Johannesburg - SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) CEO Madoda Mxakwe told the state capture commission of inquiry that there were certain board members who interfered in the editorial affairs and business dealings at the public broadcaster.
"There is indeed interference by some board members in editorial and SABC business dealings...we really cannot continue like this. I would not want to go into the details, chairperson, but I can confirm that there are some board members making our jobs difficult by interfering. We have raised this with the board that the manner we are supposed to do our work, is being stifled by these members. It is really untenable," said Mxakwe.
According to weekend media reports, Mxakwe, outgoing COO Graig van Rooyen and CFO Yolande van Biljon wrote to the board complaining about the board's interference. The Sunday Times reported that the three responded to a letter to board chairman Bongumusa Makhathini, after they first complained in June.
The board had asked the executives to detail the instances of interference, and the three mentioned instances such as a state-owned enterprise sending an email to a producer demanding an interview for its CEO, who is also an SABC board member. They also alleged that board members used meetings to demand free tickets for events and that a board member suggested editors give ministers free access to the SABC in return for "political mileage".
Mxakwe gave testimony on how the cash-strapped public broadcaster was unable to pay service providers, and could only pay salaries month on month. A turnaround strategy had been implemented and managed to save the SABC almost R1 billion in the financial year.