Fourth member resigns from embattled board

Media and communications consultant David Niddrie is the fourth member to resign from the beleaguered South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board, according to board sources.

Niddrie’s letter of resignation was sent to the SABC on October 13, following those of board members Barbara Masekela, Magatho Mello and deputy chairperson Felleng Sekha over the past 10 weeks.

Niddrie declined to comment, but responded to an SMS requesting confirmation that he had resigned by saying: “Check your source.”

Sekha recently told the Mail & Guardian from her hospital bed, where she was recovering from a diabetic coma, that she would withdraw her resignation, as the relationship between board chair Ben Ngubane and the board had improved.

At the past two meetings Ngubane had not treated board members like the “enemy”, said Sekha, and she believed they would now be able to work together.

A breakdown in relations between Ngubane and the rest of the board occurred after he controversially appointed Phil Molefe as head of news on a five-year contract, without the approval of the rest of the board.

The now-suspended chief executive, Solly Mokoetle, backed Ngubane in his appointment of Molefe. But Sekha confirmed this week that she had not withdrawn her resignation after being discharged from hospital.

“I have never formally withdrawn my resignation, so it still stands,” said Sekha.

“The circumstances that led to my resignation have not changed, so there is no reason for me to withdraw it.”

Sekha declined to elaborate, but the events of the past week are known to have heightened tension.

Some board members are seeking to remove acting chief executive Robin Nicholson from his post and others are known to be unhappy about the incessant infighting.

In a previous interview Ngubane told the M&G that infighting in the board amounted to “exceptional circumstances” that warranted his action in appointing Molefe.

“The process of selection had broken down completely, so I had to take a decision in the interests of the organisation,” he said.

“I didn’t want it to happen like this. But it was clear in my mind that Phil was tops.”

Glynnis Underhill

Glynnis Underhill

Glynnis Underhill has been in journalism for more years than she cares to remember. She loves a good story as much now as she did when she first started. The only difference is today she hopes she is giving something back to the country. Read more from Glynnis Underhill

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