. (Two years later she was still there.)

13 September 2014: The Sowetan reveals that one of Jacob Zuma’s daughters is working on a soapie series to replace Generations.

16 September 2014: The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Communications recommends that the Chairperson of the SABC, Ellen Tshabalala, be suspended with immediate effect.

19 September 2014: The SABC announces “minor changes” to its TV programming schedule – Generations, its most popular drama programme will be off air for an indeterminate period of several months.  This follows the strike of the principal cast last month who were promptly fired by Mfundi Vundla and MMSV Productions with the permission of the SABC.

It follows months of unhappiness behind the scenes for the actors after the SABC’s controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng in June 2013 promised the cast three year contracts. The actors banded together and demanded the promised contracts, better pay rates and better working conditions and were fired.

20 September 2014: Afriforum welcomes the return of the Afrikaans news bulletin to SABC2

23 September 2014: The Parliamentary Communication Portfolio Committee announces that it has postponed until 14 October a hearing into whether SABC board chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, had lied about her qualifications.   Business Day   says: The SABC has been beset by personnel and management problems. Since 2007 it has had three boards, two interim boards, six CEOs, resignations by board members and has faced serious allegations of corruption.

23 September 2014: Gavin Davis, DA shadow communications minister, calls on SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, not to resign before parliament has investigated her alleged fraudulent CV claims.

25 September 2014: DA MP Gavin Davis reveals that Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, has failed to meet her own deadline for the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the SABC.

26 September 2014: Leo Manne, the SABC's general manager for TV channels is suspended.

30 September 2014: US ambassador Patrick Gaspard, speaking at the Nieman Society AGM in Johannesburg, said South Africa had to be wary of attempts to censor the media and cited SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng's  suggestion that journalists be licensed, as an example of what should be guarded against: "Governments around the world are looking to control any story they can. I was stunned that all of you weren't outside of the SABC headquarters the next morning,"

1 October 2014: Gavin Davis reveals that ‘unqualified and overpaid’ SABC chair, Ellen Tshabalala, had earned close on a million rand from the SABC in the past year - “not bad for a part-time job”, as he put it.

3 October 2014: The 2013/14 annual report of the SABC, tabled in Parliament revealed that taxpayers have had to pay more than R12 million for two former SABC executives.

Former CEO Lulama Mokhobo was paid just over R8m for 11 months of service. She resigned in February 2014.

The amount included a basic salary of R5.3m and R2.2m for expenses and allowances.

Former executive Phil Molefe received a golden handshake of R4.8m, which includes a basic salary of R3.5m and R733 000 for travel and allowances.

The Democratic Alliance said it had asked Madonsela to probe whether controversial SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng played a role in purging both Mokhobo and Molefe, and whether this resulted in unnecessary financial losses for the broadcaster.

5 October 2014: City Press reveals that the SABC is set to lose more than R140 million after putting its biggest soapie, Generations, on ice for two months.

5 October 2014: The Sunday Times makes former CEO, Lulalama Mokhobo its Mampara of the Week: “When you are a millionaire mampara at Auckland Park’s Faulty Towers it’s hard to keep up with the salary increases.

Last year SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo earned R4.69 million.

A year later this had almost doubled to a figure of R8.094 million

Except that the mamapara didn’t know that she had earned that much.

When Mokhobo resigned in February, she said she would not take a payout.

But this week all that lucre was revealed in the SABC’s annual report. And she was amazed.

“That number is wrong,” she first said

Then she called back to say: “I’ve not been paid out R8 million. I have been paid my salary.”

Salary? For what, Lulalama Mamapra, appointing Cloudy Motsoeneng?

6 October 2014: Gavin Davis, the DA’s shadow minister on communications writes to President Jacob Zuma asking why he had not responded to a memorandum from the communications portfolio committee that the SABC board chair, Ellen Tshabalala, be suspended.

6 October 2014: Thinus Ferreira reveals on his website that the second-biggest soapy, Muvhango is in turmoil because of the state broadcaster’s incompetence.

Following the destruction of Generations which saw South Africa's biggest TV show and most watched soap swept from the SABC schedule, turmoil has now engulfed the beleaguered public broadcaster's second most watched soap, Muvhango where actors are threatening to strike and walk off after not getting paid.

South Africa's second most watched soap after Generations,Muvhango which is produced by Word of Mouth Productions and which lured an average audience of 4 million viewers on weeknights on SABC2, is now in financial turmoil.

Muvhango actors are threatening to ditch the show if they're not paid this week, struggling with bounced debit orders and unable to buy food, and pay bills and pay school fees.

It's also not the first time Muvhango actors had not been paid, complaining several times in the past over issues of non-payments and late payments.

This time the production company blames the SABC which allegedly failed to pay the show, which in turn has been unable to pay the on-screen talent.

7 October 2014: Writing in The Times, Tom Eaton (“A look outside the box – the arts are best served in theatres, not in the haunted halls of the SABC”) describes the state broadcaster as “… the great sucking cesspit of despair that is the SABC”.

7 October 2014: The SABC does not know the cause of the second blackout of all television programmes which saw them all go dark for most of the weekend. The first occurred in April

14 October 2014: Email correspondence between SABC chairperson Zandile Tshabalala and the parliamentary communications portfolio committee chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa is published by various newspapers. The correspondence reveals that Tshabalala took the strongest exception to the committee’s decision to recommend her suspension to the National Assembly.

14 October 2014: SABC board chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala arrives at parliament of the hearing on whether she lied about her education qualifications with her lawyer, Norman Arendse, who demands a postponement so that he can be briefed. The outrage across all parties is intense. The hearing is adjourned until October 23. The SABC carries the story on its main evening television news bulletins which is seen as an indication that she has lost the support of the ANC. Tshbalala says she will be liberated by the justice system.

15 October 2014: Cosatu and the SACP issue of joint statement condemning the delaying tactics by SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala.

Johannesburg - SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala must produce proof of her qualifications or immediately step down, Cosatu and the SACP said on Wednesday.

"[She must] save our country and the SABC from this rather embarrassing and shameful spectacle," the two said in a joint statement.

"Universities have their records and it is very simple to establish facts in this regard."

The SACP and Cosatu also wishes to caution against use of legal representatives to substitute for individuals expected to appear in front of portfolio committees to basically answer questions about themselves and their conduct. We also hope that the costs of expensive lawyers will not be borne by the SABC. This a private personal matter where public resources cannot be abused.

15 October 2014: In a clear reference to SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala and COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng the SOS coalition issues a statement saying that parliament must not allow the SABC to be led by “liars and perjurers”.

19 October 2014: The Sunday Times carries an op-ed column by Gavin Davis of the Democratic Alliance on the ANC takeover of the SABC.

19 October 2014: City Press reveals that it takes just 48 hours to get a replacement UNISA degree certificate: but SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabala has been unable to produce her claimed UNISA degree certificate in four months.

20 October 2014: Gareth van Onselen in a Business Day article uses the SABC as a case study of how cadre deployment is destroying good governance at every level where the party has influence

22 October 2014: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi is attacked by her own party in parliament for her failure to appoint a CEO.

22 October 2014: The SABC reports an irregular expenditure of a R3.3-billion in the financial year that ended in March 2014, up from the R100-million that the public broadcaster reported in the previous financial year. The irregular expenditure of R3.3-billion is almost half of the corporation’s overall spend of R6.6-billion over the period.

22 October 2014: SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala approaches the Cape Hight Court for an interdict to halt the investigation in parliamentof her false CV claims.

24 October 2014: Corruption Watch says when the SABC appeared before the communications portfolio committee this week, it wasn’t just the public broadcaster’s whopping R3.3-billion in irregular expenditure, but also the reason for this financial fiasco that boggled their minds.

James Aguma, the SABC’s CFO, admitted that not all of the R3.3-billion was spent in the financial year ending in March, but that it had actually been spent over the two years prior as well. Some R1.36-billion was incurred in 2013 and a further R1-billion in 2012. These amounts were only disclosed in the last financial year.

“While MPs were outraged by the irregular expenditure,” reported the M&G Online on the matter, “the explanation from the public broadcaster left them even more baffled.”

24 October 2014: Judge Ashton Schippers rules in the Cape High Court that the SABC must institute disciplinary proceedings against its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and to suspend him pending the outcome of the disciplinary process.

The SABC board must, within 14 days, serve Motsoeneng with a notice of charges for alleged dishonesty relating to his qualifications, the abuse of power, improper conduct and his role in the alleged suspension and dismissal of senior SABC staff members.

This is welcomed by opposition parties and Cosatu.

24 October 2014: The Mail & Guardian reveals that SABC hairperson Ellen Tshabalala cannot havea degree because she failed all her UNISA modules badly.

26 October 2014: City Press columnist Mondli Makhanya says the fates of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Ellen Tshabalala are linked by the ruling by Judge Ashton Scippers in the Cape High Court because each fraudulently misrepresented their educational qualifications.

26 October 2014: Mcebisi Ndletyana, head of the political economy faculty at Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, says the machinations of SABC board chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, are making a mockery of parliament.

26 October 2014: The Sunday Independent reveals that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has appointed Jimmy Manyi as special advisor.

26 October 2014: Sunday Independent editor, Jovial Ranteo, says that with the latest chapters in the Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Ellen Tshabalala farce the SABC has descended into madness.

26 October 2014: In an editorial the Sunday Independent says that the SABC has become a “never-ending tragicomedy” that will only return to normality when Ellen Tshabalala and Hlaudi Motsoeneng are relived of their positions.

Sunday Independent 26/10/2014

The circus must end if the SABC is to fulfil its role.

South Africans were this week treated to yet another episode of the never-ending tragicomedy that is the goings on at the SABC. Both the chairperson of the board, Ellen Tshabalala, and the chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, were in court, fighting tooth and nail to hang on to their positions.

Tshabalala disdainfully rushed to court to stop the Parliamentary Communication Portfolio Committee from proceeding with the disciplinary hearing into allegations that she had lied about her qualifications.

She has claimed a degree and a postgraduate diploma from Unisa. And on Friday, the Western Cape High Court ordered that Motsoeneng be suspended from his position for dishonesty about his qualifications. This after the Public Protector found that he had lied about finishing high school. Bizarrely, Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi had stood by Motsoeneng and made his position permanent.

And President Jaco Zuma has not acted on recommendations by the portfolio committee to suspend Tshabalala.

The circus at the SABC will never end as long as its root cause remains unaddressed. 

Tshabalala and Motsoeneng have become, respectively, the poster girl and boy of bad appointments. They have brought embarrassment to an institution that is the most important source of news for the vast majority of South Africans, especially those in rural areas who are a key focus for the government’s transformation policies.

Tshabalala and Motsoeneng need to go if the SABC is to fulfil its all-important informational role in our democracy.

28 October 2014: Hlaudi Motsoeneng calls a press conference to announce his appeal against a Cape High Court ruling that he be suspended. He says there are 27 reasons why he should be retained in his position

29 October 2014: Sources close to the SABC suggest that the court order against Hlaudi Motsoeneng will not be discussed at a scheduled board meeting but rather submitted to to a sub-committee which will obviate the need for minutes to be kept.

1 November 2014: Gavin Davis, shadow communication minister with the DA posts an article ‘The Zumafication of the SABC’

2 November 2014: Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande slams under-fire SABC chairwoman Zandile Tshabalala for misrepresenting her academic qualifications, saying her conduct has the potential to discredit the country’s qualifications integrity abroad.

4 November 2014: Joyce Moloi-Moropa, chairperson of the Parliamentary Communication Portfolio Committee says she is unaware of any ANC deployed cadres at the SABC.

5 November 2014: Parliament describes as a red herring the court challenge by SABC chairwoman Zandile Tshabalala, who is insisting that a planned Parliamentary inquiry into allegations that she lied about her qualifications is actually a disciplinary hearing.

5 November 2014: The Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa) files court papers with the Labour Court in Johannesburg claiming the SABC's acting CEO Anton Heunis is in contempt of court. This is because of the SABC's failure to act on, and comply with the order handed down in May 2013 by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

In terms of its own policy the SABC must review the commission paid to its sales representatives every two years but it has failed to do so for more than a decade.

6 November 2014: The SOS: Support Public Coalition (SOS), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) lodge their application to the North Gauteng High Court against the SABC, the Minister of Communications, The Hon. Faith Muthambi and, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, respectively. The application challenges the process followed in the appointment of three executive directors of the SABC, namely, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), the Group Chief Operations Officer (GCOO) and the Group Chief Financial Officer (GCFO).

They are challenging the process followed in the appointment of the SABC's CEO, COO and chief financial officer (CFO).

9 November 2014: City Press alleges that Hlaudi Motsoeneng offered an SABC colleague a R2m bribe to lie about his lack of matric.

9 November 2014: The Democratic Alliance releases a statement saying that allegations of bribery against Hlaudi Motsoeneng strengthens its claims that he should be suspended

12 November 2014: SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala loses her court bid to halt a parliamentary inquiry into whether she lied about her qualifications. MPs feel vindicated by the ruling

12 November 2014: The SACP welcomes the Cape High Court ruling on Ellen Tshabalala “with enthuisiasm”.

13 November 2014: Communications MinisterFaith Muthambi declines to comment on Ellen Tshabalala’s failed court bid saying she has not been briefed.

13 November 2014: Only the SABC of the three major TV news channels fails to carry live coverage of the the Nkandla debate in parliament.

16 November 2014: City Press reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been appointed as the SABC’s acting group CEO because the incumbent, Anton Heunis, is ill.

16 November 2014: The Sunday Sun claims that SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala is having an affair with Jacob Zuma

17 November 2014: Ellen Tshabalala denies allegations by the Sunday Sun that she is having an affair with Jacob Zuma

21 November 2014: Carol Paton reveals in Business Day that President Jacob Zuma   “… personally added Ellen Tshabalala to the ANC communications committee’s list of candidates for the board, which was submitted to the ANC caucus in Parliament.”

21 November 2014: The Parliamentary Communications Portfolio Committee sends a new memorandum to the Speaker of the National Assembly calling for the immediate suspension of Ellen Tshabalala as SABC Chairperson.

22 November 2014: Beeld provides visual documentary proof that SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, has not passed her UNISA exams as claimed.

23 November 2014: The SABC confirms reports that its group head of technology Sipho Masinga has been suspended, but declined to detail the reasons behind this. This came after City Press reported that Masinga was suspended allegedly following a report he wrote in which he blamed outdated and broken infrastructure for interruptions to the national broadcaster's service.

26 November 2014: SABC board chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala extends chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s power to act as chief executive officer of the public broadcaster until the end of December.

27 November 2014: The SABC announces that Jimi Matthews who has been acting in the position of group executive: news and current affairs and will now get the position permanently.

30 November 2014: Hlaudi Motsoeneng writes to the Democratic Alliance and accuses it of publishing illegally obtained information from internal documents which are not meant for public consumption. Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis responds by calling on SABC whistleblowers to leak still more informtion

3 December 2014: University of South Africa executive director for legal services Jan van Wyk tells Parliament’s communications portfolio committee inquiry into whether or not SABC chair Ellen Tshabalala lied about her academic qualifications on her CV that she failed so badly – 13 % for Human Resources – that she was not allowed to re-write the subject

The committee then unanimously resolved to call for her removal from office.

3 December 2014: The Democratic Alliance publishes a timeline of the Ellen Tshabalala saga

3 December 2014: The SOS coalition welcomes the findings against Ellen Tshabalala

3 December 2014: SABC board chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, claims through her lawyer that the UNISA records have been doctored to remove her name from the list of graduates.

4 December 2014: The Democratic Alliance lays a charge of perjury against Ellen Tshabalala

5 December 2014: SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala calls a news conference and tells reporters that she won’t step down. She says that Unisa’s computer system is at fault and that her results have been manipulated.

The Democratic Alliance then accuses her of trying to avoid suspension and says it is “problematic” that the only person who can legally suspend her, President Jacob Zuma is known to have a close personal relationship with her. In his media statement, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of commuinicatio, Gavin Davis, said: “It is a weakness in our law that only the President can suspend an SABC Board Member. This is particularly problematic if these two individuals are known to have a close relationship.”

Unisa then issues a statement saying that its record were reliable and accurate and that its conduct in relation to Ellen Tshabalala had been both ethical and legal.

7 December 2014: City Press reveals that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi unilaterally amended the articles of association of the SABC to ensure board members were not consulted in connection with the recent high-profile appointments.

The SABC announced the appointments of Jimi Mathews as group executive of news, Bessie Tugwana as head of sport, Sully Motsweni as group executive of stakeholder relations and provinces, Nothando Maseko as head of television news and Sebolelo Ditlhakanyane as head of radio news.

Muthambi’s office refused to say why she had instituted the changes and if there were going to be any more changes. It referred all questions to the SABC.

SABC board sources suspect that Muthambi only made the amendments after the executive board members led by Hlaudi Motsoeneng had decided on the appointments without consulting nonexecutive board members.

7 December 2014: City Press reveals that the SABC has again centralised and tightened its control of political coverage, instructing that no radio stations should speak to any political party without consulting their political editor.

On November 19, the general manager of radio, Leuba Ramakgolo, sent an email to SABC staff members informing them that permission was necessary before bringing any political guests on to news platforms.

“Stations must ensure they discuss the topics of a political nature and the angles they intend following in tackling those ­topics with Mr Simon Tebele, the political editor, before they finalise their preparations. Stations must not engage politicians before agreeing with Mr Tebele,” reads the email.

Tebele is the newly appointed political editor who was selected after a two-year stint in special projects at the SABC.

7 December 2014: City Press reveals that, at a meeting of the ANC’s National Executice Committee, a decision was taken that SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, be asked to steop down.

9 December 2014: Natasha Michael, the DA Shadow Minister Public Enterprises calls for Ellen Tshabalala to be removed from the Transnet board.

9 December 2014: Social media users use Twitter to call on SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala to produce her graduation photos.

11 December 2014: Fin 24 reveals that Ellen Tshabalala has been left off the Transnet board

14 December 2014: Sunday Times columnist, Redi Tlabi, suggests that if Ellen Tshabalala cannot produce the degree certificates which she claims were stolen, then the indications are that she is mentally ill.

15 December 2014: Presidential spokesman, Mac Maharaj confirms that President Jacob Zuma has received a request from parliament to suspend Ellen Tshabalala and is considering the request.

17 December 2014: Embattled SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, resigns.

SOS Coalition statement on the resignationof Ellen Tshabalala

Liars Never Prosper

17 December 2014

The SOS Coalition welcomes the resignation of Ellen Tshabalala from the SABC Board.

Tshabalala was, on 3 December 2014, found guilty by Parliament of wilfully or negligently and under oath misrepresenting her qualifications to Parliament as well as perjuring herself under oath.

Pleased as we are to see her exit from our public broadcaster, we are, nevertheless, dismayed and saddened that she chose to drag this matter for as long as she did, bringing an SABC Board that has for years been mired in controversy and scandal into further disrepute. Indeed, she continues to claim, and without evidence, that she holds these qualifications and that it is UNISA’s integrity and not hers that is so severely compromised.

What Tshabalala teaches us is that liars and perjurers will never proposer.

She reminds us that Parliament must exercise greater care and scrutiny in ensuring that only the best candidates of the utmost integrity are allowed to lead our public institutions. She further shows us that by taking ownership of our SABC and remaining committed to visionary and accountable public broadcasting in South Africa, the people of this country can begin turning this ship around, however long it might take.

Tshabalala’s resignation is not the end of the road for this matter. Indeed, several things remain outstanding in realising the accountable SABC we deserve.

Having been found guilty of misconduct, we call on the Portfolio Committee on Communications to require Tshabalala to pay back all sitting fees that were accrued in her role as SABC chairperson.

We further call on the President of the Republic of South Africa to direct the National Prosecutions Authority to initiate a criminal investigation into her contravention of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act.

A clear example must be made of Tshabalala that liars will never prosper in the SABC or any other public institution, because the people of South Africa deserve an SABC that works.

The SOS Coalition represents a broad spectrum of civil society stakeholders committed to the broadcasting of quality, diverse, citizen-orientated publicinterest programming aligned to the goals of the South African Constitution.

The Coalition includes a number of trade union federations including COSATU and FEDUSA, a number of independent unions including BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), SECTION27 and a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.

