The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has accused the South African Football Association (SAFA) of interfering in the human resources and operational affairs of the public broadcaster after they came out in support of Robert Marawa.
Marawa's most recent stint at the national broadcaster came to an end last week when his Marawa Sports Worldwide show that was carried by 2000FM and MetroFM was canned.
In a statement issued to media on Tuesday, the SABC said it had "noted with serious concern the misleading and ill-informed media statement issued by the South African Football Association regarding the conclusion of Robert Marawa’s contract with the public broadcaster."
"The SABC regards this as an attempt by SAFA to interfere with the human resources and operational affairs of the public broadcaster. SAFA’s statement and its intention to meet with the SABC on this issue is unprecedented and in direct conflict with the SABC’s independence, which is guaranteed by law," the statement added.
"It is quite clear that SAFA has issued a media statement without regard to the full details of the matter. The SABC reiterates that Robert Marawa's three-year contract was not terminated but ended as per the terms of his contract. Robert Marawa was duly notified of the non-renewal of his contract three months before it came to an end.
The SABC strongly rejects SAFA’s assertion that the non-renewal of Robert Marawa’s contract is somehow connected with an attempt to restrict the expression of his views. SAFA’s comment in this regard is baseless and without foundation. It is disappointing that the organisation representing South African football has allowed itself to become part of the misinformation surrounding this issue."
The public broadcaster assures the South African public that it will continue to discharge its mandate without fear or favour, whilst ensuring that the interests of the organisation are protected," the statement ended.
Earlier on Tuesday, SAFA said Marawa has been an excellent contributor to football and it will approach the SABC to discuss the matter.
"Robert Marawa has over the years excelled as a major contributor to the analysis, insight and debate of football on the African continent and global stage," the SAFA statement said.
"His shows have regularly attracted wide-range expert views and opinions that evidently contributed to the growth of South African football.
"Marawa has a proven track record both nationally and continentally and has delivered major service to both local, CAF and FIFA platforms.
"SAFA, as the football governing body in the country, will approach SABC to discuss this key aspect to the future of football in this country."
In the statement, SAFA said Marawa's removal was an impediment to freedom of speech and diversity of opinions.
"It is unfortunate that as we celebrate the right to freedom of speech and diversity of opinions, the main broadcasters in the country SuperSport and SABC find that such differing and diverse opinions are not to be tolerated on their platforms," the statement said.
"South Africa and its broadcast platforms must show greater tolerance to the diversity of opinions."