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‘A few disgruntled employees don’t speak for the workforce’

SABC's COO says the concerns raised by some staff are not a reflection of majority of staff members.

SABC headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng says there will be no transformation of the SABC.

He says complaints by some journalists about controversial new policy decisions are not a reflection of how the majority of staff members feel.

An urgent staff meeting was called today where it was announced that James Aguma has been appointed as acting CEO after Jimi Matthews resigned yesterday.

It follows a letter penned by three senior reporters, describing working conditions, following a series of controversial policy decisions taken by Motsoeneng.

Three other SABC employees have been suspended for questioning policies, which prohibit the airing of destruction of state property.

Motsoeneng, however, says a few disgruntled employees don't speak for the workforce.

"Some people are coughing, which is a good sign but they can't infect others with the flu because people of the SABC are very happy, I think the board member just explained now to say that people are very excited (sic)."

SABC CONDEMNS CRITICS

At the same time, the SABC has come out strongly against its detractors, insisting there's no crisis at the public broadcaster, that there's no censorship and that it remains unapologetic for instituting disciplinary action against employees who don't adhere to policy.

Motsoeneng says, "There's no revolt within the organisation. SABC is not five or 10 people because you as media I don't know whether you've your own agenda about the SABC (sic)."

Motsoeneng insists that disciplinary processes will continue.

"You adhere to the policy of the SABC, you adhere to the instruction of the SABC, if you can't it's a pity. There are two ways, you move before we come to you."

He says work at the SABC will continue normally, including its election coverage, saying there will be no negotiation for transformation at the public broadcaster.

Earlier, chairman Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe praised Motsoeneng for what says is a sterling job.

Maguvhe insisted the SABC is not in crisis and he has commended Motsoeneng for what he describes as "his sterling work", in terms of securing the necessary funds in order for the public broadcaster to carry out its mandate.

"The only people who spread these rumours, are trying detract us from the noble idea of fulfilling the mandate. I am appealing to detractors to leave the SABC alone."