2017

2017

12 January 2017: Ed Herbst outlines the bullying oppression of the SABC board by its chairman, Ben Ngubane

13 January 2017: Ben Ngubane and Ellen Tshabalala testify in parliament before the Ad Hoc Committee investigating SABC corruption

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2fWxq_PQm8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1xu2FRJYeg

13 January 2017: The most dramatic moment of the day came when committee chairman, Vincent Smith, who had listened with increasing scepticism to Ngubane’s testimony, said the discrepancy between his evidence and that of previous witnesses was too great to countenance. Perjury, he said, was evident.

"Somebody has misled Parliament, somebody has not taken us seriously and they will pay the price for it. There can't be such grave contradictions, it's just too scary for us not to take it up.

"Everyone who spoke here spoke under oath and I think somebody must go to jail”, he said.

14 January 2017: IOL reveals that the South African Communist Party has threatened legal action against former SABC board chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala for making what it alleges is ‘baseless allegations’ against the party before the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the governance decay and consequent collapse of good governance at the SABC.

The SACP reveals that questions about the veracity of her qualifications had been been investigated in 2011: According to media reports in 2011 Mercedes Benz had requested confirmation of her qualifications from Unisa when she applied for a job at the company and the university informed an intermediary that she failed to attain the qualifications she claimed, the SACP said.

15 January 2017: City Press reveals that Ben Ngubane brought with him to parliament Titus Mchunu of Mchunu Attorneys, the law firm hired by the SABC in 2014 to advise the broadcaster on the Public Protector’s report.

17 January 2017: News 24 reveals  that the draft document compiled following the completion of the ad hoc committee hearing into the fitness of the SABC's board was leaked on social media on Tuesday, ahead of the planned deliberation later this week.

18 January 2017: ‘Lilly Gosam’ (a pseudonym) outlines in the Rand Daily Mail the role played by the SABC in the Zupta/State Capture process.

19 January 2017: News 24 reveals that the ad hoc committee has met to discuss the SABC question and that differences arose about calling Hlaudi Motsoeneng to testify.

20 January 2017: News 24 reveals that MPs on Parliament's SABC inquiry ad hoc committee felt the SABC’s board had a "shaky" moral compass and had failed to protect journalists from intimidation. The committee was underwhelmed by the vague submission by former board char, Ellen Tshabalala, who had alleged ‘massive political interference’ during her testimony before the committee. She was asked to provide a list of names of the poiliticians involved but her submission failed to do so. The committee ordered her to provide an affidavit. Opposition MPs called for the dismissal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi but, predictably, ANC MP’s did not support this motion. MPs also oppose the Broadcasting Amendment Bill, tabled by Muthambi in 2015, which gives her the power to appoint and dismiss members of the SABC board.

22 January 2017: IOL reveals that, contrary to her undertaking to the ad hoc committee in parliament last week, former chairperson of the SABC Board, Ellen Tshabalala, has reneged on a promise to reveal those responsible for what she called severe political pressure that she faced during her tenure at the SABC

“There is nothing I can say. I am no longer with the SABC, I am not a member of the board,” she said.

Janet Heard reports on News 24 that there is a new sense of purpose in the SABC ad hoc committee

Marianne Merten points out that there are growing concerns about the role of the State Security Agency in the SABC

23 January 2017: Business Day reports that the dismissal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi is being discussed by the SABC ad hoc committee.

23 January 2017: Thinus Ferreira provides irrefutable proof  of the SABC deliberately going to black to cut short a live feed when Julius Malema started criticising Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

This was the first time that the SABC has deliberately gone to black since television started in 1976 and this was done in an extraordinarily brazen act of political censorship - even more brazen than its manipulation of the booing of President Jacob Zuma at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in Soweto on 10 December 2013.

24 January 2017: The ad hoc parliamentary committee investigating pervasive SABC corruption and incompetence harshly criticises the SABC lawyers

24 January 2017: The SABC says that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 90% local music content policy will remain

27 January 2017: Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board agrees to finalise its draft report without any recommendations, until those implicated have been given a chance to respond.

Eight MPs voted against the inclusion of preliminary recommendations on Friday, with only two Democratic Alliance MPs voting for inclusion.

27 January 2017: Pierre de Vos analyses the requiremens necessary to be an SABC board member

27 January 2017: Parliament’s SABC inquiry hears that that SABC 8 journalist Suna Venter was shot in the face with a pellet gun the previous week, following continued threats of intimidation against her.

The SABC carries the news about Suna Venter being shot in the face at 11 minutes past ten last on 27 January on its web site but although eNCA headlined the story on its six thirty and seven pm television news bulletins that evening the SABC did not mention it on the equivalent bulletins at all. This, in other words, was its usual self-censorship by omission.

