The SABC headquarters at Auckland Park, Johannesburg File Photo: Cara Viereckl

Cape Town - The Inkatha Freedom Party on Monday welcomed the resignations of SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane and his deputy Thami ka Plaatjie.

“Tasked with steering the SABC board and the organisation at large to stability and good governance, Mr Ngubane and Mr Ka Plaatjie failed while at the helm of the board,” IFP spokeswoman Liezl van der Merwe said.

It was clear that in the midst of an ever-growing crisis at the public broadcaster these men had shown real leadership by taking responsibility for the crisis, she said.

However, their resignations would further destabilise the SABC.

“At this stage, the IFP is of the opinion that there is no need for the board to be dissolved and that capable, passionate individuals must be found to take the public broadcaster forward.

“We will need individuals who will put the interests and the stability of the public broadcaster first.”

The IFP believed it was important that all future appointments to the SABC board were depoliticised, Van der Merwe said.

The SABC reported earlier on Monday that Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie had resigned.

SABC radio news quoted communications department spokesman Siya Qoza as saying President Jacob Zuma needed to decide whether to accept the resignations or not.

“(Communications Minister Dina) Pule has been quite concerned about the goings on at the board at the SABC,” said Qoza.

“It will depend on what the president says and what happens to the SABC board. It will basically be determined by whether the president accepts or declines the resignations.”

On February 26, the broadcaster announced that acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng had been “released from his duties”.

It said that Mike Siluma, a veteran journalist and head of radio news and current affairs, had been appointed to the acting position.

But shortly after that, Ngubane was quoted in a newspaper report as saying Motsoeneng had been reinstated. He said Ka Plaatjie had made this decision.

This prompted the SABC board to issue a media statement saying that “the report… is regrettable as neither the chairman nor the deputy chairman nor both have the power or authority to unilaterally change a board resolution”.

The SABC board said it would seek clarity from Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie regarding the newspaper report.

Since then, Pule has asked Parliament to “urgently” review the fitness of the SABC board.


Updated 11 March, 3pm: Article updated to reflect a correction from the IFP on its original statement in which it now says there is "no" need for the SABC board to be dissolved.