For more information contact:

Sekoetlane Jacob Phamodi

Coordinator: SOS Coalition

076 084 8077

17 December 2014: Political parties welcome the resignation of Ellen Tshabalala

17 December 2014: Michael Schmidt of the Professional Journalists Association of SA expresses his anger at the praise of Ellen Tshabalala by the Presidency:

On 17 Dec 2014, at 6:12 PM, Michael Schmidt <> wrote:

Hi all

Personally, I'm outraged that Mac Maharaj went on radio thanking Tshabalala for her service and wishing her well in future! By not taking a hard line - he really *should* have said "we won't tolerate this sort of lying and fraudulent behaviour by public servants of any rank and will now be filing fraud charges against Tshabalala for lying to our democratic Parliament, and for the recovery to the benefit of the fiscus of the executive salary that she gained by her illicit behavour" - the Zuma presidency continues to, in effect, endorse and encourage such behaviour at all levels of their administration. And you can quote me on that!

Best regards

Michael Schmidt

Administrative Secretary

Professional Journalists' Association of South Africa
A member of the Alliance of Language & Media Practitioners (LAMP):

Street: Ground Floor, 1 Richmond Forum, Cedar Street, Richmond, Johannesburg  Post: PO Box 2544 Houghton, South Africa, 2041  Tel: +27(0)11-482-4990/1/2/3  Fax: +27(0)11-482-8216  Mobile: +27(0)82-334-6665  Twitter: @ProJourn   Skype: chernoznamentsi Web:

17 December 2014: Media Monitoring Africa welcomes Ellen Tshabalala’s resignation but calls on parliament to more rigorously monitor the qualifications of future applicants for opositions at the SABC

17 December 2014: Ellen Tshabalala vows to fight on but offers not a word of apology, saying only that family pressure caused her to resign. "I resigned on the 11th (of December) ... the reason being pressure from my family. I hope I will be given my peace going forward," Ms Tshabalala said on Wednesday. She did not respond to further questions.

18 December 2014: Judge Ashton Schippers reserves judgement in the Cape High Court in the legal battle over the appointment of SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The matter could soon go to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) - and the DA has made a bid for him to be suspended pending the outcome.

In October, Schippers ordered that the public broadcaster commence disciplinary proceedings against Motsoeneng.

He was to be suspended with full pay, pending the finalisation of the proceedings.

But Motsoeneng filed for leave to appeal just a couple of days after the judgment was delivered.

This suspended the effect of the order, pending the outcome of the appeal process, said his attorney Zola Majavu, meaning Motsoeneng had been carrying out his duties as usual.

Judge Schippers heard arguments today in a bid for leave to appeal by Motsoeneng, the SABC, Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi and Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela.

19 December 2014: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela finds that the SABC has violated the copyright of a song writer Tloledi Makudubela. In 2006 she had submitted a music video of her album Goboima Lefaaseng to Auckland Park.

The SABC refused to play her title track, despite her protests.

But later, to Makudubela’s surprise, the SABC played a remixed version of her video on one of its channels.

In her findings Madonsela said: “The SABC had no right to change the complainant’s sound as that violated her copyright to her music. By failing to consult with the complainant before making substantial changes to her music video, the SABC can be said to have technically violated the complainant’s right in terms of the Copyright Act.

“The conduct of the SABC constituted maladministration.”

Madonsela ordered that the SABC CEO apologise in writing to Makudubela, and the board adopt policies that would guide its interaction with artists and prevent the exploitation of their intellectual property.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: “Our legal team has to look at the report. Once that is done we will be able to comment.”

Times Live 19/12/2014

21 December 2014: The Sunday Times makes Ellen Tshabalala its Mampara of the week and reveals that a decision was taken at the highest levsls of the ANC to remove Ellen Tshabalala from office because she had become an embarrassment to the party. The article was headlined: ANC top brass ‘pushed Zuma to ditch Ellen’

THE ANC’s hand in the resignation of Ellen Tshabalala from the SABC is shown in minutes of a meeting of the party’s top decision-making body.

The ANC national executive committee last month resolved that Tshabalala should leave to save the image of the public broadcaster.

The decision was taken after a long debate in which committee members expressed concern about the way state-owned enterprises such as the SABC and Eskom were being run.

The committee’s decision strengthened the hand of ANC MPs in the communications portfolio committee who were to meet a few days later to consider a complaint about Tshabalala having lied about her qualifications.

It also meant that once the committee had decided to have Tshabalala suspended, National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete — the ANC’s national chairwoman — could write to President Jacob Zuma asking that Tshabalala be suspended, knowing that she had the backing of her party.

Zuma reacted to Mbete’s letter by announcing last week that he was considering the request. Presidential sources say the president was due to suspend Tshabalala this past Friday, but that she avoided that by resigning days earlier. UNREPENTANT: Ellen Tshabalala denies allegations

Despite all indications pointing to the ANC’s involvement in her decision, Tshabalala continued to deny it this week, saying that she had only walked away because the “negative publicity” had affected her family.

21 December 2014: City Press devotes an entire page to an article on the SABC in what it calls the soap opera of the year.

21 December 2014: Gavin Davis, Democratic Alliance shadow MP for communication says that Ellen Tshabalala must pay her own R1 million legal fee.

23 December 2014: According to Sunday World, former SABC board chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, is hoping to claim more than R1 million in legal fees – which she says she incurred in her recent court appeals – from the Corporation.

"I resigned because the media wanted me to. I did not want to resign. Worse is that these obsessive calls and attacks were made by my fellow black journalists attacking one of their own. They were following Indian and white people's agenda."

24 December 2014: According to The Times, minutes of the the ANC’s National Executive Committee meeting in November reveal that a decision was taken that Ellen Tshabalala should leave the SABC in order to save the image of the Corporation

28 December 2014: City Press reveals that the SABC has banned the use of the footage of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MPs chanting “Pay back the money” at President Jacob Zuma during a tumultuous question-and-answer session in Parliament in August.

Senior SABC journalists have told City Press that they have been barred from using the visuals when they write stories about the EFF for TV news.


5 January 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng makes a fool of himself at the announcement of the matric results.

6 January 2015: the SABC announces that James Aguma, a chartered accountant, had been appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  Aguma had been the acting CFO of the SABC since March 2014 after Gugu Duda was suspended in September 2012 in connection with procurement and financial irregularities. In its television news announcement of the appointment of the appointment mention ismade of the SABC posting a profit of R6501 million in the 2013/2014 financial year. No mention is made in this bulletin that Aguma told parliament

8 January 2015: Twitter users and opposition parties express outrage over SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who has said experience and “a brain” were more important than obtaining “a piece of paper”.

11 January 2015: The Sunday Independent reveals that the SABC has been dealt another blow with the resignation of a high-profile board member, Professor Bongani Khumalo.

11 January 2015: Writing in the Sunday Times, columnist Barney Mthombothi said having Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the release of the matric results was like having the blind lead the sighted:

It was perhaps appropriate that the public announcement of the matric results was made at a place that has come to symbolise nothing but ignominy — and that the limelight shone on a man who is to education what darkness is to light.

One suspects that the only reason the SABC was chosen to host the event is that, being an overzealous government poodle, the broadcaster would religiously toe the line, and Hlaudi Motsoeneng, its analphabetic whippersnapper, would be at hand to gild the lily.

Were it not for her recent little difficulties, Ellen Tshabalala would surely also have honoured the occasion with her imperious presence. Such chutzpah cannot be learnt or acquired. It must be in the genes. Rarely has such glittering talent illuminated or coalesced in one blessed place at the same time.

The rich irony of Motsoeneng lecturing people who’ve seen the inside of a classroom — and have a certificate to prove it — about the value of an education, accurately captures a snapshot of South African realities. It is of the blind leading the sighted.

11 January 2015: The Sunday Times makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng its Mampara of the week.

Broadcaster of own balderdash

It takes a mampara to lie for years about having a matric when you are the sort of person who gets a thrill from being in the spotlight and seeing your picture plastered all over the papers.

But it takes a special kind of mampara to then take the podium at the official unveiling of the 2014 matric results, and lecture school-leavers about what this means — when you would not know what it feels like to get that certificate.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the chief operating officer of the SABC, is that man. And when he did open his mouth, he displayed his notorious befuddled thinking. “You have two kinds of people in this world. You have certificated people and educated people,” he said.

Motsoeneng seems to be neither — even if he is an epic chancer, with no little chutzpah.

11 January 2015: In a Sunday Times article, Rob Rose calls Hlaudi Motsoeneng the “Idi Amin of Auckland Park”.

13 January 2015: Parliamentary speaker, Balela Mbete does not grant an EFF request for a special sitting of the House to discuss Nkandla. The SABC uses the “Pay Back the Money!” footage but leaves out the sound so that yiou cannot hear the EFF cries.

14 January 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and her opposition counterpart, Gavin Davis, issue statements relating to her relationship with the SABC board.

18 January 2014: City Press reveals that “Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has intensified her campaign to get rid of SABC board members who did not support the controversial appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as group chief operating officer.

“Muthambi has written more letters to the six SABC board members who were against her endorsement of Motsoeneng, accusing them of sowing disunity and breaching their fiduciary duties.

“She has asked them to give reasons why they should not be suspended.”

19 January 2015: Gavin Davis says that there is a growing climate of paranoia, fear and intimidation at the SABC under Acting CEO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

20 January 2015: Business Day reveals that disgraced former chairwoman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Ellen Tshabalala has resigned from the board of the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM), after being found to have lied about her academic qualifications.

20 January 2015: Media Online reveals that the SABC has launched an investigation into what it calls leaks by staff members of internal documents to the Democratic Alliance

21 January 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reponds to the criticism of her by Gavin Davis saying that he says that he had falsely accused her of unlawfully interfering in the SABC Board. Davis then replied saying he had documentary proof of her interference

25 January 2015: Wally Mbhele, Editor-At-Large of IOL’s Sunday publications says the broadcasting in 7 am SABC television news bulletin on 23 January of the function to celebrate Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s “20 years” with the SABC was another example of the insanity that prevails within the SABC.

13 February 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng ays South African journalists are lazy and chides ANC ministers for not spending more money on the SABC.

15 February 2015: City Press says SABC news chief Jimi Matthews censored the SONA broadcast.

15 February 2015: Journalist Adriaan Basson says former SABC board member Cedric Gina tried to prevent him from doing his job.

27 February 2015: The Mail & Guardian reveals that the ANC wants the SABC to give more coverage to President Jacob Zuma and more favourable coverage to the ANC.

1 March 2015: City Press reveals that the controversial MultiChoice, SABC deal is ‘not in the public interest’.

1 March 2015: MMA, SOS and Caxton issue a statement saying that the SABC/Multichoice is a merger that does not comply with the law.

5 March 2015: Gavin Davis, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on communication, calls on former SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, to pay back the more than R1 m she was paid during her 22 month tenure in the position.

We believe that this R 1.3 million constitutes ill-gotten gains and must be paid back.

If Tshabalala had been honest about her lack of qualifications, she would not have been appointed SABC Chairperson in the first place. If she had not been appointed, she would not have been paid R 1.3 million.

This is not just a moral argument. It is SABC policy that any money accruing to an individual as a result of a wrongful act must be paid back. This is set out on page 67 of last year's SABC Annual Report, as follows:

"The SABC shall take appropriate steps, including legal action, to recover any losses from fraudulent and/or corrupt activities or any other wrongful act. This may include action against third parties involved in fraudulent and/or corrupt activities or any other wrongful act, or whose negligent actions contributed to such acts."

12 March 2015: The SABC board passes a vote of no confidence in non-executive director Hope Zinde and excludes her from the board. This was because of her opposition to the abusive behaviour of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

13 March 2015: SABC board member Hope Zinde says of her sudden ousting: “I was shocked to learn from the media that I have been removed from the SABC board.

"I am currently awaiting a process to unfold through the appointing authority, parliament and the presidency, to look into a matter I have been alleged to have committed."

"The acting chairperson Prof Obert Maguvhe and the SABC board members who supported him to carry out this illegal act - unquorated as they were - acted unlawfully by proceeding with a matter without any inquiry, facts nor evidence to prove the allegations that I divulged board matters to the ANC communications stakeholder lekgotla,"

Thinus Ferreira, an independent commentator on on the television sector attributes her ousting to her criticism of broadcast minister Faith Muthambi:

On Friday the SABC moved quickly to remove all trace of Hope Zinde from its website - besides the news stories from SABC News that she's been voted out of the SABC board - with Hope Zinde's profile which was removed from the SABC's website listing the current SABC board.

Hope Zinde was one of the SABC board members who questioned the alleged undue interference of South Africa's minister of communications Faith Muthambi in the workings of the SABC board and warned that Faith Muthabi is diluting the powers of the SABC board to run the SABC.

"Why are we on the board, to just rubber-stamp? I do not agree," said Hope Zinde.

In January, SABC board member Prof Bongani Khumalo resigned, allegedly also because of the minister of communications Faith Muthambi's interference who allegedly sent letters to the board members asking why they should not be suspended.

17 March 2015: MMA posts further court documents relating to opposition to the SABC/Multichoice merger.

18 March 2015: The Democratic Alliance says that the powers that Faith Muthambi has given herself turn the SABC into a state broadcaster.

22 March 2015: Justine Limpitlaw, a telecommunications expert, says that SABC board was not legally empowered to remove Hope Zinde.

27 March 2015: Eyewitness News reveals that two more SABC board members have been given the boot, fuelling concerns that members are being purged “unlawfully”.

Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi were removed during a special board meeting after both received letters accusing them of fraudulent conduct.

It comes just two weeks after another board member, Hope Zinde, was pushed out in a similar fashion.

Gavin Davis, Democratic Alliance shadow minister on communication says this is unlawful

Communications MP, Faith Muthambi, says she supports the removal of Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi.

1 April 2015: SABC dumps all vernacular langages on its 24 hours news channel (404)

10 April 2015: SABC interviewer Eben Jansen is removed from the schedule after losing his cool during a live interview

12 April 2015: An opinion from parliamentary legal advisers on Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s interpretation of legislation governing the SABC has been handed to Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete.

12 April 2015: The Sunday Independent front page lead alleges that:  “A controversial five-year, R55-million deal between MultiChoice and the SABC has handed significant control over the public broadcaster’s news operations to the pay-TV operator – a private company with no public broadcasting mandate.”

12 April 2015: The Sunday Times reveals that: Pressure is mounting on the SABC to suspend its head of news, Jimi Matthews, following allegations that he assaulted a  woman staff member.

Matthews appeared before a grievance hearing on Tuesday to answer allegations that he assaulted a female colleague during the broadcast of President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address in Cape Town in February.

A staff union, the Media Workers Association of South Africa, this week called on the SABC to suspend Matthews during the “grievance procedure”.

Matthews is accused of assaulting a female TV technician during an argument over the brief loss of the live feed.

Unaware that the technical glitch was caused by the use of a jamming device by the police and parliamentary staff, Matthews is said to have blamed the broadcaster’s technician.

Tuesday’s proceedings did not last long because witnesses were not available. The hearing was postponed to April 21.

15 April 2015: SABC apologises for Eben Jansen’s behaviour

23 April 2015: Judge Ashton Schippers rules in the Cape High Court that Hlaudi Motsoeneng be suspended for 60 days and that an independent person be appointed to start a disciplinary hearing of Motsoeneng.

26 April 2015: The SACP expresses concern about the SABC/Multichoice contract.

26 April 2015: The Sunday Times reports that Hlaudi Motsoeneng as cost the SABC R1.1 billion

30 April 2015: The Media Online website reports that the situation at ICASA is chaotic

1 May 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi tells parliament that she is troubled by the fact the the SABC’s audience share has remained stagnant at 53%.

8 May 2015: The Democratic Alliance files papers in the South Gauteng High Court against the SABC over its failure to provide live coverage of the party’s federal congress in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

The DA alleged that the SABC withdrawal of its live coverage on public television is both contrary to the public interest and contrary to the SABC’s own editorial policy the party said in a statement.

8 May 2015: Jackson Mthembu‚ the spokesman for the African National Congress‚ tweeted: “#DACongress. The failure to cover the #DACongress by #SABC on the free to air channel‚ is so unfortunate‚ stupid and nothing to do with ANC”.

Mthembu tweeted: “#DACongress is in the public interest‚ they are the second biggest party in our country it’s only a fool that will not know that!#SABC”.

He distanced himself from the SABC‚ saying: “The more we #ANC members are not open about #SABC blunders‚ the more we are seen to be working with them.”

8 May 2015: The High Court in Johannesburg orders the SABC to provide live coverage of the DA’s federal congress in Port Elizabeth.

“The SABC conceded before Judge Carelse that it had no case, by agreeing to the order sought by the DA,” Democratic Alliance federal executive chairperson James Selfe said in a statement late on Friday night.

17 May 2015: The Sunday Times reveals that the legal opinion canvassed by broadcast minister Faith Muthambi makes it clear that she was not legally empowered to to dismiss three board members, Rachel Kalidass, Hope Zinde and Ronnie Lubisi in February.

20 May 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says the SABC is both a state-owned company and a public broadcaster.

21 May 2015: The Democratic Alliance spokesman on communication, Gavin Davis, says that the SABC is in crisis and facing financial ruin.

22 May 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reveals that the SABC is spending R3m annually on a choir which sings the praises of Hlaudi Motsoeneng at staff meetings.

25 May 2015: At a gala function celebrating the the expansion of the footprint of the public broadcaster's 24-hour TV news channel SABC News (DStv 404) into the rest of Africa, Hlaudi Motsoeneng launches into a bizarre tirade against South African journalists. With President Jacob Zuma and several cabinet ministers listening he threatened that dissenting and disloyal SABC workers would be rooted out, saying that the SABC is doing very well and that the SABC is committed to "positive stories."

Speaking in broken English, Motsoeneng said: "Our own journalists, they deal with propaganda. When you go abroad, most journalists they don't write bad about their country. But when you come to South Africa, and some of the African countries, our own journalists talk very bad about their own country.

"They don't educate and inform people. If you read, they are always misleading.

"Sometimes you need brain. It's good to have all those qualifications, but you need brain to think. If you analyse when people write - and those people are having all these diplomas and degrees - I'm going to give you example.

“"One of the papers said SABC has hide R500 million. If you analyse that what they mean is the CFO of the SABC has hide R5 million [sic], but if you check the books of the SABC, the reality is when we write off all those policies that are not relevant to the business, technically, the auditor-general they will pitch that equals to R500 million.

"But when people talk it seems as if SABC has really hide money. But these are people who are very educated. I wonder, whether they think before they do, whatever they do. That is misleading the country".

26 May 2015: Legal opinion presented to the parliamentary Communications Portfolio Committee confirms that the removal of three SABC Board Members by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi was unlawful.

28 May 2015: "The thing is it is surprising that a big corporation like the SABC is being run by somebody who talks as if he has smoked nyaope, with no respect. He just talks. He must stop his reckless statements. We are warning him, we are not one of those people he can just trample all over."

Incensed Siyaya TV founder Aubrey Tau  accused SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng of being "reckless" after he went on SABC 2's Morning Live and announced that the SABC had reached a three-year agreement with Safa to televise matches of all the country's national teams.

Tau said he was stunned as he watched the television show and he threatened to sue the SABC if the public broadcaster televised the 2016 Olympic qualifier between Banyana Banyana and Gabon on Sunday.

Siyaya owns the rights to all of SA's national teams after signing a six-year broadcast deal worth more than R1-billion with Safa a few months ago.

2 June 2015: The ANC prevents DA M, Gavin Davis, from discussing a legal opinion that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi did not adhere to the law regarding the SABC board, Netwerk 24 reported.

The sub-committee of Parliament’s communications portfolio met to discuss the shortlist for three vacancies on the SABC’s board.

5 June 2015: Is the SABC back to blacklisting press and commentators? That’s what South Africa's media is wondering yet again after the SABC withdrew an invitation to commentator Eusebius McKaiser to appear on a talk show after a newspaper column of his this week was critical of ANC leaders. McKaiser said:  “A producer of AM Live's debate slot  called me to uninvite me because he was instructed from higher up that my criticism of senior ANC leaders remaining silent about Nkandlagate should not be discussed on Sakina Kamwendo's show".

7 June 2015: City Press reveals that two major unions at the SABC, BEMAWU and CWU, have declared disputes over annual wage negotiations after the corporation’s chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, told staff to accept his 8% increase offer, or they would be “load shed”.

19 June 2015: President Jacob Zuma appoints Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe as the chair and Leah Thabisile Khumalo as deputy chairperson of the SABC with immediate effect.

20 June 2015: The appointments are criticised by the Democratic Alliance and the IFP

21 June 2015: The Sunday Times reveals that the SABC’s financial situation is very troubling

As Motsoeneng rises, the SABC’s finances falter

  • 21 Jun 2015
  • Sunday Times

THE SABC’s financial fortunes have plummeted since its embattled chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, effectively took the helm at the broadcaster just over a year ago.

Last month, the Sunday Times revealed the SABC faced massive losses this year despite telling parliament it was financially stable.

Now, financial statements finalised on May 27 and submitted to the auditor general four days later reveal the broadcaster’s parlous financial state is even worse than previously thought.