29 January 2017: The DA threatens to take the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating SABC courruption and incompetence to court for excluding the recommendations in the draft report.

DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters warned that the report could be taken to court as its release flew against the normal practice of including recommendations.

This after the ANC in the committee engineered for the exclusion of the recommendations, and that the report be released with findings and observations. The committee has been deliberating on the SABC problems over the last few weeks since it was established.

However, the refusal by the ANC to include the recommendations split the committee.

The DA said the ANC refused to include recommendations because they were calling for the axing of Muthambi and Ngubane at Eskom.

31 January 2017: Broadcast expert, Kate Skinner sets out the details of what is required of members of the interim SABC board.

31 January 2017: The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) reveals that the criminal charge it laid at the Bramley police station on November 28 had been escalated to the Hawks. This information was convyed by Icasa councillor Nomvuyiso Batyi to Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications. Batyi said that ICASA had not, as yet received a case number from the Hawks.

Icasa has been battling since July last year to get the SABC to provide proof that it would abide by its ruling to withdraw the ban.

1 February 2017: In a Business Day article broadcast expert, Kate Skinner sets out the details of what must be done with the SABC to rescue it from the consequences of two decades of ANC control:

But although the SABC has by far the biggest audiences in SA, the state broadcaster is in a state of collapse. This problem needs to be dealt with urgently, says Kate Skinner, a broadcasting researcher and policy analyst.

After the recent dissolution of the SABC board, adds Skinner, “we need a new strong, fearless interim board. It needs to have technical skills [financial, legal and corporate governance] but also social and political clout to begin to deal with the challenges on every level of the organisation. There are many powerful, vested interests and they won’t go quietly.”

She adds that the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigation into the SABC needs to be concluded and the strong recommendations in the draft report taken forward by an interim board.

It seems that former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s “supporters are already starting to move against the report, claiming that the process wasn’t fair” because Motsoeneng was not interviewed and “former SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane was treated too harshly, etc”, she says.

“The process must not be allowed to be derailed.

“A number of the recommendations of the report are very powerful. These include dealing with the R5.1bn of irregular expenditure, kick-starting the forensic audit into the MultiChoice/SABC archive deal and making sure the Broadcasting Act takes precedence over the Companies Act. This will ensure that the communications minister’s interventionist roles are curtailed.”

Skinner believes Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has been “a disaster. She needs to be removed. She has directly intervened at the SABC to support Motsoeneng.

“Also, she has now placed a bill on the table [the Broadcasting Amendment Bill, 2015] that removes the role of Parliament in appointing the board.

“She, as the minister, will now select the SABC board. We must stop this bill! It takes us back to apartheid days.”

The government’s digital terrestrial television (DTT) programme has also come to a standstill under Muthambi’s watch. “If DTT dies, then pay TV will become the only real television option in the country,” says Skinner.

Another challenge bedevilling television is e.tv’s battle over encryption, she says. “We need set-top box decoders to be rolled out as soon as possible.”

The government should look into setting up a local content fund, Skinner says. “The only way that DTT will work is if there is great new content on new DTT channels.

“There needs to be public support for local content.

“Look at the funds in Kenya, Nigeria, New Zealand, Canada and France. We also need DTT migration to happen to ultimately release valuable spectrum.”

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) needs to be strengthened.

“Icasa has been limping along with compromised independence and insufficient funding.

 “A new funding model needs to be urgently developed; Icasa needs to retain a portion of its licence fees. Also, it needs to build a cutting-edge research department to ensure that SA is developing advanced digital ICT policy appropriate for a developing world context.”

Icasa also needs to deal with a lack of competition and the dominance of the large companies in the market, she adds.

2 February 2017: The SABC argues in the Cape High Court that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment was an internal arrangement and did not constitute an exercise of public power, and thus a court could not review it.

The public broadcaster was applying to the Western Cape High Court for leave to appeal its earlier ruling on Motsoeneng’s appointment as group executive of corporate affairs.

3 February 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the man whose salary increased by R1.5m in two years while SABC was making a loss now wants to become a humble servant of the country’s citizens and to help the unemployed.

3 February 2017: The parliamentary communications committee demands an answer from Faith Muthambi on why the SABC is appealing a High Court ruling that set aside Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as its group executive for corporate affairs.

Chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said the committee will ask to be briefed in detail by the Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, regarding the reasons behind the appeal.

Maxegwana further stated that the committee was "interested" in hearing from Muthambi about why the SABC "found it difficult to implement the ruling".

7 February 2017: The Western Cape High Court dismisses with costs the SABC’s application for leave to appeal its earlier ruling on Motsoeneng’s appointment as group executive of corporate affairs.

The court ruled in December that his appointment was unlawful and that he could not hold any position at the broadcaster, unless a Public Protector's 2014 report on his appointment as chief executive officer was overturned, or a new disciplinary inquiry cleared him.

