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Johannesburg - The battle for control of the SABC took a nasty turn on Sunday, with accusations and counter-accusations flying between board chairman Ben Ngubane and the SACP.
The party accused Ngubane of “singularly failing to provide cohesive leadership” at the public broadcaster.
“The quality and content of the SABC’s broadcasting show a continuing decline in standards… The business model has opened it up to corporate capture and to the promotion of a shallow, bling-oriented culture,” the SACP said in a statement.
The SACP’s statements came in the wake of reports that seasoned journalist Mike Siluma had resigned from his position as acting chief operating officer (COO) on Friday - three days after he was appointed.
His appointment and now news of his sudden resignation came in the wake of the demotion of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as COO. Motsoeneng refused to comment on his axing.
“Underlying all of these problems, we believe, is the plundering of the resources of the public broadcaster by various factions,” the SACP said.
The party called for a full forensic audit of the SABC.
The SACP added that the failure to implement the planned 24-hour news channel was a blunder.
Ngubane hit back on Sunday, accusing the SACP of using personal grudges to attack him and for settling political scores.
“They (SACP) have not forgiven me for the board’s decision of relieving Mrs Phumelele Nzimande from her position of chief people officer.
“I would like to remind them that the collapse of the SABC’s financials, which necessitated the SABC to ask for a government guarantee, happened during the leadership of Mrs Nzimande and her colleagues,” Ngubane said.
Phumelele is the wife of SACP general secretary and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande.
Ngubane said the SACP’s accusations were unfounded.
“The SABC is now stable and has more audiences and good programming, as witnessed by the audience numbers during the recent Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) tournament.”
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago did not comment on Siluma’s reported resignation, saying he had not been notified officially about it.
Attempts to get comment from Siluma were unsuccessful as his phone was continually on voicemail.