The unaudited statements seen by the Sunday Times reveal that on Motsoeneng’s watch the SABC has a projected loss of almost R400million and a drop in cash and equivalents of R405-million.

They also show the SABC spent almost R420-million on freelancers, up from R334million last year, and R3.2billion on permanent staff, up from R2.3-billion last year.

The final audited statements will be made public only in September.

The unaudited statements reveal the broadcaster made a litany of accounting errors, forcing it to restate past performance. The most dramatic change is that the SABC actually made a profit of more than R1-billion in the year before Motsoeneng took over from Lulama Mokhobo in February 2014. Up to now the SABC’s financials reflected a profit of only R651million for the past year under Mokhobo’s tenure.

This suggests the SABC faces a plunge in financial fortunes of almost R1.4-billion since Motsoeneng took over, rather than just R1-billion as previously thought.

The SABC’s chief financial officer, James Aguma, who has controlled finances since March last year, said errors listed in the statements reflected his determination to correct past accounting mistakes. “The current regime is making sure it detects what was not done properly before,” he said. He insisted the SABC was “marching towards an unqualified audit”.

Motsoeneng declined to discuss any of the figures in the statements submitted to the auditor-general. “It’s still a working document,” he said. “We need to respect the rules and the law. We can only talk about it in September.” ’HAS A PLAN’: Chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng

He claims to have implemented measures to make the SABC more viable. “Our strategy is to grow revenues by growing audiences and improving technology,” he said.

24 June 2015: The SABC board is left without a quorum and unable to function

1 July 2015: The SABC announces that it has appointed Frans Matlala as CEO.

2 July 2015: Concerns are raised about the legality of Matlala’s appointment

29 July 2015: Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis reveals letters from axed SABC board member Hope Zinde which contradict statements made in parliament by the ANC.

Also revealed is correspondence between Zinde and ANC communications minister Faith Muthambi in which Muthambi says all possible support must be given to Hlaudi Motsoeneng simply because Jacob Zuma likes him

Shocking correspondence between the minister of communications,Faith Muthambi and an axed SABC board member shows how Faith Muthambi allegedly directly interfered in the purging of SABC board members who were against the appointment of the SABC's famously matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with ousted former SABC board member Hope Zinde writing that Faith Muthambi told her "But baba loves Hlaudi".

Faith Muthambi's reference "baba" is a reference to president Jacob Zuma.

Faith Muthambi told SABC board member Hope Zinde - who got axed because she voiced opposition to Hlaudi Motsoeneng: "but baba loves Hlaudi. He loves him so much. We must support him."

30 July 2015: Cope lays a charge of fraud against Ellen Tshabalala

11 August 2015: In a combination of its renowned political sycophancy and its renowned professional inepititude, the state broadcaster interrupts scheduled broadcasting without warning to show President Jacob Zuma.

17 August 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng tells a New Age breakfast that journalism lecturers “poison” the minds of students.

17 August 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng repeats his call for journalists to be licenced

18 August 2015: Parliament is told that the SABC has missed its deadline to review its editorial policy by six years.

It is cause for concern that Hlaudi Motsoeneng appears to be dictating SABC editorial policy. This is particularly so in the light of the SABC missing the deadline to review its editorial policy by six years.

The SABC was supposed to have reviewed its editorial policy – with input from the public – by 2009. In a recent reply to a parliamentary question, the Minister conceded that the deadline had been missed due to “leadership instability.”

In the reply, the Minister promised to “complete the Editorial Policy review by the end of the first quarter of 2015.” Well, it is now August and a new Editorial Policy is conspicuous by its absence.

23 August 2015: The Sunday Times makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng its Mampara of the Week.

Ready for the Big School

For a mampara who has never seen the inside of a lecture hall, the SABC’s chief operationg officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, has a lot to say about the training of young journalists. Without the slightest sense of irony, this mampara – speaking at a media debate on Monday – said: “Lecturers at a tertiary level is where they poison the mind-set of young people. When they lecture – they mislead them about their own country. So we need to check who are these lecturers.”

Actually, the last part is not such a bad idea and Hlaudi should be encouraged to enrol at a tertiary institution to assess the quality of the curriculum first hand. Then again, he would have to get his matric first. Until then, he’s better qualified talking about what mamparas do in a grade 11 classroom.

24 August 2015: Corruption Watch admitted as ‘friend of court’ in Motsoeneng appeal case

26 August 2015: Hannes du Buisson of BEMAWU reveals that SABC staff in Durban were told to vacate their offices to allow an investigation by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Staff fear that the opportunity was used to install bugging devices to spy on them.

28 August 2015: SANEF expresses outrage at the NIA invasion of the SABC offices in Durban to spy on staff.

28 August 2015: Without apology or explanation SABC3 repeats the same Minute to Win It episode from the previous Friday, 21 August. The episode was already a rebroadcast from the season which was shown before and was being repeated.

29 August 2015: The SABC admits that the NIA was called in to bug the SABC offices in Durban to spy on staff.

30 August 2015: Gavin Davis of the Democratic Alliance asks Intelligence Inspector General Faith Radebe to investigate allegations that the State Security Agency (SSA) is being used to spyson SABC journalists and support staff.

The allegations were made by Broadcast, Electronic Media, and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu) president Hannes Du Buisson.

2 September 2015: Interviewed by Waldimer Pelser on Kyknet, Hlaudi Motsoeneng calls for journalists to be regulated. He says that the media by reporting on crime, simply encourages by crime. When asked, in the light of that statement, whether the same holds true for reporting on coruption, he is unable to answer. At 8:03 in the interview he says: “The role of the media is to influence the mindset of people you and old.”

3 September 2015: Questioned in Parliament about Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s call for media regulation on Kyknet, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi distances herself from these remarks.

9 September 2015: City Press reveals that the SABC intends to suspend four assignment editors who were part of a group that are fighting their bosses for promotions and better benefits equal to their workload at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Crosby Amos, Ronel van Zyl, Faith Daniels and Clive Govender, who are based in the public broadcaster’s Johannesburg offices, were this week slapped with letters of intention to suspend them for allegedly disclosing information to the media in relation to their unfair labour practice dispute, which was reported on in the City Press over the weekend.

The letters are said to have been signed by the organisation’s head of news, Jimi Matthews.

14 September 2015: The SOS coalition slams Parliament for the SABC’s failure to appoint people where there are important strategic vacancies.

17 September 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reveals that the SABC paid out R42 million in golden handshakes in just six years. The purges alone are costing the SABC R7 million annually.

17 September 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng announces the new studio which will be used for the broadcast of the Rugy World Cup. This turns out to be a typically-corrupt tenderpreneur endeavour

21 September 2015: Parliament reveals – in response to Democratic Alliance questions  - that the tax payer is funding the court costs of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Ellen Tshabalala.

23 September 2015: The SABC’s Annual Report tabled in Parliament reveals that the salary of its Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, increased from R 2 872 000 to R 3 784 000 in this financial year.

This R 912 000 pay rise included a bonus of R 279 000.

23 September 2015: Business Day headlines its article on the tabling in parliament of the SABC’s financial report: SABC turns R358m profit into almost R400m loss as advertisers walk

23 September 2015: Bemawu reveals that staff have been threatened if they do not wear Bok tee shirts which were dished out as freebies

25 September 2015: ANC expresses concern about Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s salary increase

6 October 2015: William Bird of Media Monitoring Africa says the SABC-Multichoice deal is effectively a merger.

3 October 2015: “It has, indisputably, been hijacked by a tiny cabal of self-promoting individuals, abusing political access to materially advance themselves, at the expense of the SABC itself, and of the millions of people it should serve,”

Blade Nzimande speaking at the SACP’s Media Transformation Summit 3/10/2015

8 October 2015: The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng must face disciplinary charges and must be suspended from this post pending the outcome of that process. This confirms the previous ruling by the Public Protector .The court said that given his position at the public broadcaster, the disciplinary process risked being compromised if he remained in his position while it unfolded. The DA hails the ruling as does the media in general. Motsoeneng says he will appeal to the Constitutional Court

9 October 2015: SABC announces that will take the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) ruling on its COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng to the Constitutional Court.

12 October 2015: When viewed in its entirety, the 11-minute interview constitutes a staggering display of ineptitude. Gareth van Onselen’s Business Day article, ‘Inside the confused mind of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’ sums up the SABC dilemma

12 October 2015: ANC announces it wishes to meet with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on digital migration.

14 October 2015: Faith Muthambi is castigated by ANC for her blatant lies about digital migration:

Muthambi came under heavy fire from the ruling party over her “unmandated” comments on criticism by the ANC’s national general council (NGC) of her handling of the digital migration project and instability at the SABC.

The party has slammed Muthambi for effectively calling ANC communications subcommittee chairman Jackson Mthembu a liar.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Muthambi disputed Mthembu’s comments that the ANC was unhappy about the country missing the digital migration deadline, the encryption component of the process and instability at the public broadcaster, claiming these were never discussed at the NGC.

But the ANC has hit back hard at Muthambi in a stinging and rare public rebuttal of a cabinet minister.

It said her comments had inaccuracies, and that she was not mandated to communicate decisions and discussions of its mid-term assessment meeting.

“It is unfortunate that in her statement there are a number of inaccuracies relating to matters discussed by the communications commission and subsequently adopted by the NGC.

“We want to place on record that the issues of digital migration and the SABC were discussed extensively by the commission, which resulted in the decisions that were taken,” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement on Tuesday night.

15 October 2015: The Democratic Alliance files an answering affidavit to Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appeal to the Consitutional Court saying that his taxpayer-funded bid was without legal basis.

15 October 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he wants his disciplinary hearing broadcast live on televsion.

16 October 2015: News 24 publishes the disciplinary charges that Hlaudi Motsoeneng faces.

16 October 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng places himself on ‘voluntary leave’ a category which does not exist within HR policies at the SABC but fails to inform his employer of this.

18 October 2015: In an article in the Sunday Independent, Mcebisi Ndletyana, associate professor of political science at the University of Johannesburg, alleges that Hlaudi Motsoeneng offered a R2m bribe to Marie Swanepoel, a clerical assistant in the Bloemfontein office of the SABC to forge his matric certificate – an offer she refused.

The SABC saga is yet another test for the party. Not only has the ANC reiterated its disapproval of the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s chief operating officer, but the Supreme Court of Appeal concurs with the public protector that he must be suspended and face a disciplinary hearing.

Motsoeneng’s claim that he was encouraged by a senior employee, Marie Swanepoel, to falsify his qualifications, was shown to be false. In her affidavit, Swanepoel said she had insisted Motsoeneng write down his real qualifications and bring a certificate as proof.

She said he had phoned her, pleading with her to confirm, in her affidavit, his false version, but she had refused. On learning that she had a sexual harassment case against the SABC, Motsoeneng phoned her again, offering her R2 million in compensation, on condition she lied for him. She refused.

More than the ANC, Motsoeneng’s case is a test for President Jacob Zuma to show us he is leading his party on to a new path. He spent almost two hours telling us how much he detested corruption and that he would make sure things changed soon after the NGC.

The ANC’s subcommittee on communications, Mantashe, and the portfolio committee in Parliament have all expressed uneasiness about Motsoeneng’s appointment.

Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi, aided by a sycophantic SABC board, has been the sole advocate for Motsoeneng’s appointment.

Behind the scenes, Muthambi is supported by Zuma. No rookie minister and activist could defy the entire party if she didn’t have the support of the president himself. Her continued stay in cabinet is further proof of presidential backing.

Muthambi hasn’t particularly distinguished herself in her portfolio. She proved incapable of communicating on behalf of the government, leading to Jeff Radebe’s taking over that responsibility; and South Africa failed to meet the deadline for migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Zuma didn’t deem it proper to remove her in his latest cabinet reshuffle, suggesting he approved of her dismal performance and defiance of the party. Did you believe all you said at the NGC, Mr President?

25 October 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng spends R40 million on a new studio, which amounts to little more than a hi-tech presenter’s desk and video monitors.

30 October 2015: In an article by Glynnis Underhill in the Mail & Guardian, ‘Hlaudi did not get majority vote from SABC board’ the illegally removed SABC board member, Hope Zinde, reveals that the SABC company secretary has ignored repeated requets for the voice recording of the meeting in July 2014 in which Hlaudi Motsoeneng was given a permanent post: ‘It is sad that the mintes do not reflect the true version of how the meeting went, thus my request for the voice recording, which the company secretary to date has not issued to me, as per my numerous requests last year.’

13 November 2015: The Times reveals that a complaint by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has pulled the plug on a segment of  the hard-hitting rugby segment nicknamed Room Dividers that aired during Robert Marawa’s 083Sports@6 show on Metro FM.

The show ran each Tuesday during the Rugby World Cup that ended in the UK in October and featured three former players — Kaunda Ntunja‚ Lawrence Sephaka and Thando Manana.

The trio were scathing in their criticism of Mbalula and his stance on the lack of transformation in rugby during the November 3 edition of the show — which aired the day the Springboks came home from the World Cup.

Suspicions of political interference at the public broadcaster arose when host Marawa tweeted on Tuesday that "that decision is in the hands of other human beings" after being asked by an avid listener if Room Dividers would continue.

16 November 2015: The Democratic Alliance indicates it will request an ICASA investigation into the cancellation of the Room Dividers rugby programme after complaints by sports minister Fikile Mbalula.

18 November 2015: The SABC suspends CEO Frans Matlala barely five months after after he was appointed.

Business Day writes: Mr Matlala’s appointment in July came a year-and-a-half after former CEO Lulama Mokhobo quit just 14 months into her five-year contract. Speculation had been that Ms Mokhobo had a difficult working relationship with now suspended SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Both Mr Motsoeneng and former chairwoman Zandile Tshabalala are believed to have pushed for the appointment of Mr Matlala, who is a banking executive and a former SABC consultant.

"The board of the SABC, today suspended with immediate effect the group CEO Frans Matlala pending an investigation," the broadcaster said in a statement on Wednesday. It said the SABC’s group executive for news and current affairs, Jimi Matthews, had been appointed acting CEO.

19 November 2015: Suspended SABC chief executive Frans Matlala claims he was targeted in “retaliation” for co-operating with a Treasury investigation into the broadcaster.

19 November 2015: The SABC's suspended chief executive officer Frans Matlala has warned that he is ready to take the public broadcaster to court if his suspension is not lifted by Tuesday.

20 November 2015: Glynnis Underhill reveals in the Mail & Guardian that the lawyer appointed by Faith Muthambi the SABC board to preside at the disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Sandile July of Werksmans, has been dimissed by the board. This was because he had indicated that should the disciplinary go against Motsoeneng, he would call for his dismissal. He received his dismissal letter from the chairman of the board, Prof Obert Maghuve.

22 November 2015: A CEO timeline is published by the SOS coalition

23 November 2015: City Press reveals that the suspension of Frans Matlala is linked to corruption claims about the broadcaster’s procurement of a rugby World Cup studio for R42.3 million. A Timeline of SABC CEOs is provided

23 November 2015: City Press reveals that a wave of suspensions in the division that processes payments the SABC makes to its suppliers has followed last week’s suspension of group CEO Frans Matlala.

Eight senior SABC staff and insiders with close knowledge of developments in the procurement division told City Press the suspensions were in part linked to the broadcaster’s procurement of a much-heralded rugby World Cup studio for R42.3 million.

24 November 2015: Business Day speculates that that the decision to suspend SABC CE Frans Matlala was illegal as it flouted the broadcaster’s memorandum of incorporation.

SABC insiders told Business Day on Monday that the board, which has effected his suspension, did not have a quorum when it took its decision.

27 November 2015: The Western Cape High Court sets aside the COO appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

3 December 2015: Legal expert Pierre de Vos says that the disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng is fast descending into farce

5 December 2015: SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng is back at work, barely a month after taking a leave of absence to await the outcome of his disciplinary hearing.

The SABC cancels his disciplinary hearing

6 December 2015: The Sunday Times front page lead is that Faith Muthambi is seeking to introduce legislation which will give the ANC sole power to elect members of the SABC board.

Minister in shock move to ‘hijack’ SABC

Muthambi wants state to have total control of broadcaster

CONTROVERSIAL Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has launched an audacious bid to take command of the SABC in a move that would put the public broadcaster under direct state control.

With cabinet backing, Muthambi, who is known to be very close to President Jacob Zuma, has introduced legislation that would give her the sole power to appoint the SABC board.

The Broadcasting Amendment Bill, tabled on Friday, would wipe out the carefully crafted consensus reached after 1994 to turn the institution, once notorious as a mouthpiece of the apartheid government, into a public broadcaster.

In effect, Muthambi is pushing to turn the SABC into a state broadcaster, usurping the power of parliament to have a say over who sits on the board.

As matters stand, members of the National Assembly interview candidates for the board and recommend names to the president.

But the bill proposes that: “The role of the National Assembly with regard to the appointment of nonexecutive members of the board is replaced by the minister.”

It also allows for a “nomination committee” to be set up by Muthambi to recommend candidates.

“In appointing the members of the committee, the minister must ensure that the committee is broadly representative . . . and have the necessary skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience to serve on the committee,” says the bill.

If the bill is passed, it will reduce the number of nonexecutive board members from 12 to nine. It also proposes that the number of board members required to obtain a quorum be reduced from nine to seven.

Muthambi is already unpopular within the ANC, with some leaders becoming increasingly impatient with her behaviour and her apparent disregard for the party’s sub-committee on communication.

Party sources said this week that she would meet ANC opposition on the bill.

The Save Our SABC, or SOS, coalition has threatened to go as far as the Constitutional Court to challenge the proposed amendments, SOS co-ordinator Sekoetlane Phamodi said, adding that giving the minister full control over the SABC was contrary to what was envisaged in the current Broadcasting Act.

“The SABC will shift from a public broadcaster to a state broadcaster if this bill is passed . . . and it is quite possible it will be passed as is.

“The public broadcaster needs to be distinguished from the state and the government of the day. It needs to be independent of government and the executive. This was in the preliminary constitution and it was agreed to when the Broadcasting Act was passed,” said Phamodi.

Franz Kruger, who was part of the first post-apartheid management team of the SABC, said the amendment bill was a real problem.

“We have fought long and hard so that we are where we have public broadcasting. This takes us back to a situation where the SABC would be a state broadcaster,” he said.  Earlier this year, Muthambi amended the SABC’s memorandum of incorporation to give herself the power to appoint its chief executive, chief operations and financial officers. She also increased her powers to approve all the board’s business and strategic plans.

Since her appointment, Muthambi has stumbled from crisis to crisis — most notably those arising from the questionable appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer.

The High Court in Cape Town declared the appointment “unlawful and irrational”. Her appointment of Motsoeneng angered Luthuli House, too, and was publicly slammed by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

But she has continued to take unpopular decisions — leading observers to conclude that she has Zuma’s protection.

The SABC board has been dysfunctional since the departure of six board members.

Professor Bongani Khumalo, Thembinkosi Bonakele and Ellen Tshabalala resigned from the board, with the latter doing so under a cloud after her claimed qualifications were brought into question.

Muthambi removed Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi — a decision widely regarded as irregular.

The Sunday Times reported last week that some of the remaining board members were furious about Muthambi’s constant interference in the broadcaster’s operational matters.

She is also accused of appointing television head of news Jimi Matthews as acting CEO without consulting the board.

Muthambi’s bill is likely to face resistance from parliamentarians, with the DA vowing to oppose it.

The party’s communications spokeswoman, Phumzile van Damme, said the amendments would pave the way for the SABC to become an ANC propaganda tool, directed by Muthambi.

“The amendments would see the last vestige of independence removed from the SABC. The DA will use all available mechanisms to prevent the bill from passing. We encourage civil society and the public to express their opposition to this bill,” said Van Damme.

Communications Portfolio Committee chairwoman Joyce Moloi-Moropa said she could only comment after she had discussed the proposed amendments with other members of the committee when parliament resumes next year.

A member of the ANC’s subcommittee on communications told the Sunday Times that Muthambi had defied the party once again in pushing through the new amendment.

“We don’t all agree on this . . . there is going to be a fight,” said the source.

The bill has already been approved by the cabinet, with Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announcing the submission of the bill to parliament in what he said was an effort to “implement a stable corporate governance model that ensures long-term stability and sustainability of the SABC”.

9 December 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing turns into a farce as the media is excluded.

9 December 2015: Kate Skinner of SOS and Prof Tawana Kupe says the recently-tabled 2015 Broadcasting Amendment Bill takes the SABC back to apartheid days.

12 December 2015: An SABC disciplinary hearing clears Hlaudi Motsoeneng of all charges. There is applause when the result of the rigged hearing is announced.

Motsoeneng then responds:

"I am still the COO of the SABC and I know that people want to ‘outset’ (sic) me and I know their motives.