The court rejected the public broadcaster's argument that Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment was an internal matter, and not an exercise of public power that could be challenged in court

It ruled that the SABC is a public body and its decisions about services and goods are open to review.

The Democratic Alliance welcomed the ruling as confirmation that Hlaudi Motsoeneng Motsoeneng is not fit to hold any position at the National Broadcaster.

This is a victory for the rule of law and a positive step towards restoring the integrity and independence of the SABC.

It is high time that the SABC cease with its frivolous litigation at the expense of the South African taxpayer and focus on fixing the SABC, and correcting the damage that Mr Motsoeneng caused during his reign of terror.

13 February 2017: The RDM reveals that just before Christmas when the majority of South Africans were on holidy, the SABC hurriedly awarded multi-million rand contracts without them going out to tender and with upfront payments before work was commenced.

14 February 2017: Vincent Smith, the chairman of the parliamentary ad hoc committee investing SABC corruption and mismanagement reveals that the committee has received only four written submissions relating to previous testimony during the hearings -  from former SABC Journalist Phil Molefe, veteran broadcaster Dumile Mateza, former SABC Group Executive for Technology Sipho Masinga and the SABC8 journalists.

14 February 2017: MPs attack the SABC for its "reckless" decision to apply for leave to appeal a Western Cape High Court ruling that Hlaudi Motsoeneng not be allowed to hold any position at the public broadcaster, suggesting that executives should foot the legal bill in their personal capacity. They call on the SABC to stop treating parliament with contempt.

16 February 2017: Stephan Hofstatter, writing in Business Day, says the SABC execitives are terating the ad hoc committee with contempt and the looting is actually increasing as they perecive that time is running out:

In many ways, the SABC inquiry, chaired by Vincent Smith, has restored public confidence in Parliament’s ability to hold the executive and the state entities it oversees to account. That Muthambi and Motsoeneng — both regarded as close to President Jacob Zuma — have come under sustained attack by all parties lends depth to this confidence.

However, the latest financial scandals at the SABC make it clear that the taps are still open.

Unless urgent action is taken to staunch the flow of irregular payments and prefer criminal charges against those benefiting corruptly, the inquiry’s promises to clean up the SABC will ring hollow and amount to little more than grandstanding.

18 February 2017: Al Jazeera’s media analysis programme The Listening Post examines the degree to which the SABC haas been captured by the ANC using the state broadcaster’s coverage of the SONA debate as a case study.

20 February 2017: Solidarity teams up with Bemawu to recover legal costs from Simon Tebele and Hlaudi Motsoeneng

21 February 2017: The parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the SABC meltdown hears that the state broadcaster funded the New Age breakfasts at a cost of R1 million per show with all the profits going to the Guptas

21 February 2017: Right on deadline the SABC submits an unsigned 140-page document in which it attacks the integrity of the process adopted by the parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the crisis at the state broadcaster. Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s lawyers submit a response in which they say he was prejudiced. The committee says no new evidence is permissable.

21 February 2017: Neville Pillay, Lotus FM presenter of the Morning Rush radio programme in the Durban regional office of the SABC walks out after being threatened and tenders his immediate resignation.

Neville Pillay said that last week Thursday during a meeting he questioned the state of the Lotus FM studio.

“It’s in poor shape, almost nothing works and it’s held together by sticky tape almost.” He said the state of Lotus FM’s studio “isn’t a reflection of our station manager, rather the SABC as a whole”. 

“When I asked him what’s to be done, the marketing manager interjected. He said you guys don’t deserve any new equipment because you put your feet up on the desk and eat in the studio”. 

“I agree I do put my feet up on the desk every now and then but I said ‘We don’t eat in the studio. He then proceeded to tell me ‘I will f– cut you down to size, you hear me’.” 

“Never in my entire radio career has anyone in management spoken to me that way,” says Neville Pillay. 

22 February 2017: The SABC says it has never been a mouthpiece of the government of the day, that it has the right to set its own editorial policy, and that it was not biased in its 2016 local government election coverage.

This is contained in the broadcaster's formal response to Parliament's interim report compiled by the ad hoc committee looking into its board.

22 February 2017: Parliamentary researchers have revealed that legal amendments Communications Minister Faith Muthambi made at the SABC, giving her and Hlaudi Motsoeneng broad powers at the broadcaster, were never filed with Cipro.

The SABC had therefore been acting without legal basis when making executive appointments and removing board members.

MPs serving on the ad hoc committee investigating the SABC board were told that amendments not submitted to Cipro had no legal basis.

EFF MP Fana Mokoena said this had implications for all the other SABC legislation, and that the SABC was being run on an illegal document.

“Everything they've done is illegal,” DA MP Mike Waters said. ACDP MP Steve Swart said the revelation had “huge implications”.

