'Lucky escape' for veteran sports presenter Cebo Manyaapelo

Picture credit: Gallo Images/Drum/Fani Mahuntsi.
Picture credit: Gallo Images/Drum/Fani Mahuntsi.

Veteran SABC TV sports commentator and radio presenter Cebo Manyaapelo was lucky to escape with his life after spending more than two months in hospital with a severe illness.

According to one colleague who visited him regularly while he was admitted to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, the Motsweding FMpresenter had suffered a stroke which had also left him without speech.

Fortunately, Manyaapelo has now recovered fully and was discharged from hospital on Thursday.

The former Radio BOP sports presenter confirmed that he had been sick for some time but said details of his ailment were "not newsworthy".

He also said he was hospitalised between April and May and now goes to the hospital for regular checkups.

"Yes I can confirm that I have not been well and was in hospital for some time. However, I have been home after I was discharged in May. I only go to Baragwanath Hospital for checkups," Manyaapelo said.

He said he was aware that he was not the only SABC staffer who spent time in hospital.

Manyaapelo said sports presenter Lindani Mbense was also admitted to hospital suffering from depression following his dismissal from the SABC.

Mbense allegedly spent two weeks in hospital for a stress-related illness.

Manyaapelo said he was also touched by the death of fellow sports journalist and analyst Mzimasi Mgebisa, who died at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital on Tuesday.

Mgebisa, 40, died of kidney failure after spending a few weeks at the hospital.

Mgebisa's memorial service was held at the SABC on Friday where drama unfolded as former employees used the platform to attack SABC management.

Former sports presenter Walter Mokoena accused SABC management of having contributed to the health condition that led to Mgebisa's death.

Mokoena accused management of firing Mgebisa from the public broadcaster in February and said his health took a knock after that.

"All I said is that the chap [Mgebisa] was suspended in February and was sitting at home with no income and management had no interest in finalising his matter.

"The illness that Mgebisa succumbed to was a consequence of what he was going through at work.

"His death was from a stress-related illness and that shows that he took strain from what was happening to him.

"I said his situation was like black on black persecution because he was suspended by the current SABC leadership who happen to be black.

"Someone had to say all those things and I happened to be that person," said Mokoena.

Mgebisa, who previously worked for Saturday Star and Sunday Times, will be buried in Centurion, Tshwane, on Thursday.

Mbense said that after hearing of Mgebisa's death, he dared the SABC to hold a memorial service for him.

"After I received the news of his passing I sent an SMS to a colleague telling him that Mgebisa won't be the last person to die of a stress-related illness.

"There's still going to be more people dying because of what the SABC did to us.

"They don't know what's at stake: people's cars and houses will be repossessed and then they will say we are irresponsible.

"Then the next thing they would want to stand at his memorial service and say what a great man he was, forgetting how badly they treated him. They fired him," said Mbense.

When asked about his alleged admission at hospital because of depression, Mbense said he was stuck at home with no salary after his dismissal and said stress was now part of his daily routine.

"I have now decided that if I want to live and avoid strokes, I must just forget about the SABC and move on," he said.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: "We don't comment on speculation.

"We released a statement sending our condolences to Mgebisa's family."