"Some are business, some are political, some are to influence which people should be appointed within the organisation. I have been rejecting that because I am an independent person. I can't be influenced by an outsider.

"No one but God can stop me.  I'm an intellectual strategist. No one can take that away from me except God. No one can stop me to go up and up because I have brain in me. I am a visionary. I am a born leader."

20 December 2015: In a Sunday Independent article Don Makatile says the disciplinary hearing for SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng was a comedy of errors that culminated in a farce.


10 January 2016: Rehad Desai, maker of the Marikana Massacre documentary, Miners Shot Down, says trust has been lost at the SABC.

21 February 2016: Finance Minister Prvin Gordhan subs the Guptas and the SABC on the issue of breakfast coverage of his budget speech.

25 February 2016: Senior African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) Joyce Moloi-Moropa has resigned her seat in Parliament.

Moloi-Moropa is the chairperson of the communications portfolio committee and is also the National Treasurer of the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Her decision comes after reports that she found herself caught in crossfire between ANC MPs loyal to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and party policy.

28 February 2016: Prior to the 2016 municipal elections the SABC bans all politically-related comment on its call-in radio programmes.

10 March 2016: Democratic Alliance launches its review to set aside the disciplinary inquiry of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

10 March 2016: The SABC defends its ban on all politically-related comment on its call-in radio programmes and threatens employees who break the ban

10 March 2016: Satistics supplied by specialist television reporter Thinus Ferreira shows that eNCA has  more than double the television news audience share of the SABC witout receiving money from government.

20 March 2016: City Press reveals that the SABC censored Vuyo Mvoko’s show ‘ Off the record’ and it has now been taken off the air.

SABC news show canned after host refuses to be censored by bosses sensitive to portraying Zuma and Guptas in a bad light

A plan to discuss alleged state capture by the Gupta family on a live television show has become SABC TV anchor Vuyo Mvoko’s greatest mistake: it has cost him a show that was starting to gain popularity.

On the Record was launched in mid-January but it was silently canned on Thursday following disagreements between him and his SABC bosses about the content for that evening.

Mvoko had been in trouble with his bosses barely two days earlier, on Tuesday.

He was accused of being “harsh” in his interview on the show the previous night with North West ANC chairperson and premier Supra Mahumapelo.

It appears the Tuesday fracas led to the newsman’s show being scrutinised by his bosses.

Sources within the SABC, who asked not to be named for fear of being victimised, said Mvoko had spent most of Thursday trying to convince his superiors that it was essential to discuss state capture.

3 March 2016: Gareth van Onselen sets out in Business Day the background to the way in which the ANC turned a public broadcaster into a state broadcaster

The ANC’s Umrabulo June/August 1998 edition contains the document, The State, Property Relations and Social Transformation: A Discussion Paper towards the Alliance Summit. It states, among other things: "Transformation of the state entails, first and foremost, extending the power of the National Liberation Movement over all levers of power: the army, the police, the bureaucracy, intelligence structures, the judiciary, parastatals, and agencies such as regulatory bodies, the public broadcaster, the central bank and so on."

It was a remarkably successful business for well on ten years, until, inevitably, the conscious decision to reward party loyalty ahead of merit and public service began to manifest overtly in corruption, mismanagement and decay. At the height of his powers, President Thabo Mbeki had pretty much every inch of the country sewn up.

And the SABC makes a good illustration of the point. In 2007, Dr Snuki Zikalala served as the SABC’s director of news. At board level, CEO Dali Mpofu had served the ANC as deputy head of its Social Welfare Department; board chairman Eddie Funde has a list of ANC credentials that ran from managing the placement, education and training of the hundreds of young ANC exiles during the 1970s to serving on the ANC’s NEC in 2002. Another board member, Solly Mokoetle, ran Radio Freedom for the ANC in exile, while Christine Qunta would often take to publicly flaunting her loyalty to Mbeki, not least by taking out full-page newspaper adverts on his birthday.

But the ANC’s conflation of party and state does not stop there. When SABC board member Cecil Msomi was not serving the public broadcaster he was working as the director of communication for the KwaZulu-Natal premier. In other words, he was employed by the ANC government to promote the political message and programme of action of its premier in that province.

3 March 2016: City Press reveals that the Public Protector is still seeking answers from Hlaudi Motsoeneng

18 March 2016: Mail & Guardian reveals that the Public Protector is ‘taken aback’ by the SABC’s claim that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has complied with her findings.

20 March 2016: Vuyo Mvoko’s television show On the Record is canned after he refused to be censored by bosses sensitive to portraying Zuma and Guptas in a bad light.

4 May 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng decrees that the SABC will no longer spend money on newspaper advertising

8 May 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi gives Hlaudi Motsoeneng unlimited censorship powers .

18 May 2016: The Democratic Alliance reveals that the SABC has tripled its contributions to the Gupta New Age newspaper since 2011

23 May 2016: Cape High Court dismisses Hlaudi Motsoeneng and SABC’s application for leave to appeal the decision setting aside Mr Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment as SABC Chief Operating Officer (COO). The Court originally found that the appointment was irrational and unlawful and thus set it aside ab initio.

26 May 2016: Democratic Alliance reveals that the SABC continues to spend millions of rands on its choir

27 May 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng bans the coverage of any destruction that occurs during servce delivery and other protests.

29 May 2016: There is widespread criticism of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s latest attempt to control news coverage.

30 May 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi praises Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s latest censorship step

30 May 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says media that do not practise sunshine journalism will be “forced” to transform.

30 May 2016: Gareth van Onselen sums up Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s subversion of the SABC’s news coverage.

31 May 2016: Cosatu condemns Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s latest censorship plans

31 May 2016: Supreme Court of Appeal slams the DTT policies of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi as “confused” and “irrational.”

1 June 2016: Hlaudi’s five bizarre demands

2 June 2016: The DA reveals that the SABC refused to broadcast its election ad and posts it online

3 June 2016: Six minute praise song for Hlaudi Motsoeneng released

6 June 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he does not believe in research

8 June 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng hastily cuts short a scheduled radio interview after he is attacked by callers

8 June 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng suggests a uniform for SABC employees

9 June 2016: The SABC bans on air discussions about or depictions of newspaper headlines

15 June 2016: Julian Brown in a Business Day article headlined “Hlaudi’s take on June 16” compares the coverage of the Soweto by uprising by the Transvaler with the recent coverage by the SABC on the clash between residents of an informal settlement near Hammanskraal and the "Red Ants".

20 June 2016: The Daily Vox publishes a transcript of a radio call-in programme where Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Kaizer Kganyago answered questions about the decision to ban protest visuals

20 June 2016: Marelise van der Merwe of Daily Maverick publishes a selection of topical quotes about the state broadcaster

21 June 2016: ICASA orders the SABC to respond to complaints about its decision not to broadcast footage of violent protests.

22 June 2016: Hlaudi hi-jacks a press conference

24 June 2016: The SABC suspends three news staff members who complained about the non-coverage of the R2k pickets outside the SABC buildings in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. This is condemned by Sanef.

24 June 2016: Jimi Matthews sends an affidavit to ICASA in response to an R2K complaint about censorship by omission

24 June 2016: Eight quotes from Hlaudi Motsoeneng

25 June 2016: At an ICASA public hearing, the SABC was unable to provide any empiral evidence to back up its claim that the presence of its TV news cameras incited violence.

27 June 2016: Jimi Matthews quits with a resignation letter in which he says what is happening at the SABC is wrong

27 June 2016: Three journalists write a letter of complaint to Hlaudi Motsoeneng about censorship

28 June 2016: SABC replaces Jimi Matthews with James Aguma

28 June 2016: Forum of Journalists for Transformation (FJT) says Matthews should have left long ago

28 June 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he does not know what censorship is

29 June 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi lashes out at Jimi Matthews

29 June 2016: Media Online published 11 classic Hlaudi quotes

30 June 2016: Numsa rallies behind fired SABC journalists

30 June 2016: Hannes du Buisson, spokesperson for the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu), said the union is opposing the charges against the three journalists who wrote a letter of complaint to Hlaudi Motsoeneng because it is “unprecedented”, and does not comply with the SABC’s disciplinary code.

30 June 2016: The Helen Susman Foundation threatens legal action against the SABC because of censorship and suspension of journalists.

1 July 2016: Journalists throughout the country picket outside SABC buildings to protest against Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s censorship

1 July 2016: The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) write a joint letter to SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng demanding the withdrawal of charges against three senior SABC journalists

3 July 2016: Former SABC chief executive officer Jimi Matthews admits that the public broadcaster deliberately banned the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its leader Julius Malema.

4 July 2016: Faith Daniels writes about SABC newsrooms

4 July 2016: Lukhanyo Calata, SABC parliamentary reporter charged

4 July 2016: Zwelinzima Vavi announces that he will take the SABC to concourt

4 July 2016: Seven former SABC executives have written to President Jacob Zuma, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and SABC chair Mbulaheni Maguvhe, criticising events at the public broadcaster.

The seven include former editors-in-chief for TV news Joe Thloloe and Allister Sparks, former news chief executive Barney Mthombothi, and former deputy CEO Govin Reddy.

5 July 2016: Mwasa says Hlaudi Motsoeneng is running the SABC like a spaza shop

5 July 2016: ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe claims the ANC has also been a victim of censorship at the SABC.

5 July 2016: “Too many Jimis in South African politics” says Max du Preez

5 July 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi summoned to Luthuli House to explain SABC crisis

5 July 2016: ANC distances itself from SABC censorship

5 July 2016: ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu says the ANC has never attempted to influence the ANC: Successive administrations have been accused of political interference of some kind at the SABC – and this is nearly always said to be in the name of the ANC.

To date, no evidence has been produced to substantiate such claims. The latest controversy surrounding editorial practices at the SABC, unfortunately being made by an individual who has fallen out of favor with his employer, have also regretfully once again drawn the ANC into the fray.

The ANC categorically rejects any allegation to have connived with members of the SABC staff or management to undermine any political party and change any editorial decisions.

6 July 2016: ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu slates SABC censorship policies saying they are unconstitutional and illegal. He says the SABC has collapsed. He demands a meeting with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC board. He says the ANC no longer has faith in the SABC.

6 July 2016: Vuyo Mvoko says his life was hell under Jimi Matthews

6 July 2016: Financial Mail deputy editor Sikonathi Mantshantsha writes about the impact of Hlaudi Motsoeneng on the SABC

6 July 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng tells Jacaranda FM that he does not believe in scientific research

7 July 2016: Crystal Orderson speaks of staff abuse at the SABC

7 July 2016: Sara Gon of the Institute of Race Relations says the inquorate board of the SABC nullifies their decisions

7 July 2016: Joe Thloloe and six former board members and executives write to President Jacob Zuma, communications minister Faith Muthambi, and SABC chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe, expressing concerns about Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

8 July 2016: A group of prominent foundations representing "illustrious South Africans" including Oliver and Adelaide Tambo, Desmond and Leah Tutu, Chief Albert Luthuli and Thabo Mbeki among others, have called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the SABC.

8 July 2016: Vuyo Mvoko served with a letter by the public broadcaster's human resources department to provide reasons why his contract should not be terminated.

9 July 2016: Thinus Ferreira reveals that two weeks after the dramatic resignation of Jimi Matthews, SABC TV news is still running his name at end of the news credits

10 July 2016: Sanef awards the Nat Nakasa award to eight dissenting SABC journalists

10 July 2016: Letter from former SABC board members and senior executives to ANC about SABC censorship published by City Press

10 July 2016: The Sunday Times reveals that without a bank bailout of more than a billion rand the SABC may soon not be able to pay salaries. The Democratic Alliance calls on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and the National Treasury not to extend a R1.5 billion guarantee to the SABC‚ but instead to place the public broadcaster under administration.

10 July 2016: The Sunday Times reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has given Zuma‘s daughter a R167 million contract

10 July 2016: Public Protector reveals that she is investigating a failure of governance at the SABC

11 July 2016: Uzalo cost double what it cost to produce Generations. That’s the claim made on the IOL website.

'Uzalo' initially faced the chopping block because, according to a six-person panel reviewing the show, the writing was poor and no concrete business model was in evidence.

11 July 2016: The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa rules that the SABC has to rescind its ban on showing protest footage and communicate that it has done so within the next seven days.

11 July 2016: Carmel Rickard sets out the details of the judgment.

11 July 2016: eNCA livestreams the SABC press conference

11 July 2016: The SABC says it will consult its lawyers but intendeds taking the ICASA ruling to the highest court possible

11 July 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng says nobody will tell the SABC what to do

12 July 2016: Gwede Mantashe says the SABC defies Chapter 9 institutions at its peril

13 July 2016: News 24 reveals that Luthuli House has banned ANC structures from speaking about SABC

13 July 2016: The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) has called on Parliament to intervene in the censorship crisis currently engulfing the SABC.

13 July 2016: Democratic Alliance calls on ANC to call an emergency sitting of the Communication Portfolio Committee to discuss the SABC crisis

14 July 2016: Marianne Merten posts a timeline on Daily Maverick of the ANC’s protection in parliament of Hlaudi Motsoeneng

15 July 2016: The SABC misses the deadline to respond to an urgent interdict filed by the Helen Suzman Foundation. The urgent interdict proceedings are set to be heard on July 19 in the Gauteng Division of the High Court, Pretoria.

15 July 2016: Financial Mail editor, Rob Rose, says that that under Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, the SABC has ‘gone rogue’.

15 July 2016: Jimi Matthews told his troubled staff that they have two choices – the door or the window – if they don’t toe the Hlaudi line

16 July 2016: The suspended SABC journalists file their court papers at the Constitutional Court

17 July 2016: City Press reveals thaat the SABC has lost R60m through the dubious dealings of Hlaudi Motsoeneng

17 July 2016: IOL on the performance of board chairman. Dr Ben Ngubane

17 July 2016: IOL gives a list of all the labour court cases which the SABC has lost as cited by the Public Protector in her report When Governance and Ethics fail. This has cost the SABC more than R60 million:

The following are examples that Madonsela cited in her report:

  1. Motsoeneng directly initiated the termination of Bernard Koma’s employment. Koma was the lead witness at his disciplinary hearing. He received a 12-month settlement award at the CCMA.
  2. Montlenyane Diphoko’s termination of service was directly initiated by Motsoeneng after he also testified against him at his disciplinary hearing. Diphoko was reinstated after a CCMA ruling, almost three years later.
  3. Motsoeneng directly initiated the termination of the employment of Hosia Jiyane, who also had testified against him in his disciplinary hearing. Disciplinary proceedings against him dragged on for two years before he won the case.
  4. Dr Saul Pelle won his case at the Labour Court for reinstatement but SABC refused to reinstate him and offered him a 12-month settlement payout.
  5. Ntsiepe Masoetsa was reinstated after her labour dispute case against the SABC had dragged on for three years.
  6. Cecilia Phillips was suspended for four months without charges being brought.
  7. Motsoeneng directly initiated Sello Thulo’s termination of employment after he had testified against him at his disciplinary hearing. According to Madonsela, Motsoeneng instructed the disciplinary committee to “get that man out of the system”.
  8. A substantial settlement award was offered to Thabiso Lesala through his attorney at the CCMA and he was asked to withdraw his case.
  9. Charlotte Mampane’s employment contract was terminated prematurely in March 2012 instead of October 2013 for being redundant. A settlement award was given to her.
  10. Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande’s employment contract was terminated prematurely, and she was awarded a settlement.
  11. Gugu Duda has been indefinitely suspended since September 2012 without expeditious finalisation of the disciplinary proceedings against her.
  12. Sundi Sishuba was suspended for two-and-a-half years without charges.
  13. Loraine Francois was suspended for months but won her case at the CCMA and was reinstated.
  14. Nompilo Dlamini won her case in the Labour Court before the SABC appealed the ruling at the high court.

It lost.

Records, according to Madonsela, showed the majority of these cases were handled without following proper procedure as all 14 suspensions and terminations were challenged successfully.

18 July 2016: ICASA acknowledges that the SABC has asked for a court review of its order that the SABC cease its censorship

18 July 2016: News 24 reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng told staff at a June workshop that they could question anyone in their elections coverage, except President Jacob Zuma, according to court papers. Eight journalists, dubbed the "SABC 8", filed an urgent application on Friday seeking direct access to the Constitutional Court, which News24 has seen.

19 July 2016: SABC dismisses four journalists with immediate effect and without disciplinary hearings, according to the trade union Solidarity.

19 July 2016: Max du Preez announces that he will never again participate in any SABC programme

19 July 2016: The SABC dismisses Lukhanyo Calata and two other journalists

19 July 2016: SABC news anchor Ivor Price resigns saying “Motsoeneng’s venomous tentacles have the entire public broadcaster in their grip‚"

19 July 2016: Crowd funding raises R84 000 for fired SABC journalists

20 July 2016: Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka says it has been informed that the SABC would abide by its ruling to halt its censorship policy. The SABC’s lawyer, Titus Mchunu, said the SABC had had an opportunity to study the Icasa order, and would now abide by it.

20 July 2016: Just a day after announcing his resignation from the SABC, former news anchor Ivor Price was appointed by Media24

20 July 2016: The Parliamentary Press Gallery Association which represents journalists at Parliament has called for the reinstatement of Lukhanyo Calata, a parliamentary worker, and SABC staff member.

20 July 2016: Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications expresses deep concern at developments at the SABC and urges the public broadcaster to respect an interim court order issued earlier by the Pretoria High Court against its ban on footage of violent protests.

20 July 2016: The South African Communist Party (SACP), a key ally of the ruling ANC, on Wednesday picketed outside the offices of the SABC in Cape Town, and handed over a memorandum of demands which included a call for the dismissal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

21 July 2016: Vuyo Mvoko serves court papers on the SABC to order the broadcaster to put him back on air after he spoke out against censorship, Mvoko argues that the public broadcaster has violated the independent contract agreement he has with them. He also details instances of censorship and intimidation at the broadcaster, which he alleges he has directly experienced.

21 July 2016: The Citizen reports that a video is being posted on social media in which Hlaudi Motsoeneng boasts about about the the fact that while he is not “academical” he is nevertheless an intellectual  “lecher”.

21 July 2016: Duncan McLeod gives a brief history of South Africa's disastrous broadcasting digital migration project and the Communications Ministers involved

22 July 2016: Steven Budlender, counsel for the seven dismissed SABC employees, asks that Hlaudi Motsoeneng may be held personally responsible for thousands of rands of legal costs that have been incurred as a result of the SABC’s decision to fire employees who objected to its policy not to air footage of violent protests.

26 July 2016: Judge Robert La Grange rules in the labour court in Johannesburg that the SABC4 must be reinstated.

27 July 2016: Adriaan Basson says the SABC is effectively bankrupt.

31 July 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng fires the SABC’s head of television, Verona Duwarkah, allegedly because she refused to rubber-stamp the multimillion-rand new TV shows being awarded to hand-picked celebrity producers and artists.

The experienced content and financial management executive has been replaced by Sully Motsweni – the SABC staffer mentioned along with Motsoeneng in the Public Protector’s 2014 report, titled When Governance and Ethics Fail.

5 August 2016: The SABC offers free funeral cover to SABC licence holders

14 August 2016: The Sunday Times alleges that that acting SABC CEO James Aguma awarded a Gupta-linked businessman, Kuben Moodly a “suspect” R380 million debt collecting contract without going out to tender.

15 August 2016: The Department of Communications confirms that the SABC will from now on need to submit formal requests for all international trips to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi

16 August 2016: The parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Communications agrees with the DA that a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into the institutional rot at the SABC was necessary and urgent.

22 August 2016: The DA says Hlaudi Motsoeneng deserves to be fired rarther than given a bonus

22 August 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says she will leave everything to the SABC board.

23 August 2016: Appearing before the parliamentary portfolio committee on communication, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi gives the SABC her full support, James Aguma says there are no financial problems at the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng lashes out at all and sundry.

24 August 2016: The SABC denies that it gave an R18 million golden handshake to former SABC CEO Frans Matlala but refuses to say how much he got.

6 September 2016: According to a news release, the SABC is organising a concert to thank itself. The DA objects.

6 September 2016: Sylvia Vollenhoven loses her court attempt to broadcast her documentary Project Spear: Stolen Billions, Spies and Lies which the SABC commissioned but refused to screen when it was realised that it did not reflectwell on the ANC.

7 September 2016: The SABC denies that it is funding a ‘thank you SABC’ concert.

9 September 2016: Judge lashes the SABC on its ban of the DA election advertisment

18 September 2016: The Sunday Times reveals that SABC staffers are living in fear of their lives amid a wave of threats, intimidation and harassment.

