SABC news head put on 'special leave'

SABC head of news and current affairs Phil Molefe has been placed on special leave with immediate effect, the public broadcaster announced

The news was announced to shocked staff by group chief executive Lulama Mokhobo, accompanied by acting chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Mokhobo said Molefe was placed on leave "pending the outcome of discussions with him". This suggests the SABC is engaged in talks with Molefe to buy him out of his employment contract as has become the norm at the parastatal.

Insiders claim Molefe is accused of being the source of information in recent articles published by Sowetan and Sunday World about Motsoeneng.

"They had been wanting to get rid off him for some time now. They had been after his blood," said a source who wished to remain anonymous.

"They say they suspect him of leaking the story to Sunday World."

Some senior former and current SABC executives have recently asked public protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate Motsoeneng's alleged misdemeanours and his controversial rise in the SABC management ranks despite not having a matric certificate.

Motsoeneng is said to earn R1.7-million per annum, excluding perks.

Head of television news Jimi Matthews will replace Molefe as acting head of news and current affairs

Molefe declined to comment on his suspension.