Monday, February 3, 2014

BREAKING. Lulama Mokhobo out at SABC as CEO; South African public broadcaster plunged into its biggest crisis ever.

Lulama Mokhobo has resigned from the SABC for the second time - this time leaving the South African public broadcaster as group CEO - and plunging the SABC into its biggest existential crisis since its inception.

Lulama Mokhobo will vacate her position as CEO at the end of this month, February. The SABC, as a public broadcaster, financed with public money and public licence fees, and Lulama Mokhobo who sat in the chair of CEO, is not willing to provide a reason.

The SABC told TV with Thinus when asked on Monday afternoon that the SABC, a publicly funded organisation, is "not at liberty" to say what the golden handshake payout will be for Lulama Mokhobo who couldn't even finish half of her contractually agreeed upon term.

The SABC told TV with Thinus that although the SABC is a public organisation and a public broadcaster that no reasons will be given as to why the CEO is secretively fleeing the organisation where she held public office.

The SABC said there is nobody taking over as yet as CEO or acting CEO since Lulama Mokhobo, already she already made it clear she is booking out and no longer wants to be at the SABC, will still in effect hold the position of CEO until the end of the month.

Lulama Mokhobo is jumping ship before the release of an extremely damaging final report by the public protector's office into widespread problems, corruption and mismanagement at the SABC.

This report will very likely implicate Lulama Mokhobo, and at the very least note things that were done wrong during her tenure at the struggling broadcaster the past two years with her at the helm, suggesting disciplinary action to be taken against her.

Lulama Mokhobo's tenure as highest ranking management executive will now be seen as yet another abject failure: Lulama Mokhobo is gone just two years after she was appointed as new chief executive officer at the SABC in January 2012 with a 5 year contract.

The stunning development and Lulama Mokhobo out as yet another ineffectual executive who couldn't right the SABC and finish out a CEO contract, leaves the shuddering SABC - which has done window-dressing since 2009 when the broadcaster came to the brink of financial collapse - now blatantly rudderless.

Since 2009 and even before, the SABC has had an ongoing massive struggle with a lack of leadership, broadcasting expertise as executives abandoned the broadcaster, rampant mismanagement, massive corruption, a bloated personnel corps, terrible quality broadcasting, blatant censorship of news stories and commentators, and ongoing concern over eroded news values when it comes to impartiality and skewed news.

Why this is the biggest crisis in the SABC's history is not because Lulama Mokhobo is leaving as CEO.

At the SABC, CEO's who've quit or are fired before the end of their term has become in fact de rigeur, but its that Lulama Mokhobo is walking away with so little respect as to not even explain or comment (and which shows her real lack of CEO mettle and leadership), within the context of how hollowed out the SABC's top corporate executive structure already is - and in a national, crucial election year for South Africa.

With Lulama Mokhobo gone as group CEO because she didn't want to do it anymore, five of the SABC's top senior executive management positions are vacant - filled by acting titled and the famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the enfant terrible with no real appropriate qualification, as the top "leader" in charge of running the SABC.

With Lulama Mokhobo gone from the SABC, besides a group CEO, the beleaguered South African public broadcaster doesn't have a real chief operating officer, financial officer, head of news or head of strategy - all acting or open positions - and in an election year where the broadcaster is expected to do news and reflect a broad variety of news, insight and perspective from across the political spectrum of the country.

The SABC says in a statement the SABC and Lulama Mokhobo "have amicably agreed to part ways," although inside sources say its due to Lulama Mokhobo not being able to work with Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Although the SABC is a public broadcaster, the SABC says Lulama Mokhobo's reasons for resigning and leaving the SABC as CEO after just two years, "are personal and confidential".

The SABC has the audacity to say in a statement that "we expect all stakeholders of the SABC to co-operate with her during this period and to give her the support that she requires."

The minister of communications, Yunus Carrim, says he is concerned about the ongoing instability at the SABC. "We are concerned about stability at the SABC and urge that the vacant senior posts be filled as soon as possible," says Yunus Carrim in a statement.

"We simply cannot accept this resignation as it would mean that at this critical time, three months ahead of an election, the SABC is left with no permanent senior executives and, consequently, no real leadership to ensure that the people of South Africa have a public broadcaster that can meet their information needs," Sekoetlane Phamodi, spokesperson for the SOS Coalition, a broad-based public interest, pressure group for public broadcasting in South Africa tells TV with Thinus.

"The people of South Africa, to whom the SABC is entirely beholden, deserve more than this," says Sekoetlane Phamodi. "We deserve an accountable SABC. A stable SABC staffed with permanent and visionary leadership at the highest levels. In short, an SABC that works".

While eNCA (DStv 403) and ANN7 (DStv 405)both reported the news that Lulama Mokhobo is out and quitting as the umpteenth SABC CEO to do so, SABC News (DStv 404), South Africa's 3rd 24-hour TV news channel who should have reported the news first, has still not reported the news or anything about it hours later.