Fri Oct 21 16:55:08 SAST 2016


By unknown | May 28, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE public broadcaster is in the news and it all looks like a bloody mess.

THE public broadcaster is in the news and it all looks like a bloody mess.

I am reminded of a former colleague, who after becoming disenchanted with the SABC referred to it as "that place in awkward park".

Well, things are pretty awkward if you consider the comedy of errors that has led to this new chapter in the history of the public broadcaster.

The appointed and subsequent "disappointment" of Phil Molefe is good and bad.

On the negative side it confirms yet again that the culture of political leaders vying for control and influence of this important institution is not over.

This is clearly a case of history repeating itself. All administrations before the current one, have tried to dominate key appointments at the broadcaster and thus influence the direction of news and public opinion.

It is now a known fact that chairperson of the board Ben Ngubane approved Molefe's appointment without the board reaching consensus.

This has since been reversed. It is alleged that Ngubane took a few board members into his confidence and informed them that President Jacob Zuma approved of the decision.

Of course nobody will admit this publicly but, true or not, there is enough confirmation that this decision was being imposed on the board and the South African public.

The reversal of the appointment is a very positive development in as far as it shows that for the first time in a long time the SABC has a board that is not prepared to dance to anyone's tune and will challenge any attempt to interfere in the execution of its duties.

How refreshing for them to shout "not in our name".

I have nothing against Molefe personally. In fact, during my three-year stint at SABC Africa I only found out in the last year that he was my boss.

There were no meetings or feedback on our work and basically we all had a great time coming and going as we pleased.

It is only after the SABC management team, made up of Peter Matlare and Solly Mokoetle and the news division led by Barney Mthombothi and Mathata Tsedu, appointed Jimmy Matthews as head of TV news andbequeathed Molefe's office to him, that the latter was forced to come down to the second floor and be among the people he leads.

And at that time he was nothing but the perfect gentleman - always giving a word of praise for work done well, making some suggestion from time to time and not interfering with our work.

Mokoetle was the then SABC chief operations officer and he did not think Molefe was good enough to occupy the coveted post of head of news.

Word has it that Mokoetle was so contemptuous of Molefe that he did not think he even deserved the post at SABC Africa.

Anybody who has worked for the SABC will tell you that SABC Africa was at best the reject of the organisation or at worst the unwanted stepchild.

Those of us who started there were determined to work our way up and out of it.

So now that he is chief executive of the broadcaster and approved Molefe's appointment in a letter, Mokoetle should tell us what makes Molefe a perfect choice now after he was overlooked for the same position back then?

Unless he has found new respect and affection for Molefe, this appointment does not make sense.

The reversal of Molefe's appointment is a vicious slap in the face and an emphatic rejection.

When is Molefe going to get the message? Over the last decade he has been shoved around, relegated and overlooked for the position he once held in his days of glory.

The writing is on the wall, bro, get the message and run.

It is not just this board that has rejected Molefe. Previous managers and board members have either relegated him to less influential posts, appointed him in an acting capacity or created fancy portfolios especially for him just so he can have a job.

Is there no life for him outside the SABC?

Molefe is behaving like an abused lover who keeps returning to the source of abuse again and again.


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