19 September 2016: The Supreme Court of Appeal dismisses Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s application for leave to appeal a ruling by the High Court in Cape Town, which effectively set aside his permanent appointment. This is welcomed by the DA, Cope and the SACP.

20 September 2016: SABC’s ‘thank you’ concert turns out to be a disastrous flop

22 September 2016: Stephan Hofstatter reveals in The Times that the SABC board is considering a highly controversial proposal that could lead to Hlaudi Motsoeneng making a comeback as the corporation's chief operating officer.

22 September 2016: SABC Non-Executive board member, Krish Naidoo, says he stands by his decision not to endorse any move to re-appoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the public broadcaster's acting Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Naidoo has broken rank by publicly declaring that he will not back any move to have Motsoeneng as the public broadcaster's senior executive. There is still no clarity as to whether the majority of board members support the proposal.

Naidoo, who is a legal practitioner, says supporting Motsoeneng's re-instatement will be unethical and illegal.

“Any reason for not supporting the resolution proposal by the board to appoint Motsoeneng as acting COO is that it will be irrational and will undermine the spirit of the law and boarding on illegality. I cannot be party to a decision that is unlawful, because I’ll be complicit in committing a crime. I've chosen not to support the resolution and have made that public.”

22 September 2016: The Democratic Alliance (DA) has given the board of the SABC until Monday to respond fully on the status of beleaguered chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng whose appointment has been set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

This came after reports that the board was considering hiring Motsoeneng as COO again. A draft resolution asking Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to reappoint Motsoeneng in an acting capacity would be tabled at a next board meeting in October for ratification, according to The Times newspaper on Thursday.

23 September 2016: News 24 runs an extensive article on Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

23 September 2016: The Presidency notes and respects the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) ruling on former SABC chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

23 September 2016: In an open letter to its members BEMAWU asks if the SABC board can be trusted.

24 September 2016: Public Protector says she has written to Faith Muthambi about Hlaudi Motsoeneng

25 September 2016: City Press reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng got a secret R11.4 million bonus.

25 September 2016: The ANC says the SABC must act in line with a commitment President Jacob Zuma made to the judiciary that government departments and state institutions will not ignore court rulings.

25 September 2016: The ANCYL says Hlaudi Motsoeneng must keep his job.

25 September 2016: The SABC acknowledges that it does not know what Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s job title is.

25 September 2016: Criticism is starting to surface about the SABC’s coverage of the Paralympics.

25 September 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng hijacks Mandoza funeral with an inappropriate 13-minute rant.

26 September 2016: R2K calls on advertisers to boycott SABC

28 September 2016: The Public Protector says she will investigate Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s most recent appointment.

28 September 2016: Pierre de Vos says appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng is irrational and invalid

29 September 2016: SABC posts R411 million loss

30 September 2016: Auditor-general reveals R5 billion in irregular and wasteful expenditure at the SABC

3 October 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng writes an open letter to the ANC

3 October 2016: Five months after saying it will no longer advertise in newspapers, the SABC advertises the CEO post

4 October 2016: James Selfe of the DA reveals that the SABC’’s legal costs, according to the recently released SABC Annual Report, went up from R171 million to R257 million and legal claims provision also doubled from R47 million to R86 million in the 2015/16 financial year.

This can only be attributable to the costly litigation that the SABC underwent in defending disgraced former COO, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who has lost every one of his legal battles, with costs.

It is outrageous that the SABC is willing to spend up to a total of R343 million on the frivolous legal cases to defend Mr Motsoeneng, when the broadcaster has just revealed that it suffered a net losses of R411 million in the same financial year.

5 October 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng arrives unannounced and univited in parliament even though he is no longer a member of the SABC board

5 October 2016: SABC board sets out its reasons for retaining Hlaudi Motsoeneng

5 October 2016: Two SABC board members resign in parliament calling the board “amateurish and dysfunctional”.

5 October 2016: All members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications call on the remaining SABC board members to resign.

5 October 2016: Cosatu attacks the SABC board.

5 October 2016: Timeline of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s career

5 October 2016: The Democratic Alliance welcomes parliament’s decision to investigate the SABC

6 October 2016: Krish Naidoo sets out legal constraints re Hlaudi Motsoeneng retaining his job.

6 October 2016: Vusi Mavuso, who resigned from the SABC board with Krish Naidoo laments the ‘institutional genocide’ at the SABC.

6 October 2016: The ANC calls on Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to fire or suspend the remaining SABC board members.

Spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the board continued to act illegally and seemed prepared to take the SABC down with them.

He said there was no board because its members could not form a quorum.

6 October 2016: The SABC board convenes a press conference in which it defends its performance in parliament and says it will not resign. Hlaudi Motsoeneng attacks reporters and says he will not go back to school.

6 October 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reveals the Kaizer Kganyago is a liar.

Kganyago said repeatedly “we are not giving any money towards this concert. We are merely acting as media sponsors where promoters are given airtime on our various platforms”.

After Kganyago said that the SABC is not paying for the #ThankYouSABC Concert, the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, told parliament on Wednesday that the SABC did in fact pay R2 695 750 for the controversial concert to Phumelela Group.

6 October 2016: Cape High Court dismisses the SABC’s application to delay a court hearing challenging the disciplinary hearing that cleared its former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

9 October 2016: Jackson Mthembu, in an interviewn with Chris Barron of the Sunday Times indicates that the ANC wants Hlaudi Motsoeneng gone by the end of November.

  • 9 Oct 2016
  • Sunday Times

So Many Questions

The parliamentary communications committee has called for the SABC board to be dissolved.

Chris Barron asked ANC chief whip and chairman of the party’s communications committee, Jackson Mthembu.

Does this mean the board and Motsoeneng no longer enjoy the ANC’s protection?

We have lost respect for the board and confidence in that board.

So you support the call for its dissolution?

More than support it: if it were possible I would love to see this board gone.


Because you can’t show a middle finger to our judiciary. Our judiciary says this person [Motsoeneng] was employed as COO in a manner that is irrational. Therefore, any logical person would have removed that person from the payroll of the SABC.

Is the board in contempt of court?

Definitely. Contempt of court, contempt of the executive and contempt of parliament.

Is it fit and proper?

Definitely not.

Wasn’t it picked by the ANC?

It was also agreed to by parliament.

Where the ANC has a majority?


So did the ANC pick the most qualified candidates?

We appointed, in our view at the time, the most qualified candidates.

On merit?

They were all selected on merit.

Why did a board member say it’s dysfunctional and mediocre?

Because it got divided into proHlaudi people and non-Hlaudi people. The non-Hlaudi people were removed. Those were people who had qualifications. They wanted to see proper governance implemented.

Has the committee performed its oversight role?

This is one of the things we will have to look at as the ANC. What did the committee in parliament do in respect of a board that used powers they do not have to fire other board members? We will want answers.

Why didn’t you ask this long ago?

What brought the red light was first of all the issue of editorial policy. Secondly, the firing of workers based on that illegal editorial policy. The last straw was when the court decided that this person was irrationally appointed and the SABC decided to appoint him at another level. That is when we took interest in the working of the SABC.

Why didn’t you wake up sooner?

We asked very pertinent questions of the committee before. We still don’t have good answers. We are interested in why the committee left many matters unattended which have probably brought us to where we are.

Because they were carrying out ANC instructions?

I don’t think so.

Why else would ANC members of the committee block the appointment of a parliamentary inquiry into the SABC?

All we are saying is the ANC acknowledges the committee could have dealt with the SABC better.

A month ago ANC members wouldn’t allow an inquiry into the board. What has changed?

What has changed is showing a middle finger to the rule of law. And what has changed is that it was quite clear to the committee this week that we have no board. Therefore, our law says we need to hold an inquiry.

Why has the ANC changed its attitude?

I just told you that when that board of the SABC showed the middle finger.

They’ve been doing that since 2013 when the public protector found his appointment was irrational.


This matter has been before the courts. It was only finally put to rest when it went before the Supreme Court of Appeal two weeks ago.

In 2012 at Mangaung the ANC acknowledged a collapse of corporate governance and resolved to deal with it ’expeditiously’?

In 2013 we had a new board. We were very eager and confident that this new board would assist us to overcome these difficulties.

Didn’t you set yourself up for disappointment by appointing people for political reasons?

I can assure you that the people that were appointed by parliament were people of expertise. For you to be a lackey of Hlaudi doesn’t mean you’re not an expert in your work. As to what Hlaudi has on these board members, only God knows.

Will the same selection criteria be applied to the new board?

We think the problems at the SABC are systemic and we need to take a step back and think what should be the governance model.

Is the ANC scared of the public backlash? Is this why its attitude has changed?

So you’re not concerned about public outrage?

The ANC is not immune from that public outrage. Our members are quite astounded by what is happening at the SABC.

When will Motsoeneng be gone?

The first week after the interim board is there.

How long will that take?

It is likely on October 25 we will have a report . . . regarding the dissolution of the board which parliament will approve. After that it’s for the president to dissolve it.

When do you want an interim board in place?

By the end of November.

9 October 2016: Former communications portfolio chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa this week said the best option to resolve the SABC chaos was for President Jacob Zuma to intervene.

9 October 2016: Former SABC board member Krish Naidoo says he warned the ANC about Hlaudi

9 October 2016: The SABC has parted ways with Mchunu Attorneys, the law firm that cleared former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing despite the findings of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2014 report, called When Governance and Ethics Fail.

10 October 2016: The ANC decrees that the remaining SABC board members will not be able to attend a meeting with the Coomunications Portfolio Committee on 19 October

12 October 2016: The DA files its founding affidavit in the Western Cape High Court to have the appointment of the former SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, as Group Executive of Corporate Affairs declared invalid.

13 October 2016: Viewership plummets on the SABC3 channel after Hlaudi Motsoeneng banned the bulk of international content from the channel,

16 October 2016: President Jacob Zuma says he had received and accepted the resignation of two members of the SABC board.

At the start of the month, board members Krish Naidoo and Vusi Mavuso announced their resignations at a meeting with Parliament’s communications committee, effectively rendering the now four-member board defunct.

They had spoken out on the board's conduct and poor processes.

17 October 2016: The Constitutional Court must order Parliament to probe its own decisions around recent events at the public broadcaster, the SABC 8 have said in court papers.

In papers filed on Friday, the eight journalists, who were fired and then rehired by the SABC in September following a lengthy Labour Court battle, want the National Assembly to institute an inquiry into the various issues plaguing the broadcaster, including their firings.

The court papers say the portfolio committee on communications neglected its constitutional duty when it failed to hear the pleas of the journalists to attend a sitting and explain their cases in August.

20 October 2016: The DA says that Hlaudi Motsoeneng, in an effort to curry favour with staff, has offered them a R10 000 “sweetener deal” that will cost the SABC R32 million if implemented.

27 October 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng threatens Jackson Mthembu, who says Motsoeneng’s statements are defamatory and the ANC in parliament condemns Motsoeneng for the threats.

28 October 2016: BEMAWU fears a purge of SABC staff members opposed to Hlaudi Motsoeneng looting.

31 October 2016: SABC announces that it wants to end its prime time news broadcasts

1 November 2016: The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) says the SABC has not provided it with any proof that it has complied with its ruling to unban the airing of violent protest.

2 November 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has set the cat among the pigeons in Parliament by defending the SABC’s R411 million loss and insisting the current three-member board can take binding decisions despite not having a quorum.

MPs in the National Council of Provinces were struggling to understand Muthambi’s answers that three members of a dysfunctional board have the powers to take decisions.

2 November 2016: Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela says in the state capture report that allegations that the SABC entered into contracts with the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper will be probed in the next phase of the investigation.

9 November 2016: Members of the Indian community attack Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s music policy.

13 November 2016: The Sunday Times reveals that the SABC 8 have received death threats, have been shot at, have had their cars tameperd with and their homes broken into.

15 November 2016: Two more SABC board members resign leaving only the chairperson, Mbulaheni Maguvhe

17 November 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi concedes that when Hlaudi Motsoeneng was reappointed as COO the post was not advertised.

17 November 2016: Jackson Mthembu sues Motsoeneng who says he will defend.

20 November 2016: The Auditor General finds that the SABC’s unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounted to R798.2 million and that much of this is due to Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s mismanagement. The AG finds that the SABC had deliberately understated its losses because of irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure by R377 million.

20 November 2016: A City Press investigation reveals how Hlaudi Motsoeneng ignored governance protocols to seize control of television content. The Labour Court then finds in favour of Verona Duwarkah, the SABC’s former group executive for television, and the SABC pays out the remainder of her contract. She leaves under duress ending a 25-year career with the SABC.

He sets up what he calls the Special Project Unit, which defies the SABC’s own commissioning policy, as well as the regulations of industry watchdog The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).

He then commissioned R600 million worth of local TV shows which he dishes out to cronies.

City Press also learnt that Motsoeneng’s implementation of an 80% local TV content quota was done without a risk assessment – and with near-fatal repercussions for SABC3.

he repeatedly warned Motsoeneng that his meddling in everything from the SA Music Awards line-up to sports events, and especially programming schedules, was negatively affecting SABC audiences and revenues.

In her court papers Duwarkah says: “A material watershed moment arrived when Motsoeneng hand-picked a select few producers and instructed me ... to ensure they were given contracts, even though some of their proposals had previously been rejected by the content team.”

20 November 2016: The Democratic Alliance announces that it will file supplemnatry papers in its court application to have Hlaudi Motsoeneng removed from his position after the revelations in City Press based on the labour Court application of Verona Duwarkah.

20 November 2016: City Press reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has turned the SABC’s Special Projects Department into a trough.

23 November 2016: The DA files court papers on Hlaudi Motsoeneng and he responds.

23 November 2016: As the court case against Hlaudi Motsoeneng starts, his supporters protest outside

23 November 2016: The DA says the litigation to get rid of Hlaudi Motsoeneng had already cost R28 million.

23 November 2016: Speaking to journalists outside the Cape High Court, Hlaudi Motsoeneng accuses Public Protector Thulia Madonsela and the DA of racism and says that Madonsela only targeted white people.

24 November 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he will take on the DA and change South Africa.

27 November 2016: City Press reveals that that in the last two years, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) has heard 190 cases brought by SABC staff.

According to City Press’ sister newspaper, Rapport, 109 of those were in the past nine months. The newspaper also revealed that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had brought in the State Security Agency to interrogate staff.

28 November 2016: The Times reveals that only remaing SABC board member, Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, has taken his fight against parliament to the Western Cape High Court to interdict its investigation into the public broadcaster‚ just a day before it was meant to resume its inquiry.

29 November 2016: Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane refuses to appear at the parliamentary inquiry into the SABC and demands that, any members of her staff who she might nominate to represent her, should be allowed to testify in camera.

29 November 2016: The Democratic Alliance announces that it will go to court to oppose the interdict against members of Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board.

30 November 2016: ICASA fines SABC radio stations for breaking election coverage rules

1 December 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng explains how he will save South Africa in six months.

2 December 2016: SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe's bid to have Parliament's ad hoc committee interdicted from looking into the board is dismissed by the Western Cape High Court.

2 December 2016: The ANCYL in KZN says it will lobby for Hlaudi Motsoeneng to be made minster of land affairs.

3 December 2016: The ANC scoffs at an ANCYL suggestion that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is ministerial material

4 December 2016: The Cape High Court dismisses an attempt by the sole remaining member of the SABC board, Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe to prevent a parliamentary inquiry into the dysfuntionality at the state broadcster from continuing. Thinus Ferreira, who watched the live broadcast of the court hearing says Judge Siraj Desai was strongly critical of Maguvhe:

Judge Siraj Desai in courtroom 9 at the Western Cape High Court on Friday told the SABC lawyers - who appeared smug and arrogant as well as unprepared, stuttering and faltering when he asked questions - that "I'm trying to think as much as I can in your favour, but my mind leads to different conclusions".

Advocate Ismail Jamie SC appearing on behalf of the SABC (and who couldn't pronounce Mbulaheni Maguvhe's name correctly) didn't come across in the court case - broadcast live on SABC News (DStv 404) as very forthcoming when Judge Siraj Desai multiple times asked who is paying him and who appointed the legal council.

"I'm entitled to be here. My client is the SABC," said Ismail Jamie, with the court told that acting SABC CEO James Aguma authorised the SABC's legal eagles.

On why the SABC refused to hand over the documents requested from Mbulaheni Maguvhe for parliament's SABC inquiry, Ismail Jamie told Judge Siraj Desai that Maguvhe is only "entitled to see the documents, but he's not entitled to hand over the documents because he's not the owner of the documents.

He said the SABC as a public broadcaster is "entitled to protect our own commercial interests".

"No, you are not. The SABC is an asset of all South Africans," said Judge Siraj Desai.

"This is not the baby in the bath water. This is the elephant in the bath water. The entire board is [gone]," said Judge Siraj Desai, noting that "virulence has swept the SABC board".

Judge Siraj Desai told Mbulaheni Maguvhe's lawyer Thabani Masuku several times things like: "I do not follow you. Why is it not correct?", "I can't understand your problem in this regard".

Thabani Masuku said: "All I'm saying is, let’s not make too much of an issue that the SABC board is not functioning".

Judge Siraj Desai said "One doesn't see a vacancy, but one sees the crumbling, disintegration of the SABC board itself" and that "the objective fact here is the SABC board has crumbled. Crumbled to the fact that it is inquorate."

Thabani Masuku told the judge that the SABC board and Mbulaheni Maguvhe read bad things about them in the media, that they don't like it and don't have the "courage" to read the newspapers, saying: "Some people do not take kindly to the kind of language used to describe the SABC board and its fails".

The packed court room burst out in laughter several times.

"When one is in a public position, then criticism, when you fail, is inevitable," said Judge Siraj Desai. "When you're the chairperson of the SABC, then you can't be unduly sensitive".

When Thabani Masuku tried to argue that Mbulaheni Maguvhe’s dignity is at stake, Judge Siraj Desai said "To be the last man standing [at the gutted and failed SABC board] is hardly a very dignified position".

5 December 2016: The only remaining member of the SABC board, Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, says he will abide by the Western Cape High Court ruling and submit to the parliamentary inquiry looking into the fitness of the board he chairs.

5 December 2016: SABC CEO James Aguma refuses to hand over documents requested by the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating SABC corruption and mismanagement.

The committee is assessing the fitness of the public broadcaster's board to hold office.

It wants to see the records of board discussions, the minutes of board meetings at which the reappointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as head of corporate affairs was approved, and the paperwork related to the controversial multimillion-rand MultiChoice deal.

Vincent Smith, the ANC MP who chairs the committee, said it was ready to go to court.

7 December 2016: SABC executive members, including  chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, acting CEO James Aguma and chief executive of corporate affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng, walked out of parliament after refusing to hand over requested documents.

7 December 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng defends the SABC walkout of parliament

7 December 2016: Parliament is told that Icasa has laid criminal charges against the SABC for failing to adhere to a ruling it made regarding the withdrawal of its "protest policy".

8 December 2016: A former SABC board member, Ronnie Lubisi, tells Parliament's ad hoc committee that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi recommended in 2014 that acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng's post be made permanent.

8 December 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng was the centre of power at the SABC during group CEO Lulama Mokhobo’s tenure, she told parliament. She said that there were many occasions where Motsoeneng had meetings with the then board chairperson Ben Ngubane, without her knowledge.

8 December 2016: Parliament decides to use its power of summons to get South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe to appear and testify before a parliamentary inquiry into the embattled broadcaster's affairs.

Maguvhe, who was set down to testify at 4pm on Thursday afternoon (8/12/2016), failed to appear before the ad hoc committee conducting the inquiry.

The chairman of the inquiry, Vincent Smith says that Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe’s protest that his rights as a blind person had been violated is not a "legitimate argument".

8 December 2016: Former SABC Board member Vusi Mavuso tells parliament that Hlaudi Motsoeneng poses a common threat at the public broadcaster. He says that Broadcast Minister, Faith Muthambi amended key legislation in the SABC's memorandum of incorporation that took powers away from the board.

He said Muthambi's amendments, made after Hlaudi Motsoeneng had been named permanent chief operating officer in July 2014, gave the chief executive officer (CEO), the chief financial officer (CFO) and the chief operating officer (COO) powers to appoint group executive members.

The amendments needed the board's signature but only had Muthambi's, he said.

"The power to appoint group executives went from the board to the group executives," he told the committee.

9 December 2016: Phil Molefe, the former SABC head of news, shocks parliament when he tells of the links between the Guptas and Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Molefe said that when he failed to agree to a demand by the SABC chairmman Ben Ngubane that Motsoeneng’s salary be increased by half a million rand a year, Motsoeneng said he would ‘go to Pretoria’ that night.

