Frans Matlala appointed as new SABC chief executive

Frans Matlala has been appointed as the SABC’s new chief executive officer, saying he needed to “acknowledge the honour I’ve been given”.

Matlala, a consultant to the public broadcaster for project management and strategic advisory services, has been a keen supporter of the SABC’s controversial and famously matric-less chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The appointment comes almost a year and a half after Lulama Mokhobo quit abruptly in February 2014, just 14 months into her five-year contract, without explanation.

That left Hlaudi Motsoeneng in charge as the next highest ranking SABC executive, despite being embroiled in litigation over his appointment and implicated in a scathing report by the public protector for maladministration, corruption and abuse of power at the SABC.

Like Eskom, SAA and the South African Post Office, the SABC’s new head faces a daunting and herculean task to try and rescue the struggling broadcaster, which came to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

Ninth since 2009
Matlala becomes the SABC’s ninth chief executive, including those appointed in an acting capacity in the position for a period of time, of the public broadcaster since 2009.

Several SABC chief executives have left before their term ended during the past six years. Some received a golden handshake, others took legal action on termination of their contracts.

The appointment of a permanent chief executive at the SABC is crucial to reattaining stability at the beleaguered public broadcaster.

Concern has been growing over the past two years regarding SABC news coverage, the broadcaster’s loss of several board members and former chairperson Ellen Tshabalala stepping down in December after she was exposed for lying about non-existent tertiary qualifications.

Parliament in April again raised the ongoing concern of SABC’s audience share, which is flat at 53%.

The SABC has wasted R3.39-billion in irregular spending in three years, according to the auditor general, and has received four consecutive annual qualified audits so far from the auditor general. –

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