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SABC bosses try to 'ambush' Ramaphosa at cabinet lekgotla

Board chair Bongumusa Makhathini.
Board chair Bongumusa Makhathini.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

The SABC's financial crisis has become so dire that board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini and the new CEO Madoda Mxakwe allegedly tried to "ambush" President Cyril Ramaphosa at this week's cabinet lekgotla to ask for his intervention.

They were, however, told to make an official appointment with the president's office after camping at the lekgotla venue in Pretoria for eight hours without getting an opportunity with the president.

The spokesperson for Ramaphosa, Khusela Diko, said: "Yes it is true, there was a request by the leadership of the SABC to pay a courtesy call to the president. As it is always the case, such would have been difficult to achieve given the hectic schedule of the lekgotla, and so the [meeting] didn't materialise."

"Further, we are aware that the matter they wanted to discuss was resolved."

Sources say Makhathini and Mxakwe were hoping to convince Ramaphosa to issue an instruction to the Treasury to finalise SABC's request for a R2-billion government bailout to rescue its operations.

The duo, according to a senior staffer privy to details about their trip, had arrived at the venue at 8am, only to leave at 4pm after they were advised by one of the presidency officials that Ramaphosa was not going to be able to see them.

SABC's new CEO Madoda Mxakwe.
SABC's new CEO Madoda Mxakwe.

The spokesperson for SABC, Kaizer Kganyago, could not confirm the attempts by the duo to try and "ambush" the president.

"The board and the executive are exploring all avenues to deal with the liquidity challenge that we are facing, and we can confirm that neither the board chairperson nor the CEO has met with the president," said Kganyago.

Sunday World understands the trip to Pretoria took place a day after the SABC met with PSL executives to iron out differences on the contentious issue of PSL radio rights.

Last week saw the parties announcing that the SABC would stop broadcasting PSL matches due to disagreements on their new terms.

Sunday World understands the PSL delegation, led by chairperson Irvin Khoza, acting CEO Mato Madlala and executive member Kaizer Motaung, was summoned to Luthuli House to give their side of the story.

It is understood the ANC was worried the battle would affect its electoral prospects as they had been inundated with requests from citizens to intervene. ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed the meeting between the ANC top six officials and the PSL.

Another meeting took place on Tuesday, where it is understood that Khoza allegedly said the PSL was prepared to give the SABC another chance without raising any expectations of monetary payments.

The public broadcaster has since asked to be given a month to deal with their internal issues and agreed to renew their contract with the premier league.

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