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Communications Minister Faith Muthambi fires back at former CEO Jimi Matthews over ‘suspicious’ timing of SABC resignation

The department of communications has slammed former acting SABC chief executive Jimi Matthews over the timing of his resignation, labelling it “suspect”.

Matthews resigned suddenly on Monday, citing a “corrosive atmosphere” at the broadcaster and describing his “compromised values”.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the ministry expressed its surprise at the public disclosure of the resignation.

“The minister of communications, Ms Faith Muthambi has noted with concern the sudden resignation of the former SABC acting group chief executive officer, Mr Jimi Matthews on social media,” the statement read.

“Mr Matthews was appointed to this position because of his credentials to steer the SABC towards a commendable direction.

“It is unfortunate that Mr Matthews decided to turn his resignation into a social media issue, without raising his concerns internally, nor communicating his concerns with the ministry of communications.”

New acting chief executive, ‘no revolt’
The decision to quit found support with Pippa Green, former SABC head of radio news and board member.

The state broadcaster moved quickly to appoint James Aguma as new acting group chief executive.

Board chairperson Mbulaheni Maguvhe on Tuesday said that there was “no revolt at the SABC”.

Three SABC journalists were suspended last week and the organisation has been criticised for its decision not to show footage of violent protests.

“The timing of his resignation is suspect. As the ministry of communications we have full confidence in the board of the SABC; that it will calm the situation and steer the broadcaster into the right direction. A stable and functional SABC is in the interest of all of us. We believe that normality will prevail.”

The ministry criticised some individuals for “seeking to politicise” SABC matters, saying it was unfortunate that some were looking to score political points.

“The SABC coverage plan for the local government elections 2016 is still in place and will be covered as scheduled,” said the ministry. – News24

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