24 February 2017: The parliamentary ad hoc committee inquiring into the SABC adopts its final report and the members congratulated each other. The Democratic Alliance said that it would ensure that the measures recommendfed by the committee were implemented.

26 February 2017: City Press reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Faith Muthambi will suffer no consequences as a result of evidence recently revealed in parliament. This despite the fact that, according to the Sunday Times, the report recommends the dismissal of Muthambi.

28 February 2017: Political parties come up with 17 names for the interim SABC board.

28 February 2017: The SABC’s acting CEO, James Aguma, tells parliament that the reason why nobody has ever been held to account for the hundreds of millions of rands snouted by ANC aparatchiks since 1994 is that a tactical decision has been taken in this regard. He says that no SABC board approval   was required for the contracts signed just before Christmas. He reveals that the SABC data base of TV licence holders was absolutely chaotic and that, in cleaning it up, R17.7 billion had been written off.

1 March 2017: News 24 reveals that trade unions Solidarity and the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) have consolidated their court cases to get Hlaudi Motsoeneng to pay the legal costs they incurred defending the SABC 8.  Vuyo Mvoko remains out of work after eight months with no response from the SABC. The SABC is again criticised for the late submission of documents

2 March 2017: The Times reveals the truly startling level of corruption at the state broadcaster as oulined at the interview with James Aguma by SCOPA:

The SABC group reported a loss of R411-million for the year to the end of March 2016. It lost R131-million in the previous year.

The R5.1-billion in irregular expenditure included R40.9-million on non-contractual payments, R16.2-million on payments in respect of which procurement processes were not followed, R142-million on payments in respect of which there was no tax certificate, and R225-million attributable to inadequate monitoring of contract adherence.

Former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng earned R4.1-million a year, according to the report.

7 March 2017: Parliament formally adopts the final report of the ad hoc committee looking into the fitness of the SABC board.

8 March 2017: The office of the ANC chief whip welcomes the adoption by the National Assembly’s of the report of the Ad-Hoc Committee on the inquiry into the fitness of the South African Broadcasting Commission (SABC) Board.

8 March 2017: MPs call for the dismissal of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi

8 March 2017: MPs agree on five names for the interim SABC board

9 March 2017: Icasa's competition and complaints commission approves recommendations to nullify the SABC’s editorial policy of 2016, which banned the airing of footage of violent protests.

"The public participation procedure as prescribed by section 6(6) of the Broadcasting Act of 1999 was not adhered to by the SABC Board in the 2016 amendment of its editorial policies,” the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) said in a statement.

10 March 2017: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, who says she was ambushed in parliament indicates she will go to court to contest Parliament's SABC inquiry report.The DA says that she must pay the legal costs of taking the SABC ad hoc committee’s report on judicial review from her own pocket.

13 March 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC is facing a fresh cash crisis

14 March 2017: News 24 reveals that Parliament's portfolio committee on communications has recommended Khanyisile Kweyama to serve as SABC interim board chairperson.

14 March 2017: The Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Lechesa Tsenoli tells the Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi on Tuesday that he is unable to change the SABC report which implicates her in the public broadcaster's governance problems

The Star reported that Muthambi had written an explosive letter to Speaker Baleka Mbete to say she was taking the "irrational and unlawful" ad hoc committee report on review.

16 March 2017: Times Live reveals that the SABC is running on empty it terms of its financial situation.

17 March 2017: The SABC confirms that it is facing a cash crisis which the spokesman Kaizer Kganyago blames on everybody and everything except the state broadcaster management itself,  but this is contradicted by its own documents. Staff could be retrenched. This arouses anger in trade union BEMAWU.

17 March 2017: Responding to the news that the totally dysfunctional SABC was effectively bankrupt, the SACP issued a press statement.

After years of extreme abuse by successive incompetent boards and a mix of corrupt and incompetent executives our national public broadcaster is teetering on the brink of collapse.

After a brief post-1994 flowering as South Africa’s public broadcaster, the SABC has struggled to sustain its role as our country’s most trusted source of broadcast news and entertainment. Successive boards and senior managers sought to transform it into a market-driven, commercial operation. With the emergence of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the de facto power at the SABC in 2012, its slow decline accelerated into free-fall, as widespread looting, financial incompetence and the total collapse of anything recognisable as good governance vanished from its sprawling Auckland Park headquarters.

Its financial resources have been looted and wasted to the extent that its monthly costs – including its wage bill – are today greater than its financial reserves. And, because it now costs more to operate than it makes, those reserves are not being replenished:

Under current acting CEO James Aguma it continues to pour its dwindling reserves into paying for a range of what may well be illegal contracts of no benefit to either the SABC or to the people of our country. It currently pays as much for TV licence fee collection as it receives (if not less than that) in licence fee income! If it simply stopped collecting licence fees, it would be no worse off. This is what Aguma has driven it into.

