The acting head of the SABC, Jimi Matthews, has resigned, saying there is a “corrosive atmosphere” at the South African pubcaster and that conditions at the state broadcaster is wrong.
The SABC confirmed Matthews’ departure, noting his resignation, tendered on Monday, was effective immediately. Having been head of news at the broadcaster, he became acting CEO in the wake of Frans Matlala being suspended four months into his tenure as chief executive.
In an uncompromising resignation letter, posted on Twitter along with the message ‘I have quit the SABC’, Matthews said he had compromised his values in the mistaken belief that he could affect change from within the SABC. The broadcaster is embroiled in a fierce debate about its news output, with local press reporting that it has taken an editorial decision to cut any negative coverage of president Jacob Zouma.
“In the process the prevailing, corrosive atmosphere has imparted negatively on my moral judgement and has made me complicit in many decisions which I am not proud of,” Matthews wrote.
“I wish also to apologise to the many people who I’ve let down by remaining silent when my voice needed to be heard. What is happening at the SABC is wrong and I can no longer be a part of it.”
James Aguma has been upped to chief executive in the wake of Matthews’ exit. He is being promoted from the CFO role he assumed in 2014 when he replaced Gugu Duda who was fired after being found guilty of misconduct.
SABC News confirmed Aguma’s CEO appointment on Twitter.