I back no political party: Molefe
Johannesburg - The reported reasons behind the SABC's decision to place head of news Phil Molefe on special leave were unfounded, he said on Thursday.
"I wish to place it on record that I do not back any political side or party across the political spectrum," Molefe said in a statement.
On Wednesday, the ANC Youth League questioned the SABC's decision, claiming it was because Molefe had given suspended ANCYL president Julius Malema too much airtime, as reported by The Star newspaper.
"It is becoming clearer now that [chief executive officer Lulama] Makhobo was appointed to pursue factional agendas in the SABC, and not fulfil the public broadcasting mandate of the SABC," the league said.
Molefe denied he had favoured any political group. "As a professional, my role is to ensure that all sides of a story are reflected in news output," he said.
On Tuesday, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that Molefe had been placed on special leave pending the outcome of a meeting with Mokhobo.
Kganyago would not comment on the reasons behind the move, which drew widespread reaction from various groups.
The United Democratic Movement called for Molefe's reinstatement.
Leader Bantu Holomisa said it was "funny" how the same SABC senior management members always talked about the editorial independence of its news department when opposition parties complained about it being used to promote the ANC.
The Democratic Alliance said the reports that Molefe was put on special leave because of Malema confirmed that the SABC's editorial independence was under threat.
The Communication Workers’ Union welcomed the decision to put Molefe on special leave, claiming he had a history of "being extremely hostile to the trade union movement".