New boss for SABC news

2010-05-20 15:07

Veteran journalist Phil Molefe has been appointed the SABC’s head

of news and current affairs, the public broadcaster’s board announced


Molefe got the nod ahead of Business Day political editor Karima

Brown and former SABC television news head Jimi Matthews despite claims that he

would not be made permanent on the job he acted in since Snuki Zikalala’s

departure in April last year.

Brown and Matthews were among the frontrunners for the


Former SABC political editor Abbey Makoe was described by an

insider as a “lukewarm candidate who chickened out”.

Molefe came under fire from the Broadcast, Electronic, Media and

Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) for demoting presenter Krivani Pillay at the

SABC’s flagship news and current affairs radio station, SAfm.

Bemawu president, Hannes du Buisson, said Pillay, who had been

hosting SAfm’s PM Live since 2007, was removed without reason.

Du Buisson said: “She was called and told she would no longer be

doing the programme,” adding that the orders came from Molefe.

Pillay was ordered to produce shows and not present them.

Bemawu filed a dispute with the SABC’s employee relations general

manager Keobokile Mosweu.

Du Buisson said: “There’s unhappiness with how Molefe is dealing with


Molefe was recently elected vice-president of the Commonwealth

Broadcasting Association during its 28th general conference in


He will report to group chief executive officer Solly Mokoetle and

be responsible for providing credible, professional, reliable and quality news

and current affairs programmes, and protect the SABC’s editorial independence

and integrity.

Before his appointment, staff members had nicknamed the SABC

Hollywood, because of numerous senior managers in acting positions.

These include Molefe before his appointment, acting chief operating

officer Charlotte Mampane, and acting commercial enterprises group executive

Anton Heunis who replaced suspended former acting chief executive Gab


Last month, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago claimed there were

individuals campaigning against Molefe after employees claimed he (Molefe) was

campaigning for the position.

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