Magopeni’s allegations against SABC Board Chair unsubstantiated: Special Committee report

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The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) says its Board has adopted a report of the Special Committee which found allegations by former Group Executive for News and Current Affairs Phathiswa Magopeni against Board Chair Bongumusa Makhathini to be unsubstantiated.

The SABC says in a statement that the report did not find anything indicating Magopeni’s editorial decisions were threatened, usurped, or compromised in any way and that Makhathini’s actions did not constitute misconduct in terms of the Broadcasting Act.

The Public Broadcaster fired Magopeni in late January citing a breakdown in the trust relationship. Magopeni had complained in a letter that she was being forced out of the public broadcaster after the Chairperson and the CEO had allegedly tried to force her to conduct an unscheduled interview with the African National Congress’ (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the local government elections last year.

The SABC also says the report of the Special Committee into allegations by the former Head of News has recommended that employees and board members be cautioned about sensitivities around editorial independence at the public broadcaster.

According to the report, Board members should be cautious when engaging with SABC News staff on editorial issues.