'Jimi Matthews’s stormy departure tells of deteriorating situation at SABC'

Matthews resigned yesterday saying the corrosive atmosphere has impacted negatively on his moral judgement.

FILE: A screengrab showing acting SABC chief executive officer Jimi Matthews.

CAPE TOWN - The Right to Know (R2K) Campaign says the stormy departure of Acting South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Executive Jimi Matthews is telling of the deteriorating situation at the public broadcaster.

In his resignation letter, Matthews cited the " corrosive atmosphere" at the SABC and said for months he had compromised his values.

News of his decision to quit has drawn widespread reaction, but the SABC's management has largely remained silent.

The R2K Campaign says Matthews had been complicit in the broadcaster's decline, and supported COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, under "whose watch the crisis at the SABC has reached unprecedented levels."

It says the crisis is rooted in systematic attempts by the political elite to undermine and control key public institutions.

In a statement, the SOS Coalition says what is clear from Matthews' letter is that "there is truth to the reports of a serious clampdown on the state-owned national public broadcaster, and a deliberate misinformation campaign, the likes of which we haven't seen since under the apartheid era."

The coalition's national coordinator Sekoetlane Phamodi says, "What we are really seeing is the state capture of the SABC and the capture of the SABC by sectarian forces which have their own interests to advance and not the nations interests."

Phamodi has called on staff at the SABC to go on strike demanding Motsoeneng's immediate suspension.


The ANC says Matthews should have raised his concern about the public broadcaster internally instead of publicly bashing the SABC.

In his resignation letter, Matthews said what was happening at the public broadcaster was wrong and that he could no longer be part of it.

The ANC's national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa has weighed in, describing Matthews as cowardice and opportunistic.

"It's clear that there may have been some person who inspired him to do the things that he has done, to put the name of the SABC in disrepute and to allow himself to be a tool to bash the SABC."