The SABC’s audiences – once loyal and comprising a large majority of South Africans – have deserted the public broadcaster in their millions. They have not deserted the SABC because better private sector competitors have emerged, but because under Motsoeneng and his allies, the SABC’s content has become steadily worse. Only those with no choice at all continue to listen to and watch its stations and channels. And those who have left have taken their licence fees with them.

19 March 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC is facing a liquidity crisis. Shows are not being produced and there are fears that salaries may not be paid. The SABC denies this claim.

20 March 2017: The DA calls for an urgent meeting of Parliament's communications committee for a full briefing by Treasury on the status of the SABC's finances.

A confidential Treasury risk committee report leaked to the media reportedly shows that the SABC's reserves plummeted to R174m in December 2016 compared to R1bn in cash reserves a year before.

City Press reported that the public broadcaster was so broke that the production of new TV shows has been halted and staff members fear they won't be paid.

22 March 2017: (SABC) acting chief executive James Aguma has admitted the public broadcaster is in the midst of a financial crisis, blaming political interference for the untenable situation.

24 March 2017: at the memorial service for Joe Mafela, black actors accuse the ANC–era SABC of exploiting them.

26 March 2017: President Jacob Zuma appoints an interim SABC board.

27 March 2017: Political parties stress that the SABC interim board must prioritise the failing financials of the SABC and formalise the disciplinary processes around Hlaudi Motsoeneng. The DA calls for stability to be achieved as soon as possible.

28 March 2017: Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha reveals that, on the instructions of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the State Security Angency spied on SABC employees and that this was done illegally because the required permission from a judge was no sought or given.

28 March 2017: The Democratic Alliance reveals that it will ask the new Inspector General of Intelligence, Setlhomamaru Isaac Dintwe, to investigate allegations by SABC journalists and staff that the State Security Agency has spied on them. According to a parliamentary reply, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro had not authorised the SSA to intercept any communications of SABC employees, to the best of her knowledge.

The DA said it would ask Dintwe to compile a report that would be tabled in Parliament and sent to State Security Minister David Mahlobo.

A former SABC labour manager and SABC journalists testified before Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the broadcaster's board that staff had been spied on.

28 March 2017: The BCCSA orders the SABC to apologise to the Naspers tabloid newspaper Die Son after the newspaper was attacked during a Morning Live interviewwithout being asked for comment or given the right of reply

31 March 2017: The SABC’s TV viewership figures plunged to an all time low as a direct result of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 90% local content edict.

2 April 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC is effectively bankrupt

4 April 2017: New Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo gives the new SABC interim board the go-ahead to start working, disregarding former minister Faith Muthambi’s attempt to halt the board’s duties.

6 April 2017: Further evidence becomes available that the SABC is bankrupt and unable to pay its creditors. The newly-appointed Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, has set up a team that would include National Treasury to fix the SABC.

This followed meetings between Dlodlo, President Jacob Zuma and Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on the state of finances at the public corporation.

7 April 2017: Economist Dawie Roodt says that with South Africa being reduced to junk status, it will be difficult to find the money to bail out the bankrupt state broadcaster

12 April 2017: The Democratic Alliance reveals that certain SABC radio stations including Ukhozi FM, Phalaphala FM, Ikwekwezi FM and Ligwalagwala FM, have received instructions “from above” to play a special happy birthday song for the President’s birthday. Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC is set to scrap Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s disastrous 90% local music content policy.

13 April 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that input from employees at an SABC staff meeting indicates that the Corporations is a chaotic shambles

16 April 2017: City Press reveals that the bankrupt SABC might need as much as a R3 billion bailout.

18 April 2017: The DA says that the disciplinary hearing against Hlaudi Motsoeneng is overdue.

19 April 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng holds a press conference in which he ridiculed the people who marched in support of a call for President Jacob Zuma to step down saying they had been “captured” by “the Western”.

“Don’t listen to black people who have been taken by the western (sic). Because black people‚ some of them‚ they have been captured.”

He also defended the Guptas and called SABC board member Krish Naidoo a liar and a “sellout”

He stated that if he stood for president he would win but that he would no do so because he belived that South Africa needed a woman president

“I am loved by many people, I can mobilise over 20 million people. Majority of people wherever I go say I should be leading somewhere…to those who want me to be president, I say it is not a secret that I support a woman (for presidency)… I won’t stand for presidency for now, I am concentrating on the SABC and all those who need my help.

“If I was a politician, I would not allow 10 or 20 political parties in Parliament… for what?”

He claimed to have invented "radical transformation", that he is loved by white people, and set an international benchmark for quality broadcasting with his 90% local content policy.

