Sunday, April 15, 2012
BREAKING. 'Growing rift' between SABC CEO Lulama Mokhobo and news head Phil Molefe; SABC board meeting on Monday over news.
While the Sunday newspapers are foaming at the mouth about the animus between the SABC's placed-on-special-leave head of news Phil Molefe and the new CEO Lulama Mokhobo, insiders within the public broadcaster are telling me that the power struggle between Phil Molefe and Lulama Mokhobo (lets leave the myriad of political speculation stories out of this) are because they allegedly don't like each other.
''The new growing rift between the head of news and the CEO is creating renewed factionalism," whispers a longtime SABC insider who isn't choosing sides. "Lulama - which is basically her right as the new CEO tasked to steer this ship - wants more insight into the SABC's news gathering, especially with the work done for the new 24 hour news channel. Meanwhile Phil is apprehensive seeing it as interference, although it's still one and the same company. People who work here can see where both are coming from; it's just difficult because now everyone is going to be forced to pick sides."
"Editor-in-chief" was added to the description of the SABC CEO's job title in 2002, which makes the SABC's top ranking executive overall responsible for the public broadcaster's news output as well. Lulama Mokhobo didn't overreach and definitely didn't overstep her responsibilities by being insistent on wanting to see SABC News's news diary early every day, is an informed source's opinion.
"Just because she wanted to know what news is doing on a daily basis doesn't mean she wanted to influence it, and even if she did want to influence news by sometimes directing coverage that is exactly what editors everywhere do."
"However sending Phil home was probably not the right way of handling this since the SABC board didn't know about it," says this same source. Another SABC insider tells me that 3 months into the job Lulama Mokhobo was very unhappy with some of the SABC's news bulletins on television.
Another SABC insider tells me there is a special SABC board sub committee meeting regarding the broadcaster's news division scheduled for tomorrow (Monday) at the SABC's Auckland Park head office.
Bound to come up for heated discussion will be why Lulama Mokhobo sent Phil Molefe home and why the whole SABC board was not only not informed, but didn't authorise it (since the SABC board is the designated body which officially appoints the SABC's head of news and current affairs).