SABC Chief Executive Officer Madoda Mxakwe

JOHANNESBURG - The SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) on Tuesday refuted media reports that some of its executives have resigned, following a scathing letter to its board from Communications and Telecommunications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams opposing suggested job cuts.

SABC spokeswoman Neo Nomodu said the Presidency was the relevant authority to comment on matters concerning the board.

''The SABC has noted media reports speculating that three members of the SABC board have resigned. The relevant and correct authority to comment on SABC board resignations is the Presidency," said Nomodu.

"The SABC can, however, confirm that its Chief Executive Officer Madoda Mxakwe has not resigned and therefore speculations on his resignation are false.''    

Media reports on Tuesday said at least three board members have stepped down. 

The cash-strapped public broadcaster is facing resistance to plans to retrench at least 2,000 staffers to cut escalating costs and stay afloat. 

Following periods of wasteful expenditure and an ineffective board, the SABC has emerged technically insolvent and owes service providers hundreds of millions of rand. 

Last month, Mxakwe said the SABC cannot fulfil its financial obligations and has no other alternative but to cut jobs.

Mxakwe's plan to retrench workers has been slammed by political parties and unions. 

The leaked letter Ndabeni-Abrahams wrote to board chairman Bongumusa Makhathini at the weekend worsened matters at the public broadcaster. 

The newly appointed minister told Makhathini she will ''desist from all interactions with the board'', accusing the directors of no longer working in the interests of the public broadcaster and the country. She said she would refer the matter to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

On Sunday, Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme said Ndabeni-Abrahams was welcome to resign if ''she is not up to the task''.

''At first instance, while the communications minister does indeed have an oversight role over the SABC, she does not, however, have the power to give instructions to the board," said Van Damme. 

"The fact that she has decided to 'desist from all engagements with the SABC board' because it refused to take her instruction to halt retrenchments, is puerile and in violation of the SABC’s independence."  

- African News Agency (ANA)