Molefe's evidence also told MPs the story of how Motsoeneng went from a junior position as a producer at a radio current affairs show in the Free State to the office of the then CEO in 2010. "That appointment, also in my view, was irregular because he was literally airlifted from the Free State, straight parachuted into the office of the group CEO and given the title of general manager in the office of the group CEO and that position did not exist at the time." In 2011, Motsoeneng was again promoted to to goup executive: stakeholder relations and provinces. Molefe said the wife of Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande, whom he described as "very capable" and "excellent" was pushed aside to make room for Motsoeneng. "She was literally removed from her position to make way for Hlaudi Motsoeneng."

9 December 2016: Former SABC board member Krish Naidoo says Hlaudi Motsoeneng is "squatting" at the broadcaster. He told parliament that he could not understand why so many professionals are afraid of a "high school dropout". Naidoo said that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi had acted unlawfully when she amended the SABC board's memorandum of incorporation.

"The problem with the MOI is that it was done in contravention of the Broadcasting Act and to some extent the Constitution," he told MPs.

The amendment needed the signatures of all the board members, but was only signed by Muthambi.

The board had no say, from then onward, with regard to group executive appointments, and was just informed of the decisions.

9 December 2016: Itani Tseisi, a former SABC group executive for risk and governance says the last three board chairpersons have been a disaster for the public broadcaster. He told Parliament's ad hoc committee looking onto the fitness of the SABC board that Mbulaheni Maguvhe, Ellen Tshabalala and Ben Ngubane's tenures had paled in comparison to previous chairpersons.

"The last three chairpersons of the board, I don't know how to describe them... disaster, I think it is," he said.

9 December 2016: R2K condemns the SABC board chairperson and executive management for the delaying tactics used by them to avoid being held to account.

9 December 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reveals that the SABC has spent about a million rand a year for the past five years on overseas travel costs.

10 December 2016: SABC news bulletins are forced to broadcast a seven-minute song praising Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

10 December 2016: The SABC finally hands over requested documents to Parliament's ad hoc committee which is holding an inquiry on the fitness of the broadcaster's board.

Chairperson of the committee Vincent Smith told MPs that more than 400 documents were sent.

11 December 2016: In an editorial City Press praises the ad hoc committee for taking a firm stand against SABC abuses

11 December 2016: City Press reveals how Hlaudi Motsoeneng connived with Multichoice to effectively sell the SABC in return for a R30 million kickback.

11 December 2016: The Auditor General finds that SABC appointments were made to posts that had not been advertised; and those who got the jobs didn’t have the required qualifications or experience – and the SABC failed to procure goods or services through fair procurement processes, as required by law.

11 December 2016: A Sunday Independent editorial says the SABC rot ‘stinks to high heaven.’

12 December 2016: Former SABC group executive of human resources Jabulani Mabaso has told Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board that staff, even the CEOs, "knew where the power was"- Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

12 December 2016: Western Cape High Court rules that Hlaudi Motsoeneng cannot be employed unless the Public Protector’s report is taken on review or a new disciplinary peocess is undertaken. Mmusi Maimane says the only place for Motsoeneng is jail. A new court-ordered disciplinary committee needs to clear Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s name and a Public Protector’s report needs to be overturned on review for him to lawfully work at the SABC.

The new disciplinary committee will be chaired by a person ordered by the court, based on names submitted by the DA, the Public Protector and the SABC; and the parties have to agree to the candidate, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Monday.

12 December 2016: SABC hands over 400 documents to Parliament inquiry

12 December 2016: Former SABC chief technology officer Sipho Masinga tells Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board of how the Gupta’s tried to gain control of the SABC news division

Masinga  told the inquiry that Nazeem Howa, former CEO of Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments, presented the SABC with a three-page document detailing plans for the company to take over the public broadcaster‘s news department.

Masinga said the meeting of SABC executives and Howa took place before ANN7‘s 2013 launch.

The SABC's former head of technology, Sipho Masinga, told parliament how, before ANN7 was launched as a MultiChoice channel, he was in a meeting with Nazeem Howa who had a 3-page document detailing how it wanted to take over, run and rebrand the SABC's news.

"I couldn't believe it," said Masinga. "The New Age wanted to take over and manage SABC News with the SABC that has to supply the staff. The New Age tried to take over SABC News and rebrand it".

"I knew if I opened the door (to the Guptas) that we were going to have problems." Sipho Masinga testified that Hlaudi Motsoeneng left the room just before The New Age document with the proposed take-over of SABC news was given to him.

ANN7 was later launched as Infinity Media's own TV news channel that belongs to Oakbay Investments, the same as The New Age.

Later during the day, the freelance SABC contributing editor Vuyo Mvoko – who was effectively fired as one of the so-called "#SABC8" earlier this year for speaking out against Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s TV news censorship decree – also slammed ANN7.

Vuyo Mvoko testified that money that should be coming to the SABC is being funneled to rival broadcaster ANN7 through the controversial The New Age Breakfast Briefings broadcast on SABC2's Morning Live.

"What SABC executives haven't informed you about is they have allowed SABC money to be used to build a rival channel – ANN7."

"Yet, the money the owners of TNA make, none of it – not a cent – goes to the SABC. From the millions they make through sponsorship, to the tables they sell at those breakfasts – they do not take any of that to the SABC except, perhaps, to the people who make things happen for them."

Vuyo Mvoko said Morning Live resources – SABC resources and budget – are diverted to pay for the production costs of the breakfast briefing broadcasts, while The New Age gets the money and dividends from the events.

Vuyo Mvoko said the SABC's TV news bulletins and current affairs programmes "are bleeding ARs (audience ratings)" because of the reputation and credibility damage the SABC has inflicted on its brand.

Mvoko said The New Age actually wanted to do more than just the breakfast briefings and proposed "provincial The New Age breakfast briefing broadcast weeks" that would financially cripple the SABC even more.

"Someone is being enriched further at the expense of the public broadcaster," said Vuyo Mvoko. "Corruption is taking place; the public broadcaster is being destroyed from within."

It is believed that Motsoeneng supported the plan.

The document proposed that SABC news be rebranded, that the SABC supply journalists, and that Gupta-controlled TNA retain advertising revenue. Masinga said he rejected the proposal.

Masinga and former SABC group human resources executive Jabulani Mabaso told the inquiry that Motsoeneng was the de facto CEO of the corporation.

Masinga said during his time as COO Motsoeneng met MultiChoice executives several times without the CEO being aware of it.

He said he refused to attend the meetings “because those meetings were not legal”.

Motsoeneng signed a controversial R550-million deal with

MultiChoice in 2013 that gave the private broadcaster access to the SABC‘s entire archive. Masinga said the SABC could have made R2-billion on the deal.

“This was really a sale of a national asset ... I can see ... we are killing this company.

12 December 2016: Testifying in the parliamentary inquiry into the affairs of the broadcaster and its board, former group executive: human resources, Jabulani Mabaso, told MPs how Motsoeneng, who just on Monday had his most recent senior appointment as group executive for corporate affairs declared unlawful by the courts, had instilled fear in him and other executives.

12 December 2016: Paul Herman’s Twitter feed from parliament on the SABC inquiry. The SABC livstreamed the hearing on YouTube. SABC reporters told of their victimsation.    Calata   Mvoko    Masinga   Muguvhe Geldenhuys – Pillay – Gubule – Nkosi – Kalidass - R2K MMA  SOS Coalition

12 December 2016: Parliament's SABC inquiry is told by former SABC general manager of labour relations Madiwe Nkosi that the State Security Agency was asked by the SABC board to investigate former group executive of risk and governance, Itani Tseisi, for allegedly having leaked information.

12 December 2016: Thandeka Gqubule tells parliament that Hlaudi Motsoeneng was a tyrant. She says that journalist Kgaogelo Magolego lost his job because of Faith Muthambi.

13 December 2016: SABC journalist Lukhanyo Calata tells Parliament's SABC inquiry that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's reported relationship with President Jacob Zuma is "an open secret" at the broadcaster.

13 December 2016: SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe rates himself 8 out of 10 and says he is convinced that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has good leadership qualities but acknowledges that he has no knowledge of most of the pressing concerns at the SABC. The SABC executives at the meeting were criticised by Chairman of the parliamentary ad hoc committee conducting the inquiry, Vincent Smith. He said the problems at the SABC could be solved by firing everyone who did not agree with management pr who leaked information about the situation.

13 December 2016: R2K calls for the State Security Agency interfering in the affairs of the SABC and being called in to help Hlaudi Motsoeneng target perceived ‘threats’ within the organisation to be subpoenaed to appear before the parliamentary enquiry into the rot at the state broadcaster

13 December 2016: Support grows for Lotus FM over Hlaudi Motsoeneng local music policy.

13 December 2016: Professor Bongani Khumalo, who served on the SABC board from 2013 until January 2015 when he resigned, tells the parliamentary committee that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had “no tolerance for governance” and thought he could “manipulate” anyone to agree with him. “He is what you can call a type-A personality gone wrong,” said Khumalo.

13 December 2016: Mohlolo Lephaka apologises in parliament for calling the Ad Hoc Committee aKangeroo Court

14 December 2016: United Democratic Movement MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa discloses in parliament that one of the journalists who testified in the inquiry into the affairs of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) had received a threatening SMS message after her testimony.

Traitors protecting your white friends in Parliament who started this, telling lies about your comrades. You are warned, we don't kill blacks but sit and watch the blood flow. "

The threatened journalists are advised by the committee chairman, Vincent Smith to lay charges with the SAPS

14 December 2016: Belinda Bozzoli, the DA Shadow Minister for Higher Education and Training reveals that Mbulaheni Maguvhe, the chairman of the disgraced SABC board, obtaned his doctorate by dubious means.

14 December 2016: Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board is told that the SABC has had 12 CEOs in the past eight years.

Media Monitoring Africa's (MMA) William Bird said the SABC's deal granting MultiChoice access to its archives was problematic.

The archives were undersold at R553m over five years, which was small by broadcasting standards, yet former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng received a bonus for the work.

“That's the equivalent of rewarding a paedophile by giving him access to more children,” he said.

Bird addressed MMA's main task of monitoring media coverage at media outlets.

When researching 73 media outlets in the run-up to the 2016 local government elections, the SABC was slanted towards covering the ANC over the other parties, he said.

His colleague Thandi Smith told MPs that for the first time in their history of monitoring elections since 1994, they saw systemic bias in the SABC's coverage, and it was channel-specific.

On morning shows on SABC 1, 2 and 3, the ANC was accessed twice as much as the DA, and five times more than the EFF.

MMA’s definition of bias meant favouring of a political party, not giving opposition parties a chance to respond, and language used

14 December 2016: The Right2Know (R2K) campaign has told Parliament's inquiry into the fitness of the SABC board that the public broadcaster needs not only a new board, but also new mechanisms and a new communications minister to report to.

14 December 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi denies influencing the editorial policy of the South African Broadcasting Corporation as she briefed MPs conducting an inquiry into the public broadcaster's affairs.

"I've never interfered with the editorial policy decision of the SABC. I do not run SABC," Muthambi said.

Muthambi said that, in October, she objected to an SABC board recommendation to appoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting chief operating officer as it would have been in contempt of court.

She ducks, dives and dodges all questions relating to whether the sole remaining board member, SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe was suitable for the post.

She blames all problems at the SABC on the collective.

14 December 2016: Sanef applauds the courage of the SABC 8

15 December 2016: After hearing the testimony of former SABC board member Rachel Kalidass on 14 December, members of Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board's fitness to hold office express the belief that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi misled Parliament when she appeared before the committee on later the same day.

15 December 2016: ANC MP Juli Kilian raises concerns that SABC board minutes provided to Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the broadcaster's fitness might have been tampered with.

Kilian raised the issue during the testimony of former board member Rachel Kalidass before the ad hoc committee on 15 December.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme told News24 afterwards that if true, it was appalling that people under oath would come to Parliament and doctor minutes.

She said it would be perjury if that was the case, and criminal charges should be laid.

15 December 2016: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi issues a media statement absolving herself from any blame in the current management crisis at the SABC, and instead lays the dysfunction of the board at Parliament's door. Her spokesman, Ayanda Hollow, issues a statement, headlined Minister Faith Muthambi disrupts dominant narratives and exposes media hypocrisy in his own name in which he describes the process in parliament  as a media-inspired witchhunt against his boss: saying that South Africans have  ‘…become accustomed to media's misrepresentation of facts. He then goes on to say the SABC inquiry has ‘the year's LAST political grandstanding which by its nature involves obfuscation of facts and peddling of half-truths, to say nothing of display of ignorance.’

15 December 2016: Evidence emerges that the SABC’s lawyer Lucky Thekisho was recently convicted of making fraudulent representations. Ad hoc committee chairperson Vincent Smith said Thekisho Incorporated Attorneys owed Parliament "big time" for wasting taxpayers' money and stalling the process.

He also questioned on whose authority and in which capacity Thekisho was representing the broadcaster, as the board is currently inquorate and without decision-making abilities.

15 December 2016: Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, sums up some of the more significant evidence presented to Parliament's ad hoc committee examining SABC corruption:

  • The SABC brought in the State Security Agency to investigate and intimidate staff (something which never happened under the National Party goverment ;
  • The SABC 8 continued to receive death threats, with no action from the Minister of Communications, the SABC board and management;
  • The Gupta-owned New Age attempted to take over and “re-brand” the SABC’s news division;
  • The SABC paid for the New Age’s breakfast briefings, an effective laundering of public money for the benefit of the Guptas;
  • Hlaudi Motsoeneng appeared to have protection from President Jacob Zuma and threatened staff with an authority located in Pretoria;
  • The SABC Chairperson, Mbulaheni Maguvhe, appeared to be completely oblivious of the major issues facing the SABC;
  • Minister Muthambi interfered in the coverage of news and in the affairs of the board; and
  • There was explicit and unprecedented bias in news coverage towards the ANC during the most recent local government elections.

Ms van Damme cncluded:

It is disappointing that despite being given the opportunity to refute all claims, the SABC’s current executive team, under the leadership of Acting GCEO, James Aguma, elected not to present itself to the committee to tell its side of the story, and explain to the public how their license fees have been spent. We will push for this to happen early next year, along the expected appearances of former board Chairs, Ellen Tshabalala, and Dr Ben Ngubane.

We trust that the tough, no-holds barred manner in which the SABC Ad Hoc committee conducted hearings is a cautionary tale for all other SOEs. You will be caught. You will be held accountable. We trust that this is not a once-off occurrence and will happen in all other committees in Parliament.

The DA will now plough through the 577 documents provided by the SABC to Ad Hoc committee with the view of getting to the bottom of what has happened at the SABC, to devise concrete steps about what needs to happen to fix the SABC, and to hold those responsible accountable.

15 December 2016: eNCA wraps up important moments in the ad hoc committee hearings

15 December 2016: Outa lays criminal charges against Hlaudi Motsoeneng

16 December 2016: Pierre de Vos analyses the ruling by the Western Cape High Court that Hlaudi Motsoeneng may, for the time being, “not hold any position at all at the SABC”. This means that the court ordered the suspension of Motsoeneng as an employee of the SABC and that he is not permitted to go to the SABC to do any work.

17 December 2016: Weekend Argus columnist, Andrew Donaldson, reveals more about the background of Faith Muthambi:

In 2005, when she was municipal manager at Makhado in Limpopo, Muthambi was arrested for allegedly selling a luxury car belonging to the council. Charges of fraud were dropped after two appearances in the local district court.

She later came under scrutiny following an inquiry into tender fraud and charges of nepotism. Muthambi had allegedly overpaid a construction company said to be owned by a boyfriend for a road construction project it failed to execute, and had appointed a cousin as a municipal librarian without following due process.

In 2008, she was suspended with full pay during which time she also claimed a performance bonus of more than R80000. She successfully challenged her suspension, returned to work – but then resigned when it was announced she had been deployed to Parliament, where she was inaugurated as a new MP in May 2009.

17 December 2016: More than a hundred members of the cast of of the SABC3 soapie, High Rollers, have been left unemployed after it was abruptly taken off the air

18 December 2016: The Sunday Times reveals that the SABC’s attempts to cover the Castro funeral was a comedy of errors.

19 December 2016: SABC board chairman Dr Mbulaheni Maguvhe resigns. This is welcomed by the Portfolio Committee on Communications and the office of the ANC Chief Whip. Political parties say that he must still face the consequences of his arrogance. The SOS coalition says parliament must act urgently to fill the leadership vacuum.

20 December 2016: Eye Witness news says it has documentary proof, released by a whistle blower that a multi-million rand contract between the SABC and a company called Vision View was allegedly concluded outside all governance processes. The SABC says it cannot comment until the parliamentary investigation is completed. Hlaudi Motsoeneng refuses to comment.

20 December 2016: Former defence minister Charles Nqakula apologises to one of the SABC 8 journalists, Lukhanyo Calata, for not being the critical voice needed during the unfolding saga at the public broadcaster.

21 December 2016: OUTA says it is vindicated by a whistle blower report about a R40 million SABC studio scam vindicates its laying of charges.

21 December 2016: Hlaudi Motsoeneng calls himself the most powerful man in South Africa

22 December 2016: Former minister Charles Nqakula has writes an open letter of apology to Lukhanyo Calata, one of the SABC 8

25 December 2016: The Sunday Times reveals  more details of how the SABC spied on staff members using South Africa’s security establishment.

25 December 2016: Method minister Alan Storey reveals how SABC radio station, SAFM, has censored his Xmas sermon to remove references to Fezekile Kuzwayo, the woman who had accused President Jacob Zuma of rape.

30 December 2016: The Sunday Times makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng its Mampara of the Year


12 January 2017: Ed Herbst outlines the bullying oppression of the SABC board by its chairman, Ben Ngubane

13 January 2017: Ben Ngubane and Ellen Tshabalala testify in parliament before the Ad Hoc Committee investigating SABC corruption

13 January 2017: The most dramatic moment of the day came when committee chairman, Vincent Smith, who had listened with increasing scepticism to Ngubane’s testimony, said the discrepancy between his evidence and that of previous witnesses was too great to countenance. Perjury, he said, was evident.

"Somebody has misled Parliament, somebody has not taken us seriously and they will pay the price for it. There can't be such grave contradictions, it's just too scary for us not to take it up.

"Everyone who spoke here spoke under oath and I think somebody must go to jail”, he said.

14 January 2017: IOL reveals that the South African Communist Party has threatened legal action against former SABC board chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala for making what it alleges is ‘baseless allegations’ against the party before the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the governance decay and consequent collapse of good governance at the SABC.

The SACP reveals that questions about the veracity of her qualifications had been been investigated in 2011: According to media reports in 2011 Mercedes Benz had requested confirmation of her qualifications from Unisa when she applied for a job at the company and the university informed an intermediary that she failed to attain the qualifications she claimed, the SACP said.

15 January 2017: City Press reveals that Ben Ngubane brought with him to parliament Titus Mchunu of Mchunu Attorneys, the law firm hired by the SABC in 2014 to advise the broadcaster on the Public Protector’s report.

17 January 2017: News 24 reveals  that the draft document compiled following the completion of the ad hoc committee hearing into the fitness of the SABC's board was leaked on social media on Tuesday, ahead of the planned deliberation later this week.

18 January 2017: ‘Lilly Gosam’ (a pseudonym) outlines in the Rand Daily Mail the role played by the SABC in the Zupta/State Capture process.

19 January 2017: News 24 reveals that the ad hoc committee has met to discuss the SABC question and that differences arose about calling Hlaudi Motsoeneng to testify.

20 January 2017: News 24 reveals that MPs on Parliament's SABC inquiry ad hoc committee felt the SABC’s board had a "shaky" moral compass and had failed to protect journalists from intimidation. The committee was underwhelmed by the vague submission by former board char, Ellen Tshabalala, who had alleged ‘massive political interference’ during her testimony before the committee. She was asked to provide a list of names of the poiliticians involved but her submission failed to do so. The committee ordered her to provide an affidavit. Opposition MPs called for the dismissal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi but, predictably, ANC MP’s did not support this motion. MPs also oppose the Broadcasting Amendment Bill, tabled by Muthambi in 2015, which gives her the power to appoint and dismiss members of the SABC board.

22 January 2017: IOL reveals that, contrary to her undertaking to the ad hoc committee in parliament last week, former chairperson of the SABC Board, Ellen Tshabalala, has reneged on a promise to reveal those responsible for what she called severe political pressure that she faced during her tenure at the SABC

“There is nothing I can say. I am no longer with the SABC, I am not a member of the board,” she said.

Janet Heard reports on News 24 that there is a new sense of purpose in the SABC ad hoc committee

Marianne Merten points out that there are growing concerns about the role of the State Security Agency in the SABC

23 January 2017: Business Day reports that the dismissal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi is being discussed by the SABC ad hoc committee.

