SABC chair and deputy resign

SABC board chairperson Ben Ngubane has resigned. (Gallo)

SABC board chairperson Ben Ngubane has resigned. (Gallo)

SABC radio news quoted communications spokesperson Siya Qoza as saying on Monday that President Jacob Zuma needed to decide whether to accept the resignations or not.

"Mrs Pule has been quite concerned about the goings on at the board at the SABC," said Qoza.

"In terms of the process ... It will depend on what the president says and what happens to the SABC board. It will basically be determined by whether the president accepts or declines the resignations".

On February 26, the broadcaster announced that the acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng had been "released from his duties".
It said that Mike Siluma, a veteran journalist and head of radio news and current affairs, had been appointed to the acting position.

But shortly after that, Ngubane was quoted the Mail & Guardian as saying that Motsoeneng had been reinstated. He said this decision had been made by Ka Plaatjie. This prompted the SABC board to issue a media statement saying that "the report ... is regrettable as neither the chairperson nor the deputy chairperson nor both have the power or authority to unilaterally change a board".

The SABC board also said it would seek clarity from Ngubane and Plaatjie regarding the newspaper report. Since then, Communications Minister Dina Pule has asked Parliament to "urgently" review the fitness of the SABC board.

Unions threaten to strike
Meanwhile, a strike looms as the broadcaster seeks to reverse salary increases awarded in December last year under Motsoeneng.

Decreasing the wage bill was a key condition of the loan guarantee given by the treasury to the broadcaster when it sought to borrow R1-billion from Nedbank in 2009. But the SABC introduced a ''salary anomalies project" that resulted in about 1 230 employees receiving salary increases.

This added about R45-million to the wage bill. Last month, the broadcaster wrote to some of the employees who had received raises and informed them that it had "delimited" the record of the salary anomalies project and that increases would be withheld until further notice.

Matankana Mothapo of the Communication Workers’ Union of South Africa said they would not allow the reversals, because employees had already made financial commitments based on the assurance given by the broadcaster.

Mothapo said a three-day meeting held about two weeks ago between union leadership, employees and management failed to reach a resolution, but further talks would be held. Tuwani Gumani of the Media Workers' Association of South Africa, which is not recognised by the SABC but insists that it has members at the broadcaster, said the union would also demand that the salaries be retained. – Sapa

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