Makeleni goes berserk
REVERED SABC journalist Themba Makeleni, who is also a karateka, turned the corporation's newsroom into a karate ring when he kicked his female colleague Kenosi Khwaene almost to a pulp last week.
Makeleni, who is currently a producer of the Ilungelo Lakho show on SABC1, was suspended with immediate effect and will be hauled over the coals soon.
An SABC official who witnessed the rumpus but did not want to be named for fear of reprisal says Makeleni was pottering around in the newsroom singing when Khwaene, who produces the SABC2 programme Leihlo La Sechaba, teased him, saying he should stick to journalism as singing was not his forté.
Khwaene, who was working at her desk, repeated her statement when Makeleni continued to sing.
Makeleni went berserk and, like a kung-fu master, lifted Khwaene from the chair and dropped her on the floor.
It is alleged that he started kicking and trampling on her like an elephant. Khwaene was rescued by a colleague who heard her screaming for help.
The official says: "He kept on saying 'you are taking me for granted! You are taking me for granted!' as he kicked and stomped on her. You must remember that this man is a trained karateka but practising his techniques on a woman is totally uncalled for."
Makeleni was suspended with immediate effect and is due to appear before a disciplinary hearing soon.
"If I were him I'd have resigned with immediate effect. There is no way in hell he's going to get away with a warning on this one.
"He is a threat to his colleagues and everyone who works around him. He must go," says the official.
Khwaene disputes having teased Makeleni.
"What happened was that the day before the assault, I told him to stop singing as he was giving me a headache and I couldn't concentrate on my job. He just kept quiet.
"The following day I exclaimed when he started singing and he attacked me.
"I didn't sustain serious injuries and for personal reasons I'm not going to press any criminal charges against him," she says.
Khwaene says she is still surprised that he attacked her.
"It is so unlike him. I think he was stressed or emotionally not in a good space," she says.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirms Makeleni's suspension.
"They suspended him with immediate effect after the incident and a disciplinary hearing is under way," Kganyago says.
Makeleni could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.