‘What is happening at the SABC is wrong’, says Jimi Matthews

African News Agency (ANA)

‘What is happening at the SABC is wrong’, says Jimi Matthews

SABC acting chief executive officer Jimi Matthews has resigned from the public broadcaster with immediate effect, saying he can no longer be complicit in the way it is run.

“What is happening at the SABC is wrong and I can no longer be part of it,” Matthews said in his resignation letter, in which he also tendered an apology to those who felt he had betrayed sound journalistic principle in recent months.

“For many months I have compromised the values that I hold dear under the mistaken belief that I could be more effective inside the SABC than outside,” the veteran journalist said in a letter he posted on Twitter.

“In the process the prevailing, corrosive atmosphere has impacted negatively on my moral judgment and has made me complicit in many decisions which I am not proud of.

“I wish also to apologise to the many people who I’ve let down by remaining silent when my voice needed to be heard.”

Matthews’s resignation comes days after he submitted a court affidavit in the long-running legal battle surrounding SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

In it, he argued that the SABC could not afford to lose Motsoeneng’s “rare” skills should a high court ruling which invalidated his appointment in 2014 be allowed to stand.

Earlier last week, Matthews in an answering affidavit to the complaint brought to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) over the SABC’s decision to no longer air footage of violent protest, defended it as being consistent with constitutional law.

He argued that the protests were criminal and that it was unnecessary to dispatch journalists as the events were captured by police photographers.

The Democratic Alliance said it was deeply concerned by Matthews’s departure and the environment at the SABC that pushed him to leave.

“The DA echoes this sentiment resoundingly and will be calling on SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, to be fired at once as we believe the erosion of the SABC can be laid squarely at his feet and those who seek to protect him.”

The DA brought the court application that last year resulted in the Western Cape High Court ruling that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi had acted irrationally when she confirmed Motsoeneng’s appointment in the face of findings of maladministration against him by the Public Protector.

Muthambi and the SABC last week petitioned the Supreme Court of Appeal after the high court denied them leave to appeal the ruling.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago could not be reached for comment on Matthews’s resignation.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)