SABC news chief blasted over too much Malema
Johannesburg - The SABC has placed group chief executive of news, Phil Molefe, on special leave after apparently defying senior executives’ orders to stop giving too much air time to Julius Malema, a report said on Wednesday.
Molefe allegedly refused to obey orders given to him by SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo and the acting chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, this week, The Star wrote.
The newspaper said that the root of the conflict was Molefe’s decision to give full coverage to rallies addressed by the expelled ANC Youth League president.
The rallies were in Tzaneen and at Wits University - where Malema accused President Jacob Zuma of being a dictator.
Malema’s comments at the Wits rally forced the basis for the ANC national disciplinary committee under Derek Hanekom to suspend his membership of the ANC, his presidency of the ANC Youth League and his membership of the ANC’s Limpopo provincial executive committee member.
Not enough Zuma coverage
A source told The Star that Mokhobo and Motsoeneng allegedly went to Molefe’s office and demanded that he hand over his editorial diary to them.
Molefe allegedly refused to do so, saying it was against the public broadcaster’s editorial policy.
“This happened after the CEO complained that President Jacob Zuma was not getting enough coverage on TV.
The two also complained about a one-on-one interview Malema had on TV which attracted the highest viewership of the SABC in the past four years.
“The CEO is under pressure from people who appointed her. They believe that the SABC is back to the pre-Polokwane era when the chief executive, news, Snuki Zikalala, gave more coverage to Thabo Mbeki,” the source said.
2nd time on special leave
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that Molefe had been placed on special leave pending a discussion between him and Mokhobo. Kganyago emphasised that the special leave was just for that purpose and nothing else.
The Star understands that Mokhobo and Motsoeneng called a staff meeting on Tuesday morning and announced Molefe’s special leave to them.
This is the second time Molefe has been placed on special leave. He was initially placed on special leave in January, until March.