SABC faces new crisis - Ructions as top officials quit
THE wheels are coming off at the SABC after the public broadcaster was plunged further into "catastrophic" crisis with the resignation of two top executives.
Sunday World can reveal that group executive (Risk) Itani Tseisi and Lerato Nage who, until February was acting chief financial officer, tendered their resignations this week.
Tseisi was based in the office of Group CEO Lulama Mokhobo, who tried to stop him from resigning. This sparked a disagreement between her and controversial acting chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who insisted that he had already accepted Tseisi's resignation and it could therefore not be reversed.
While Tseisi's decision to quit caused a storm, Nage's resignation was even more dramatic. Disregarding the normal 31 days' notice, Nage decided to serve 24 hours' notice, which left tongues wagging in SABC corridors.
The latest resignations come during the week when Mokhobo sought to dispel her image as a "Sleeping-beauty princess" and embarked on what insiders describe as a serious purge of those she sees as directly or indirectly undermining her authority.
This follows the claim of a dramatic fallout between her and Motsoeneng after they locked horns over other issues.
Sources fear that her latest action could trigger further turmoil at the corporation.
This has seen some board members privately expressing a loss of confidence in her ability to run the SABC, despite chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane putting on a brave face of support.
Motsoeneng has been Mokhobo's right-hand man all along and some say the de facto chief executive as he has appeared to make all the major decisions and announcements.
Without formal qualifications, Motsoeneng's populist style of management is said to have finally angered Mokhobo.
The dramatic fallout between the two most senior SABC executives happened three weeks ago as Mokhobo continued her journey of purging the SABC management of perceived rivals.
We have it on good authority that she called a board member - whose name is known to us - and another senior official into her office and asked them to help her find ways to dismiss Motsoeneng.
Mokhobo had allegedly complained about Motsoeneng's many unauthorised executive decisions and pronouncements that have had costly financial implications.
An official then informed Motsoeneng of Mokhobo's intention to jettison him from the SABC.
The SABC has denied that Mokhobo attempted to have Motsoeneng dismissed.
"This allegation is not true. Mokhobo is the driver of the organisation and Motsoeneng is the engine," says SABC group communications head Kaizer Kganyago.
"I've checked with all the people mentioned above and none of them know anything about the allegations," he says.
"Obviously the people who are making these false allegations would really like to see the SABC being unstable by creating things that do not exist," he said.