Motsoeneng also said he had told SABC journalists to give President Jacob Zuma more airtime than other political leaders.

Motsoeneng’s supporters praised him as ‘The rose that gew from concrete’

The SABC declined to respond to his statements but covered the ‘press conference’ live

He was duly panned on Twitter

The DA said that Motsoeneng’s statements at the press conference were grounds for dismissal

20 April 2017: OUTA says that Motsoeneng’s press conference was a “grandstanding charade of self-glorification”.

“To us‚ it is clear Mr Motsoeneng accepts no responsibility for the plight and poor performance the SABC has suffered during his tenure as COO‚” said Dominique Msibi‚ OUTA’s Portfolio Director.

“His staged performance‚ along with those singing his praises for the SABC 90% local content policy‚ ignores the fact the SABC has suffered immensely as a direct result of his decisions.”

23 April 2017: News 24 reveals that five laptops have been stolen the the SABC offices in parliament. There is no sign of forced entry. The DA says this is ‘stunningly suspicious’

23 April 2017: The Sunday Independent reveals that Hlaudi Motsoeneng faces summary dismissal for allegedly violating the broadcaster’s code of conduct following his tirade against its interim board. The newspaper says fressh charges have been laid against Motsoeneng.

23 April 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng appears on ANN7's Straight Talk programme where he is interviewed by Sifiso Mahlangu and expresses his views on South Africa’s “democratical society”:

“The DA represents liberals. You can't run away from that point of view. They just have face when you look at Maimane, Mmusi Maimaine, just the face there. This people are using him.

“The reason why media attack government is because they still believe that black people can't rule. It's a pity that you have so-called clever blacks who are also joining to criticise, especially some of the leaders in this country – president Zuma is one of them.

“"President Zuma is under attack. And why he's under attack, is because he's talking about radical transformation. So when you touch those issues, you touch the real nerves of some of people who don’t want that change to happen".

He claims that the entire budget for the SABC’s news division comes from DSTV.

"I have been saying, the money that we are getting from MultiChoice, it pays the operations of the SABC – the whole newsroom, not for DStv 404 channel.

"If you cancel that contract, which means people are going to be unemployed.”

24 April 2017: Parliament’s communications committee is told by the interim SABC board that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had been sent a letter informing him that he was facing fresh disciplinary charges as a result of his ant-SABC tirade at his press conference on 19 April. He had been given a 16h00 deadline on 24 April to respond but had not done so. The deputy chairperson of the interim board Mathatha Tsedu said that the cost of Motsoeneng’s local content policy was R183m for television R29m for radio.

This started with a loss of audience, and then the loss of advertising revenue.

He said that a number of television producers had not been paid as a result of the revenue crisis. “This has potential to collapse the entire programme schedule on all SABC channels”, Tsedu said.

30 April 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC is unable to pay the producers of its television programmes

30 April 2017: In a News 24 column, Mondli Makhanya describes Hlaudi Motsoeneng as ‘unhinged’, a ‘raving lunatic’, an ‘imbecile’, and a ‘national joke’ and asks why South Africans seem so fascinated by him.

7 May 2017: SABC interim board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama reveals that the government has been approached for a R1 billion bailout. The SIU says it is eager to investigate SABC corruption

10 May 2017: James Aguma, acting SABC CEO, tells parliament "We are facing a financial crisis". He says the SABC wants DStv to be compelled to collect TV licence fees on behalf of the SABC, and also wants SABC news to be sponsored. Aguma also said that the SABC wants the Broadcasting Act changed to include more viewing devices so that more people need a SABC TV licence, for instance for computers, cellphones and tablets.

Aguma also reveals that the reputational damage suffered by the SABC commercial radio stations, Good Hope FM, Metro FM, and Five FM, as well as its television station, SABC3, had caused a reduction in audience numbers.

Communications minister Ayanda Dlodlo tells parliament the cash-strapped SABC made a loss of R509m in Q4 of its financial year and can't meet all its financial obligations.

The DA calls for Hlaudi’s enforcers to to be suspended

11 May 2017: Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo reveals that she has received a bailout request from the SABC.

The DA says it will oppose the imposition of TV license fees for mobile phones, computers and tablets.

14 May 2017: City Press reveals that the SABC has 164 people working in its TV licence department, yet the corporation has been outsourcing TV licence fee collection to a company, Lorna Vision,  that has been underperforming.

Among the many shocking revelations was that the SABC continued to outsource licence fee collection to Lorna Vision, which had failed to meet its target by more than 50%.

Interim board member Febe Potgieter-Gqubule said the board had decided to cancel the contract – scheduled to run until the end of July – ahead of time to save money.

While Lorna Vision was expected to collect at least R1 billion a year in TV licence fees, it had a shortfall of R449 million for the year, according to another board member, John Matisonn.