23 January 2017: Thinus Ferreira provides irrefutable proof  of the SABC deliberately going to black to cut short a live feed when Julius Malema started criticising Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

This was the first time that the SABC has deliberately gone to black since television started in 1976 and this was done in an extraordinarily brazen act of political censorship - even more brazen than its manipulation of the booing of President Jacob Zuma at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in Soweto on 10 December 2013.

24 January 2017: The ad hoc parliamentary committee investigating pervasive SABC corruption and incompetence harshly criticises the SABC lawyers

24 January 2017: The SABC says that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 90% local music content policy will remain

27 January 2017: Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board agrees to finalise its draft report without any recommendations, until those implicated have been given a chance to respond.

Eight MPs voted against the inclusion of preliminary recommendations on Friday, with only two Democratic Alliance MPs voting for inclusion.

27 January 2017: Pierre de Vos analyses the requiremens necessary to be an SABC board member

27 January 2017: Parliament’s SABC inquiry hears that that SABC 8 journalist Suna Venter was shot in the face with a pellet gun the previous week, following continued threats of intimidation against her.

The SABC carries the news about Suna Venter being shot in the face at 11 minutes past ten last on 27 January on its web site but although eNCA headlined the story on its six thirty and seven pm television news bulletins that evening the SABC did not mention it on the equivalent bulletins at all. This, in other words, was its usual self-censorship by omission.

29 January 2017: The DA threatens to take the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating SABC courruption and incompetence to court for excluding the recommendations in the draft report.

DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters warned that the report could be taken to court as its release flew against the normal practice of including recommendations.

This after the ANC in the committee engineered for the exclusion of the recommendations, and that the report be released with findings and observations. The committee has been deliberating on the SABC problems over the last few weeks since it was established.

However, the refusal by the ANC to include the recommendations split the committee.

The DA said the ANC refused to include recommendations because they were calling for the axing of Muthambi and Ngubane at Eskom.

31 January 2017: Broadcast expert, Kate Skinner sets out the details of what is required of members of the interim SABC board.

31 January 2017: The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) reveals that the criminal charge it laid at the Bramley police station on November 28 had been escalated to the Hawks. This information was convyed by Icasa councillor Nomvuyiso Batyi to Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications. Batyi said that ICASA had not, as yet received a case number from the Hawks.

Icasa has been battling since July last year to get the SABC to provide proof that it would abide by its ruling to withdraw the ban.

1 February 2017: In a Business Day article broadcast expert, Kate Skinner sets out the details of what must be done with the SABC to rescue it from the consequences of two decades of ANC control:

But although the SABC has by far the biggest audiences in SA, the state broadcaster is in a state of collapse. This problem needs to be dealt with urgently, says Kate Skinner, a broadcasting researcher and policy analyst.

After the recent dissolution of the SABC board, adds Skinner, “we need a new strong, fearless interim board. It needs to have technical skills [financial, legal and corporate governance] but also social and political clout to begin to deal with the challenges on every level of the organisation. There are many powerful, vested interests and they won’t go quietly.”

She adds that the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigation into the SABC needs to be concluded and the strong recommendations in the draft report taken forward by an interim board.

It seems that former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s “supporters are already starting to move against the report, claiming that the process wasn’t fair” because Motsoeneng was not interviewed and “former SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane was treated too harshly, etc”, she says.

“The process must not be allowed to be derailed.

“A number of the recommendations of the report are very powerful. These include dealing with the R5.1bn of irregular expenditure, kick-starting the forensic audit into the MultiChoice/SABC archive deal and making sure the Broadcasting Act takes precedence over the Companies Act. This will ensure that the communications minister’s interventionist roles are curtailed.”

Skinner believes Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has been “a disaster. She needs to be removed. She has directly intervened at the SABC to support Motsoeneng.

“Also, she has now placed a bill on the table [the Broadcasting Amendment Bill, 2015] that removes the role of Parliament in appointing the board.

“She, as the minister, will now select the SABC board. We must stop this bill! It takes us back to apartheid days.”

The government’s digital terrestrial television (DTT) programme has also come to a standstill under Muthambi’s watch. “If DTT dies, then pay TV will become the only real television option in the country,” says Skinner.

Another challenge bedevilling television is’s battle over encryption, she says. “We need set-top box decoders to be rolled out as soon as possible.”

The government should look into setting up a local content fund, Skinner says. “The only way that DTT will work is if there is great new content on new DTT channels.

“There needs to be public support for local content.

“Look at the funds in Kenya, Nigeria, New Zealand, Canada and France. We also need DTT migration to happen to ultimately release valuable spectrum.”

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) needs to be strengthened.

“Icasa has been limping along with compromised independence and insufficient funding.

 “A new funding model needs to be urgently developed; Icasa needs to retain a portion of its licence fees. Also, it needs to build a cutting-edge research department to ensure that SA is developing advanced digital ICT policy appropriate for a developing world context.”

Icasa also needs to deal with a lack of competition and the dominance of the large companies in the market, she adds.

2 February 2017: The SABC argues in the Cape High Court that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment was an internal arrangement and did not constitute an exercise of public power, and thus a court could not review it.

The public broadcaster was applying to the Western Cape High Court for leave to appeal its earlier ruling on Motsoeneng’s appointment as group executive of corporate affairs.

3 February 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the man whose salary increased by R1.5m in two years while SABC was making a loss now wants to become a humble servant of the country’s citizens and to help the unemployed.

3 February 2017: The parliamentary communications committee demands an answer from Faith Muthambi on why the SABC is appealing a High Court ruling that set aside Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as its group executive for corporate affairs.

Chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said the committee will ask to be briefed in detail by the Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, regarding the reasons behind the appeal.

Maxegwana further stated that the committee was "interested" in hearing from Muthambi about why the SABC "found it difficult to implement the ruling".

7 February 2017: The Western Cape High Court dismisses with costs the SABC’s application for leave to appeal its earlier ruling on Motsoeneng’s appointment as group executive of corporate affairs.

The court ruled in December that his appointment was unlawful and that he could not hold any position at the broadcaster, unless a Public Protector's 2014 report on his appointment as chief executive officer was overturned, or a new disciplinary inquiry cleared him.

The court rejected the public broadcaster's argument that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment was an internal matter, and not an exercise of public power that could be challenged in court

It ruled that the SABC is a public body and its decisions about services and goods are open to review.

The Democratic Alliance welcomed the ruling as confirmation that Hlaudi Motsoeneng Motsoeneng is not fit to hold any position at the National Broadcaster.

This is a victory for the rule of law and a positive step towards restoring the integrity and independence of the SABC.

It is high time that the SABC cease with its frivolous litigation at the expense of the South African taxpayer and focus on fixing the SABC, and correcting the damage that Mr Motsoeneng caused during his reign of terror.

13 February 2017: The RDM reveals that just before Christmas when the majority of South Africans were on holidy, the SABC hurriedly awarded multi-million rand contracts without them going out to tender and with upfront payments before work was commenced.

14 February 2017: Vincent Smith, the chairman of the parliamentary ad hoc committee investing SABC corruption and mismanagement reveals that the committee has received only four written submissions relating to previous testimony during the hearings -  from former SABC Journalist Phil Molefe, veteran broadcaster Dumile Mateza, former SABC Group Executive for Technology Sipho Masinga and the SABC8 journalists.

14 February 2017: MPs attack the SABC for its "reckless" decision to apply for leave to appeal a Western Cape High Court ruling that Hlaudi Motsoeneng not be allowed to hold any position at the public broadcaster, suggesting that executives should foot the legal bill in their personal capacity. They call on the SABC to stop treating parliament with contempt.

16 February 2017: Stephan Hofstatter, writing in Business Day, says the SABC execitives are terating the ad hoc committee with contempt and the looting is actually increasing as they perecive that time is running out:

In many ways, the SABC inquiry, chaired by Vincent Smith, has restored public confidence in Parliament’s ability to hold the executive and the state entities it oversees to account. That Muthambi and Motsoeneng — both regarded as close to President Jacob Zuma — have come under sustained attack by all parties lends depth to this confidence.

However, the latest financial scandals at the SABC make it clear that the taps are still open.

Unless urgent action is taken to staunch the flow of irregular payments and prefer criminal charges against those benefiting corruptly, the inquiry’s promises to clean up the SABC will ring hollow and amount to little more than grandstanding.

18 February 2017: Al Jazeera’s media analysis programme The Listening Post examines the degree to which the SABC haas been captured by the ANC using the state broadcaster’s coverage of the SONA debate as a case study.

20 February 2017: Solidarity teams up with Bemawu to recover legal costs from Simon Tebele and Hlaudi Motsoeneng

21 February 2017: The parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the SABC meltdown hears that the state broadcaster funded the New Age breakfasts at a cost of R1 million per show with all the profits going to the Guptas

21 February 2017: Right on deadline the SABC submits an unsigned 140-page document in which it attacks the integrity of the process adopted by the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the crisis at the state broadcaster. Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s lawyers submit a response in which they say he was prejudiced. The committee says no new evidence is permissable.

21 February 2017: Neville Pillay, Lotus FM presenter of the Morning Rush radio programme in the Durban regional office of the SABC walks out after being threatened and tenders his immediate resignation.

Neville Pillay said that last week Thursday during a meeting he questioned the state of the Lotus FM studio. 

“It’s in poor shape, almost nothing works and it’s held together by sticky tape almost.” He said the state of Lotus FM’s studio “isn’t a reflection of our station manager, rather the SABC as a whole”. 

“When I asked him what’s to be done, the marketing manager interjected. He said you guys don’t deserve any new equipment because you put your feet up on the desk and eat in the studio”. 

“I agree I do put my feet up on the desk every now and then but I said ‘We don’t eat in the studio. He then proceeded to tell me ‘I will f– cut you down to size, you hear me’.” 

“Never in my entire radio career has anyone in management spoken to me that way,” says Neville Pillay. 

22 February 2017: The SABC says it has never been a mouthpiece of the government of the day, that it has the right to set its own editorial policy, and that it was not biased in its 2016 local government election coverage.

This is contained in the broadcaster's formal response to Parliament's interim report compiled by the ad hoc committee looking into its board.

22 February 2017: Parliamentary researchers have revealed that legal amendments Communications Minister Faith Muthambi made at the SABC, giving her and Hlaudi Motsoeneng broad powers at the broadcaster, were never filed with Cipro.

The SABC had therefore been acting without legal basis when making executive appointments and removing board members.

MPs serving on the ad hoc committee investigating the SABC board were told that amendments not submitted to Cipro had no legal basis.

EFF MP Fana Mokoena said this had implications for all the other SABC legislation, and that the SABC was being run on an illegal document.

“Everything they've done is illegal,” DA MP Mike Waters said. ACDP MP Steve Swart said the revelation had “huge implications”.

24 February 2017: The parliamentary ad hoc committee inquiring into the SABC adopts its final report and the members congratulated each other. The Democratic Alliance said that it would ensure that the measures recommendfed by the committee were implemented.

26 February 2017: City Press reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Faith Muthambi will suffer no consequences as a result of evidence recently revealed in parliament. This despite the fact that, according to the Sunday Times, the report recommends the dismissal of Muthambi.

28 February 2017: Political parties come up with 17 names for the interim SABC board.

28 February 2017: The SABC’s acting CEO, James Aguma, tells parliament that the reason why nobody has ever been held to account for the hundreds of millions of rands snouted by ANC aparatchiks since 1994 is that a tactical decision has been taken in this regard. He says that no SABC board approval   was required for the contracts signed just before Christmas. He reveals that the SABC data base of TV licence holders was absolutely chaotic and that, in cleaning it up, R17.7 billion had been written off.

1 March 2017: News 24 reveals that trade unions Solidarity and the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) have consolidated their court cases to get Hlaudi Motsoeneng to pay the legal costs they incurred defending the SABC 8.  Vuyo Mvoko remains out of work after eight months with no response from the SABC. The SABC is again criticised for the late submission of documents

2 March 2017: The Times reveals the truly startling level of corruption at the state broadcaster as oulined at the interview with James Aguma by SCOPA:

The SABC group reported a loss of R411-million for the year to the end of March 2016. It lost R131-million in the previous year.

The R5.1-billion in irregular expenditure included R40.9-million on non-contractual payments, R16.2-million on payments in respect of which procurement processes were not followed, R142-million on payments in respect of which there was no tax certificate, and R225-million attributable to inadequate monitoring of contract adherence.

Former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng earned R4.1-million a year, according to the report.

7 March 2017: Parliament formally adopts the final report of the ad hoc committee looking into the fitness of the SABC board.

8 March 2017: The office of the ANC chief whip welcomes the adoption by the National Assembly’s of the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the inquiry into the fitness of the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) Board.

8 March 2017: MPs call for the dismissal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi

8 March 2017: MPs agree on five names for the interim SABC board

9 March 2017: Icasa's competition and complaints commission approves recommendations to nullify the SABC’s editorial policy of 2016, which banned the airing of footage of violent protests.

"The public participation procedure as prescribed by section 6(6) of the Broadcasting Act of 1999 was not adhered to by the SABC Board in the 2016 amendment of its editorial policies,” the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) said in a statement.

10 March 2017: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, who says she was ambushed in parliament indicates she will go to court to contest Parliament's SABC inquiry report.The DA says that she must pay the legal costs of taking the SABC ad hoc committee’s report on judicial review from her own pocket.

13 March 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC is facing a fresh cash crisis

14 March 2017: News 24 reveals that Parliament's portfolio committee on communications has recommended Khanyisile Kweyama to serve as SABC interim board chairperson.

14 March 2017: The Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Lechesa Tsenoli tells the Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi on Tuesday that he is unable to change the SABC report which implicates her in the public broadcaster's governance problems

The Star reported that Muthambi had written an explosive letter to Speaker Baleka Mbete to say she was taking the "irrational and unlawful" ad hoc committee report on review.

16 March 2017: Times Live reveals that the SABC is running on empty it terms of its financial situation.

17 March 2017: The SABC confirms that it is facing a cash crisis which the spokesman Kaizer Kganyago blames on everybody and everything except the state broadcaster management itself,  but this is contradicted by its own documents. Staff could be retrenched. This arouses anger in trade union BEMAWU.

17 March 2017: Responding to the news that the totally dysfunctional SABC was effectively bankrupt, the SACP issued a press statement.

After years of extreme abuse by successive incompetent boards and a mix of corrupt and incompetent executives our national public broadcaster is teetering on the brink of collapse.

After a brief post-1994 flowering as South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC has struggled to sustain its role as our country’s most trusted source of broadcast news and entertainment. Successive boards and senior managers sought to transform it into a market-driven, commercial operation. With the emergence of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the de facto power at the SABC in 2012, its slow decline accelerated into free-fall, as widespread looting, financial incompetence and the total collapse of anything recognisable as good governance vanished from its sprawling Auckland Park headquarters.

Its financial resources have been looted and wasted to the extent that its monthly costs – including its wage bill – are today greater than its financial reserves. And, because it now costs more to operate than it makes, those reserves are not being replenished:

Under current acting CEO James Aguma it continues to pour its dwindling reserves into paying for a range of what may well be illegal contracts of no benefit to either the SABC or to the people of our country. It currently pays as much for TV licence fee collection as it receives (if not less than that) in licence fee income! If it simply stopped collecting licence fees, it would be no worse off. This is what Aguma has driven it into.

The SABC’s audiences – once loyal and comprising a large majority of South Africans – have deserted the public broadcaster in their millions. They have not deserted the SABC because better private sector competitors have emerged, but because under Motsoeneng and his allies, the SABC’s content has become steadily worse. Only those with no choice at all continue to listen to and watch its stations and channels. And those who have left have taken their licence fees with them.

19 March 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC is facing a liquidity crisis. Shows are not being produced and there are fears that salaries may not be paid. The SABC denies this claim.

20 March 2017: The DA calls for an urgent meeting of Parliament's communications committee for a full briefing by Treasury on the status of the SABC's finances.

A confidential Treasury risk committee report leaked to the media reportedly shows that the SABC's reserves plummeted to R174m in December 2016 compared to R1bn in cash reserves a year before.

City Press reported that the public broadcaster was so broke that the production of new TV shows has been halted and staff members fear they won't be paid.

22 March 2017: (SABC) acting chief executive James Aguma has admitted the public broadcaster is in the midst of a financial crisis, blaming political interference for the untenable situation.

24 March 2017: at the memorial service for Joe Mafela, black actors accuse the ANC–era SABC of exploiting them.

26March 2017: President Jacob Zuma appoints an interim SABC board.

27 March 2017: Political parties stress that the SABC interim board must prioritise the failing financials of the SABC and formalise the disciplinary processes around Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The DA calls for stability to be achieved as soon as possible.

28 March 2017: Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha reveals that, on the instructions of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the State Security Angency spied on SABC employees and that this was done illegally because the required permission from a judge was no sought or given.

28 March 2017: The Democratic Alliance reveals that it will ask the new Inspector General of Intelligence, Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to investigate allegations by SABC journalists and staff that the State Security Agency has spied on them. According to a parliamentary reply, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro had not authorised the SSA to intercept any communications of SABC employees, to the best of her knowledge.

The DA said it would ask Dintwe to compile a report that would be tabled in Parliament and sent to State Security Minister David Mahlobo.

A former SABC labour manager and SABC journalists testified before Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the broadcaster's board that staff had been spied on.

28 March 2017: The BCCSA orders the SABC to apologise to the Naspers tabloid newspaper Die Son after the newspaper was attacked during a Morning Live interviewwithout being asked for comment or given the right of reply

31 March 2017: The SABC’s TV viewership figures plunged to an all time low as a direct result of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 90% local content edict.

2 April 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC is effectively bankrupt

4 April 2017: New Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo gives the new SABC interim board the go-ahead to start working, disregarding former minister Faith Muthambi’s attempt to halt the board’s duties.

6 April 2017: Further evidence becomes available that the SABC is bankrupt and unable to pay its creditors. The newly-appointed Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, has set up a team that would include National Treasury to fix the SABC.

This followed meetings between Dlodlo, President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on the state of finances at the public corporation.

7 April 2017: Economist Dawie Roodt says that with South Africa being reduced to junk status, it will be difficult to find the money to bail out the bankrupt state broadcaster

12 April 2017: The Democratic Alliance reveals that certain SABC radio stations including Ukhozi FM, Phalaphala FM, Ikwekwezi FM and Ligwalagwala FM, have received instructions “from above” to play a special happy birthday song for the President’s birthday. Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC is set to scrap Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s disastrous 90% local music content policy.

13 April 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that input from employees at an SABC staff meeting indicates that the Corporations is a chaotic shambles

16 April 2017: City Press reveals that the bankrupt SABC might need as much as a R3 billion bailout.

18 April 2017: The DA says that the disciplinary hearing against Hlaudi Motsoeneng is overdue.

19 April 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng holds a press conference in which he ridiculed the people who marched in support of a call for President Jacob Zuma to step down saying they had been “captured” by “the Western”.

“Don’t listen to black people who have been taken by the western (sic). Because black people‚ some of them‚ they have been captured.”

He also defended the Guptas and called SABC board member Krish Naidoo a liar and a “sellout”

He stated that if he stood for president he would win but that he would no do so because he belived that South Africa needed a woman president

“I am loved by many people, I can mobilise over 20 million people. Majority of people wherever I go say I should be leading somewhere…to those who want me to be president, I say it is not a secret that I support a woman (for presidency)… I won’t stand for presidency for now, I am concentrating on the SABC and all those who need my help.

“If I was a politician, I would not allow 10 or 20 political parties in Parliament… for what?”

He claimed to have invented "radical transformation", that he is loved by white people, and set an international benchmark for quality broadcasting with his 90% local content policy.

Motsoeneng also said he had told SABC journalists to give President Jacob Zuma more airtime than other political leaders.

Motsoeneng’s supporters praised him as ‘The rose that gew from concrete’

The SABC declined to respond to his statements but covered the ‘press conference’ live

He was duly panned on Twitter

The DA said that Motsoeneng’s statements at the press conference were grounds for dismissal

20 April 2017: OUTA says that Motsoeneng’s press conference was a “grandstanding charade of self-glorification”.

“To us‚ it is clear Mr Motsoeneng accepts no responsibility for the plight and poor performance the SABC has suffered during his tenure as COO‚” said Dominique Msibi‚ OUTA’s Portfolio Director.

“His staged performance‚ along with those singing his praises for the SABC 90% local content policy‚ ignores the fact the SABC has suffered immensely as a direct result of his decisions.”

23 April 2017: News 24 reveals that five laptops have been stolen the the SABC offices in parliament. There is no sign of forced entry. The DA says this is ‘stunningly suspicious’

23 April 2017: The Sunday Independent reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng faces summary dismissal for allegedly violating the broadcaster’s code of conduct following his tirade against its interim board. The newspaper says fressh charges have been laid against Motsoeneng.

