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Ramaphosa concerned about developments at SABC

The president has accepted the resignations of four SABC board members, who’ve all submitted their letters in the space of just a week.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa says he’s concerned about the latest developments at the embattled South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The president has accepted the resignations of four SABC board members, who’ve all submitted their letters in the space of just a week.

On Wednesday, Eyewitness News revealed the contents of the resignation letters of Khanyisile Kweyama, Krish Naidoo and John Matisonn, who mostly raised issues about the board’s decision to go ahead with retrenchments.

EWN has now seen Mathata Tsedu’s letter. Tsedu is also leaving because of the issues facing the SABC.

In his resignation letter, Tsedu says he accepted the appointment to the board on the understanding that resources would be made available to fulfil the boards’ responsibilities.

But he says the financial crunch facing the public broadcaster is getting worse by the day, and efforts by the board to secure a government guarantee has yielded nothing in the 18 months.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko says such developments are worrying the president.

“The president, obviously, is concerned about the issues that are coming up at the SABC. He’s looking at the issues of the guarantees that the public broadcaster has requested, but most importantly also the implementation of Section 189 which looks at retrenchments.”

Meanwhile, these resignations have been accepted on a day when it emerged the board is being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit over the irregular awarding of a multimillion-rand contract.

The SABC board’s spokesperson Tebogo Malatji is adamant this investigation has nothing to do with the resignations.

‘RAMAPHOSA IS TO BLAME FOR SABC MESS’

There are calls from political parties and civil society organisations for Ramaphosa to urgently intervene at the SABC and stop the imminent collapse of the board.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi says Ramaphosa is to blame for developments at the public broadcaster.

“The blame of the crisis at the SABC has to be placed square in the hands of the government of Ramaphosa, which is not giving the public broadcaster a guarantee. We wrote to Ramaphosa, requesting him to intervene. We’ve been calling on the intervention in terms of the SABC guarantee and there has been silence.”

“It’s very clear that there’s a deliberate strategy by the government to dissolve the board. We have to find out why that is,” says William Bird, the director of Media Monitoring Africa.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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