In its presentation, the interim board revealed that the 90% local content directive had cost SABC TV an unaudited figure of R183 million in advertising revenue, and a R29 million loss for radio. These figures exclude the R72 million forked out to replace local content

17 May 2017: Parliament is told that despite the SABC having its own internal audit division, the SABC irregularly appointed a company, SekelaXabiso, to help them deal with irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

Despite being awarded about R25 million rand the irregular and fruitles expenditure continued.

MPs could not ascertain what exactly SekelaXabiso had done in return for all the money.

ANC MP Ezekiel Kekana said it was very clear that the contract was illegal.

James Aguma called in sick so was not available to clear this matter up.

25 May 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s attempt to interdict his disciplinary hearing fails and he is told to pay costs

25 May 2017: Franis Heard reveals how Brian Molefe lied on air and, with the help of Ellen Tshabalala, tried to get her dismissed.

26 May 2017: City Press reveals that the offices of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and James Aguma have been locked, their entrance access cards naave been blocked and James Aguma faces suspension because he twice lied to the SABC interim board:

Aguma, say the sources, provided an affidavit in Motsoeneng’s misconduct case that said that the board did not, in fact, take a resolution to discipline Motsoeneng – yet he was in a board meeting when the decision was taken and in fact he supported the decision.

The second reason is that he said he gave Motsoeneng permission to hold the press conference – but denied it when asked by the board and Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications.

27 May 2017: The DA welcomes the suspension of James Aguma saying that he was “central and complicit” to the dire straits the public broadcaster is facing.

The ANC Study Group on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) on Saturday also welcomed Aguma’s suspension.

“This suspension follows a recent recommendation by SCOPA that he be placed on suspension while the Interim SABC Board conducts its forensic investigation into irregularities in procurement and expenditure at the SABC”.

28 May 2017: City Press reveals that an advertisement management system for radio called Landmark which was introduced by the SABC last year had proved completely ineffectual and lost R300m to date, making it one of the biggest contributors to its current financial crisis.

29 May 2017: DA MP Phumzile van Damme calls for those who lied during the SABC inquiry to be charged. Parliament instructs the state law advisor to recover money from former SABC board chair Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe for his failed last ditch effort to stop the ad hoc committee investigation into the public broadcaster.

1 June 2017: A reader of The Times reveals in a letter that there will be no radio coverage of forthcoming cricket events of major importance.

The Times 1/6/2017

SABC not tuned in

SERIOUSLY? The SABC couldn’t “secure the rights” and now there’s no radio coverage of the Proteas tour to England and the Champions Trophy?

In 2014 then SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng said “cricket, a national sport, is followed and loved by millions of South Africans”.

In 2016 the number of active followers of cricket was put at more than seven million, with fewer than two million having access to DStv Premium where most cricket is broadcast live.

The SABC’s masters clearly don’t give a toss about their radio broadcasting service. While so many fans are missing out on the truly entertaining skills of radio commentators Aslam Khota, Herschelle Gibbs and Peter Kirsten (and their guests), are the SABC’s masters sitting pretty somewhere, smirking happily to themselves?

Ann Coltham – Cape Town

2 June 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng files court papers trying to delay his disciplinary hearing

6 June 2017: The DA calls on the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, to table the report from Parliament’s Legal Services Unit detailing any witnesses who gave contradictory or misleading evidence during the SABC Inquiry, saying the report was handed to her on 5 June.

11 June 2017: City Press reveals that the Guptas have been informed by the SABC interim board that the New Age Business Breakfast show has been cancelled forthwith.

12 June 2017: The SABC interim board announces that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been found guilty in a disciplinary hearing and that he has been dismissed. The Democratic Alliance calls on the interim board to proceed with the second disciplinary inquiry flowing from the Public Protector’s 2014 “When Governance and Ethics Fail”, as ordered by the Western Cape High Court in December 2016. Motsoeneng’s dismissal is welcomed by trade union MWASA, by Solidarity and by R2K.

13 June 2017: The chairperson of the interim SABC board Khanyisile Kweyama tells Parliament’s Communications Committee that there will be no golden handshake for Hlaudi Motsoeneng. She said he had no respect for his contract.

The Special Investigating Unit will also be probing an R11 million bonus paid to him last year, for a deal he negotiated with Multichoice.

13 June 2017: The SABC paid R20-million for the broadcasting of the Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age's breakfast briefings, in contradiction to earlier testimony before Parliament.

14 June 2017: Zola Majavu, former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s lawyer, says Motsoeneng will mount a legal challenge to his dismissal.

15 June 2017: The DA will submit a PAIA application to force the ANC to table in parliament  a report from Parliament's legal services unit identifying witnesses who gave contradictory or misleading evidence during the SABC inquiry.