23 April 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng appears on ANN7's Straight Talk programme where he is interviewed by Sifiso Mahlangu and expresses his views on South Africa’s “democratical society”:

“The DA represents liberals. You can't run away from that point of view. They just have face when you look at Maimane, Mmusi Maimaine, just the face there. This people are using him.

“The reason why media attack government is because they still believe that black people can't rule. It's a pity that you have so-called clever blacks who are also joining to criticise, especially some of the leaders in this country – president Zuma is one of them.

“"President Zuma is under attack. And why he's under attack, is because he's talking about radical transformation. So when you touch those issues, you touch the real nerves of some of people who don’t want that change to happen".

He claims that the entire budget for the SABC’s news division comes from DSTV.

"I have been saying, the money that we are getting from MultiChoice, it pays the operations of the SABC – the whole newsroom, not for DStv 404 channel.

"If you cancel that contract, which means people are going to be unemployed.”

24 April 2017: Parliament’s communications committee is told by the interim SABC board that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had been sent a letter informing him that he was facing fresh disciplinary charges as a result of his ant-SABC tirade at his press conference on 19 April. He had been given a 16h00 deadline on 24 April to respond but had not done so. The deputy chairperson of the interim board Mathatha Tsedu said that the cost of Motsoeneng’s local content policy was R183m for television R29m for radio.

This started with a loss of audience, and then the loss of advertising revenue.

He said that a number of television producers had not been paid as a result of the revenue crisis. “This has potential to collapse the entire programme schedule on all SABC channels”, Tsedu said.

30 April 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC is unable to pay the producers of its television programmes

30 April 2017: In a News 24 column, Mondli Makhanya describes Hlaudi Motsoeneng as ‘unhinged’, a ‘raving lunatic’, an ‘imbecile’, and a ‘national joke’ and asks why South Africans seem so fascinated by him.

7 May 2017: SABC interim board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama reveals that the government has been approached for a R1 billion bailout. The SIU says it is eager to investigate SABC corruption

10 May 2017: James Aguma, acting SABC CEO, tells parliament "We are facing a financial crisis". He says the SABC wants DStv to be compelled to collect TV licence fees on behalf of the SABC, and also wants SABC news to be sponsored. Aguma also said that the SABC wants the Broadcasting Act changed to include more viewing devices so that more people need a SABC TV licence, for instance for computers, cellphones and tablets.

Aguma also reveals that the reputational damage suffered by the SABC commercial radio stations, Good Hope FM, Metro FM, and Five FM, as well as its television station, SABC3, had caused a reduction in audience numbers.

Communications minister Ayanda Dlodlo tells parliament the cash-strapped SABC made a loss of R509m in Q4 of its financial year and can't meet all its financial obligations.

The DA calls for Hlaudi’s enforcers to to be suspended

11 May 2017: Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo reveals that she has received a bailout request from the SABC.

The DA says it will oppose the imposition of TV license fees for mobile phones, computers and tablets.

14 May 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC has 164 people working in its TV licence department, yet the corporation has been outsourcing TV licence fee collection to a company, Lorna Vision,  that has been underperforming.

Among the many shocking revelations was that the SABC continued to outsource licence fee collection to Lorna Vision, which had failed to meet its target by more than 50%.

Interim board member Febe Potgieter-Gqubule said the board had decided to cancel the contract – scheduled to run until the end of July – ahead of time to save money.

While Lorna Vision was expected to collect at least R1 billion a year in TV licence fees, it had a shortfall of R449 million for the year, according to another board member, John Matisonn.

In its presentation, the interim board revealed that the 90% local content directive had cost SABC TV an unaudited figure of R183 million in advertising revenue, and a R29 million loss for radio. These figures exclude the R72 million forked out to replace local content

17 May 2017: Parliament is told that despite the SABC having its own internal audit division, the SABC irregularly appointed a company, SekelaXabiso, to help them deal with irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Despite being awarded about R25 million rand the irregular and fruitles expenditure continued.

MPs could not ascertain what exactly SekelaXabiso had done in return for all the money.

ANC MP Ezekiel Kekana said it was very clear that the contract was illegal.

James Aguma called in sick so was not available to clear this matter up.

25 May 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s attempt to interdict his disciplinary hearing fails and he is told to pay costs

25 May 2017: Franis Heard reveals how Brian Molefe lied on air and, with the help of Ellen Tshabalala, tried to get her dismissed.

26 May 2017: City Press reveals that the offices of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and James Aguma have been locked, their entrance access cards naave been blocked and James Aguma faces suspension because he twice lied to the SABC interim board:

Aguma, say the sources, provided an affidavit in Motsoeneng’s misconduct case that said that the board did not, in fact, take a resolution to discipline Motsoeneng – yet he was in a board meeting when the decision was taken and in fact he supported the decision.

The second reason is that he said he gave Motsoeneng permission to hold the press conference – but denied it when asked by the board and Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications.

27 May 2017: The DA welcomes the suspension of James Aguma saying that he was “central and complicit” to the dire straits the public broadcaster is facing.

The ANC Study Group on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) on Saturday also welcomed Aguma’s suspension.

“This suspension follows a recent recommendation by SCOPA that he be placed on suspension while the Interim SABC Board conducts its forensic investigation into irregularities in procurement and expenditure at the SABC”.

28 May 2017: City Press reveals that an advertisement management system for radio called Landmark which was introduced by the SABC last year had proved completely ineffectual and lost R300m to date, making it one of the biggest contributors to its current financial crisis.

29 May 2017: DA MP Phumzile van Damme calls for those who lied during the SABC inquiry to be charged. Parliament instructs the state law advisor to recover money from former SABC board chair Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe for his failed last ditch effort to stop the ad hoc committee investigation into the public broadcaster.

1 June 2017: A reader of The Times reveals in a letter that there will be no radio coverage of forthcoming cricket events of major importance.

The Times 1/6/2017

SABC not tuned in

SERIOUSLY? The SABC couldn’t “secure the rights” and now there’s no radio coverage of the Proteas tour to England and the Champions Trophy?

In 2014 then SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng said “cricket, a national sport, is followed and loved by millions of South Africans”.

In 2016 the number of active followers of cricket was put at more than seven million, with fewer than two million having access to DStv Premium where most cricket is broadcast live.

The SABC’s masters clearly don’t give a toss about their radio broadcasting service. While so many fans are missing out on the truly entertaining skills of radio commentators Aslam Khota, Herschelle Gibbs and Peter Kirsten (and their guests), are the SABC’s masters sitting pretty somewhere, smirking happily to themselves?

Ann Coltham – Cape Town

2 June 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng files court papers trying to delay his disciplinary hearing

6 June 2017: The DA calls on the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to table the report from Parliament’s Legal Services Unit detailing any witnesses who gave contradictory or misleading evidence during the SABC Inquiry, saying the report was handed to her on 5 June.

11 June 2017: City Press reveals that the Guptas have been informed by the SABC interim board that the New Age Business Breakfast show has been cancelled forthwith.

12 June 2017: The SABC interim board announces that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been found guilty in a disciplinary hearing and that he has been dismissed. The Democratic Alliance calls on the interim board to proceed with the second disciplinary inquiry flowing from the Public Protector’s 2014 “When Governance and Ethics Fail”, as ordered by the Western Cape High Court in December 2016. Motsoeneng’s dismissal is welcomed by trade union MWASA, by Solidarity and by R2K.

13 June 2017: The chairperson of the interim SABC board Khanyisile Kweyama tells Parliament’s Communications Committee that there will be no golden handshake for Hlaudi Motsoeneng. She said he had no respect for his contract.

The Special Investigating Unit will also be probing an R11 million bonus paid to him last year, for a deal he negotiated with Multichoice.

13 June 2017: The SABC paid R20-million for the broadcasting of the Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age's breakfast briefings, in contradiction to earlier testimony before Parliament.

14 June 2017: Zola Majavu, former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s lawyer, says Motsoeneng will mount a legal challenge to his dismissal.

15 June 2017: The DA will submit a PAIA application to force the ANC to table in parliament  a report from Parliament's legal services unit identifying witnesses who gave contradictory or misleading evidence during the SABC inquiry.

19 June 2017: Citing tender procedure flouting the DA calls for the suspension of senior SABC executives like James Aguma and Acting CFO Audrey Raphela.

25 June 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng indicates that he wants to become President of South Africa and asks people to pray for him in this regard.

29 June 2017: The news breaks that SABC8 reporter Suna Venter has died as a result of ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ and the DA, through its shadow communication minister, Phumzile van Damme expresses its condolences.

30 June 2017: A day after the death of Suna Venter was announced, the ANC finally reacts but does not pay specific tribute to Venter, choosing instead to express regret over four media workers.

2 July 2017: Terry Baron publishes an obituary to Suna Venter in the Sunday Times

Suna Venter, who has died in Johannesburg at the age of 32, was one of the “SABC 8” journalists who were fired in 2016 for refusing to obey an instruction not to cover violent protests.

The instruction came from the de facto head of the SABC at the time, chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. When he heard about their stand he instructed his head of news to get rid of them.

After being fired in June, they launched a Constitutional Court application to have the SABC’s censorship policy declared unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, in July they won a Labour Court case against their dismissal and were reinstated.

That August, parliament’s portfolio committee on communications sat, but the journalists were refused permission to testify. The SABC was exonerated, and the committee thanked senior executives and the board for their excellent work.

The SABC 8 were vilified by ANC members of the committee as unruly, insubordinate employees who got what was coming to them.

After that the journalists amended their Constitutional Court application, asking the court to hold parliament in breach of the constitution for not holding the public broadcaster accountable, and to direct parliament to launch an inquiry.

Brake cables cut

Two weeks later, under growing public pressure and with the support of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, an ad hoc committee was appointed. It produced a devastating report that led to the minister being replaced, an interim SABC board being appointed and Motsoeneng dismissed.

It was a resounding victory for Venter and her colleagues, but they paid a high price, enduring a sustained campaign of intimidation.

Venter received many death threats. She was shot in the face with a pellet gun and had to have surgery to remove the pellets, which came close to hitting her in the eye. The brake cables of her car were cut, her tyres were slashed and her flat was broken into.

She went into hiding and her car was broken into while parked outside the secret location where she was hiding.

She was abducted from her flat at around 1am one day and taken to the Melville Koppies. After being told that “tonight you’re going to die where you were supposed to die” — an allusion to a recent incident when ceramic bullets were fired at the windscreen of her car while she was stopped at a nearby intersection — her abductor tied her to a tree and then left after setting the grass around her on fire.

Venter managed to use her cellphone to call 10111 but got no response. Then she phoned a police station, which said they’d send a van but never did. At 4am she sent a WhatsApp to her boss and SABC 8 colleague Foeta Krige, who rescued her and called an ambulance. Venter was bruised and badly traumatised, but determined not to back off.

“I have to tell myself I will not allow them to terrorise me. And I will not,” she said.

‘Were you brave?’

Venter was born on April 15 1985. She matriculated at Hoërskool Florida in Johannesburg with nine distinctions. After graduating from the University of Pretoria with a BA, she taught kindergarten before joining SABC Radio eight years ago as a producer of current affairs programmes.

Tattooed on her arm was the line “Were you brave?” It was a question she asked of herself every night before going to bed. And answered every day.

In 2009, when Gaza was being bombed by Israel, Venter spent eight days there visiting hospitals and delivering medical supplies and food with Gift of the Givers, while filing “live” reports for the SABC on what it was like for the civilians living in that hellhole.

In 2012 she sent reports from near the front line in Libya, which was being torn apart by civil war.

She wanted to report on the war in Syria. The SABC wouldn’t let her, so she took leave and, using her own money, went there via Egypt and Jordan. She did live crossings for the SABC from Damascus and Aleppo for two weeks.

Captured by troops

She was captured by government troops, interrogated for a couple of days and told to leave Syria.

In December last year, a couple of weeks after being tied to the tree at Melville Koppies, Venter went back to Syria.

She asked a Syrian doctor she met in Turkey to take her into the country. When he said it was too dangerous, Venter hired guides to smuggle her across the border from Turkey at night.

She wanted to go to Aleppo, but her guides said it was too dangerous and refused to take her. She left Syria after one night.

When she got back to Johannesburg the death threats continued.

Shortly before dying Venter was diagnosed with a cardiac condition, stress cardiomyopathy or “broken heart syndrome”. It is believed this was exacerbated, if not caused, by the trauma and long periods of unnatural stress she endured.

She was found dead in her flat in Windsor West, Johannesburg, on Thursday.


She is survived by her parents, Phillip and Christa Venter, and siblings Wilhelm and Tessa.


Picture: Gallo Images Suna Venter, a current affairs producer at SABC Radio, was attacked and persecuted.

4 July 2017: In a newspaper letter, Anton Alberts, a spokesman for the Freedom Front Plus, attributes the death of Suna Venter to ‘Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s SABC’ and calls for a thorough police investigation of her harassment:

What she went through to state her case is shocking and comes down to nothing less than extreme harassment. The blame for all of this can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s SABC.

A thorough police investigation needs to be done to determine what exactly caused the various acts against her, including instances of her being shot at.

4 July 2017: Foeta Krige lashes out at the white, apartheid-era SABC snouters who sucked up to Hlaudi Motsoeneng and did the SABC immense damage in the process

5 July 2017: The DA condemns President Jacob Zuma tardiness in tabling the report on SABC empoyees who lied to parliament during the Ad Hoc Committee investigation into SABC abuses.

7 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC refused to give live coverage to Suna Venter’s memorial service but eNCA did so.

10 July 2017: IOL reveals that concerns are growing about President Jacob Zuma’s tardiness in granting the SIU permission to investigate the SABC.

12 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the cash-strapped SABC came dangerously close to a blackout of its TV signals in South Africa after falling behind with its monthly payments to Sentech and has had to make a payment agreement with Sentech that it will start paying its arrears once it gets its next new mega-million rand bail-out from the South African government.

13 July 2017: The ANC in parliament, as part of its cover-up of SABC corruption, denies the Democratic Alliance's request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to a report from Parliament’s Legal Services Unit detailing any witnesses who might have lied to the ad hoc committee that investigated the South African Broadcasting Corporation board.

13 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC has been forcedto re-think one of the nefarious procedures which it had used to effectively enact its TV news censorship, the banning the broadcast of visuals depicting the destruction of property during public protests.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) found that the SABC's process to hastily update and push through its editorial policy in 2016 failed to properly and adequately involve public participation.

The SABC has been forced to return to and work from its outdated 2004 editorial policy for the past 9 months since 2004 was the last time Icasa approved an SABC editorial policy.

16 July 2017: City Press reveals that Lornavision, frustrated by the SABC’s refusal to pay it millions of rands for collecting outstanding TV licence fees from the public has gone to court  to force the broadcaster to pay this debt.

16 July 2017: City Press reveals that an SABC internal document details how the financially bankrupt public broadcaster offered a contracted company R5 000 for each guilty verdict delivered in disciplinary cases against 138 SABC employees accused of medical aid fraud.

The Media Workers’ Association of SA (Mwasa) introduced the leaked document to the CCMA proceedings in support of its argument that the SABC flouted the rules for guilty verdicts and dismissal of staff.

17 July 2017: The Times reveals that the SABC's interim board hopes to reclaim millions of rands paid to disgraced former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The board, appointed by President Jacob Zuma in March, plans to sue Motsoeneng for the return of a R11.4-million bonus he received in 2016. The bonus was linked to a deal that granted MultiChoice access to the public broadcaster's archives - without the authorisation of the then SABC board.

It is also thinking of laying criminal charges against the fired boss.

18 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that a third of SABC’s OB vehicles are no longer operational and the Corporation does not have the money to rectify the situation

19 July 2017: The standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) labels the sudden resignation of acting South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief executive officer James Aguma as an "admission of guilt". Aguma’s resignation is welcomed by the SACP, by OUTA and by the DA.

24 July 2017: Following the resignation of James Aguma the SABC appoints Nomsa Philiso and Thabile Dlamini as acting CEO and CFO respectively.

1 August 2017: SABC interim board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama tells parliament that the SABC is to withhold the pensions of its former COO‚ Hlaudi Motsoeneng‚ and CFO‚ James Aguma‚ in a bid to recover irregular benefits enjoyed during their tenure.

4 August 2017: The interim SABC board seeks to interdict the SABC pension fund from paying Hlaudi Motsoeneng an R11.5 million bonus saying  the decision was “irrational, irregular and without any factual or legal basis”. The bonus, according to evidence before the court, was as a result of Motsoeneng negotiating a R533m MultiChoice contract, which gave the private broadcaster access to to the SABC’s archives.

8 August 2017: Errol Horwitz, in a Biznews article, questions the conduct of Faith Muthambi.

11 August 2017: The SABC apologises on-air in its main TV news bulletin for a strap headline running at the bottom of the screen during a story about president hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma which referred to her as "Nkosazana Mini-Zuma". This was clearly deliberate and occurred on the SABC’s news channel 404 at 8 pm on 6 August

14 August 2017: The DA lobbies for public participation in SABC board interviews.

15 August 2017: Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng does not appear in the Labour Court in Johannesburg to answer as to why he should not be held personally liable for the wrongful dismissal of the SABC8 journalists.

No reasons were given on why Motsoeneng failed to present himself to the court.

The court also heard that attorneys from Ningiza Horner who were representing the SABC, Motsoeneng and former head of news Simon Tebele, withdrew on Friday.

Solidarity's Anton van der Bijl accused Motsoeneng of delaying the case. "We do not agree with the actions of the SABC respondents who continue to change their legal representation at the last minute, it's a delaying tactic," Van der Bijl said.

Judge David Gush ruled that both Motsoeneng and Tebele be present when the court proceedings resume on 6 September. The case would be heard in their absence should they fail to appear in court.

21 August 2017: Former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi tried to mislead Parliament - according to a report from Parliament's legal services.

The Democratic Alliance wants Speaker Baleka Mbete to lay criminal charges against Muthambi and the others who have been found to have misled or lied to the ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board.

22 August 2017: The ANC nominates Snuki Zikalala for the SABC board.

25 August 2017: The DA welcomes the signing of the proclamation allowing the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to begin a forensic investigation at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

30 August 2017: The portfolio committee on communications said itwill get legal advice on a report which said Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi and others might have misled Parliament.

31 August 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng declares that he is ‘more dangerous’ outside the SABC.

4 September 2017: The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) welcomes the fact that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will be starting its work of investigating the SABC.

5 September 2017: Solidarity posts a timeline of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s persection of the SABC 8.

6 September 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng blames Jimi Matthews for the wrongful dismissal of  the SABC8 journalists and says he should pay their legal fees.

6 September 2017: The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) tells the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) that it is interested in the final reports of all the cases being investigated by the SIU, particularly the report into the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

8 September 2017: The Labour Court in Johannesburg rules that the SABC‚ its former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and former acting head of news Simon Tebele split the legal costs incurred after seven journalists were fired from the public broadcaster. Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he does not regret his policy of not covering violent protests even though this was found to be illegal by ICASA.

14 September: The insolvent SABC announces that it needs a R3 billion bailout – more than double its last government bailout of R1.47-billion in 2009.

19 September 2017: The SABC says it can no longer afford to broadcast all national sport competitions.

20 September 2017: The DA announces that it will submit a PAIA application seeking information on the proposed R3 billion bailout for the SABC

20 September 2017: Solidarity says that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is appealing the Labour Court decision tat he be held partly liable for the SABC8’s court costs

27 September 2017: Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu says the SABC is insolvent and unable to pay its debts and its financial losses – R977 million –were more than double the previous year.

The successive losses in the three preceding years were:

  • R411 million in 2016
  • R395 million in 2015
  • R500 million in 2014

Makwetusaid that the irrregular expenditure totalled R4.4 billion but this could be an underestimate as the SABC had not provided information in this regard.

28 September 2017: Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says the SABC has a history of poor management and that politicians should not involve themselves in editorial decisions.

28 September 2017: Cosatu demands that all national sports matches be broadcast live on SABC TV saying that poor people could not afford DSTV. Earlier, the SABC said it could not afford this.

29 September 2017: The chairperson of the interim SABC board, Khanyisile Kweyama, says in her frank overview of the SABC’s annual report for 2016-17, that there was financial mismanagement of ‘terrifying magnitudes’.

29 September 2017: President Jacob Zuma delays appointing the SABC board.

30 September 2017: Vuyo Mvoko wins his dismissal case against the SABC in the SCA in Bloemfontein

2 October 2017: The DA criticises the fact that senior members of the SABC news staff have been summoned to the Presidency. They are acting head of news Kenneth Makatees and the national TV news editor Nyana Molete.

3 October 2017: The SACP says that the country must hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for plunging the SABC into a governance vacuum by his delay in appointing the SABC board

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