19 June 2017: Citing tender procedure flouting the DA calls for the suspension of senior SABC executives like James Aguma and Acting CFO Audrey Raphela.

25 June 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng indicates that he wants to become President of South Africa and asks people to pray for him in this regard.

29 June 2017: The news breaks that SABC8 reporter Suna Venter has died as a result of ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’ and the DA, through its shadow communication minister, Phumzile van Damme expresses its condolences.

30 June 2017: A day after the death of Suna Venter was announced, the ANC finally reacts but does not pay specific tribute to Venter, choosing instead to express regret over four media workers.

2 July 2017: Terry Baron publishes an obituary to Suna Venter in the Sunday Times

Suna Venter, who has died in Johannesburg at the age of 32, was one of the “SABC 8” journalists who were fired in 2016 for refusing to obey an instruction not to cover violent protests.

The instruction came from the de facto head of the SABC at the time, chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. When he heard about their stand he instructed his head of news to get rid of them.

After being fired in June, they launched a Constitutional Court application to have the SABC’s censorship policy declared unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, in July they won a Labour Court case against their dismissal and were reinstated.

That August, parliament’s portfolio committee on communications sat, but the journalists were refused permission to testify. The SABC was exonerated, and the committee thanked senior executives and the board for their excellent work.

The SABC 8 were vilified by ANC members of the committee as unruly, insubordinate employees who got what was coming to them.

After that the journalists amended their Constitutional Court application, asking the court to hold parliament in breach of the constitution for not holding the public broadcaster accountable, and to direct parliament to launch an inquiry.

Brake cables cut

Two weeks later, under growing public pressure and with the support of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, an ad hoc committee was appointed. It produced a devastating report that led to the minister being replaced, an interim SABC board being appointed and Motsoeneng dismissed.

It was a resounding victory for Venter and her colleagues, but they paid a high price, enduring a sustained campaign of intimidation.

Venter received many death threats. She was shot in the face with a pellet gun and had to have surgery to remove the pellets, which came close to hitting her in the eye. The brake cables of her car were cut, her tyres were slashed and her flat was broken into.

She went into hiding and her car was broken into while parked outside the secret location where she was hiding.

She was abducted from her flat at around 1am one day and taken to the Melville Koppies. After being told that “tonight you’re going to die where you were supposed to die” — an allusion to a recent incident when ceramic bullets were fired at the windscreen of her car while she was stopped at a nearby intersection — her abductor tied her to a tree and then left after setting the grass around her on fire.

Venter managed to use her cellphone to call 10111 but got no response. Then she phoned a police station, which said they’d send a van but never did. At 4am she sent a WhatsApp to her boss and SABC 8 colleague Foeta Krige, who rescued her and called an ambulance. Venter was bruised and badly traumatised, but determined not to back off.

“I have to tell myself I will not allow them to terrorise me. And I will not,” she said.

‘Were you brave?’

Venter was born on April 15 1985. She matriculated at Hoërskool Florida in Johannesburg with nine distinctions. After graduating from the University of Pretoria with a BA, she taught kindergarten before joining SABC Radio eight years ago as a producer of current affairs programmes.

Tattooed on her arm was the line “Were you brave?” It was a question she asked of herself every night before going to bed. And answered every day.

In 2009, when Gaza was being bombed by Israel, Venter spent eight days there visiting hospitals and delivering medical supplies and food with Gift of the Givers, while filing “live” reports for the SABC on what it was like for the civilians living in that hellhole.

In 2012 she sent reports from near the front line in Libya, which was being torn apart by civil war.

She wanted to report on the war in Syria. The SABC wouldn’t let her, so she took leave and, using her own money, went there via Egypt and Jordan. She did live crossings for the SABC from Damascus and Aleppo for two weeks.

Captured by troops

She was captured by government troops, interrogated for a couple of days and told to leave Syria.

In December last year, a couple of weeks after being tied to the tree at Melville Koppies, Venter went back to Syria.

She asked a Syrian doctor she met in Turkey to take her into the country. When he said it was too dangerous, Venter hired guides to smuggle her across the border from Turkey at night.

She wanted to go to Aleppo, but her guides said it was too dangerous and refused to take her. She left Syria after one night.

When she got back to Johannesburg the death threats continued.

Shortly before dying Venter was diagnosed with a cardiac condition, stress cardiomyopathy or “broken heart syndrome”. It is believed this was exacerbated, if not caused, by the trauma and long periods of unnatural stress she endured.

She was found dead in her flat in Windsor West, Johannesburg, on Thursday.

She is survived by her parents, Phillip and Christa Venter, and siblings Wilhelm and Tessa.

suna-venter

Picture: Gallo Images Suna Venter, a current affairs producer at SABC Radio, was attacked and persecuted.

4 July 2017: In a newspaper letter, Anton Alberts, a spokesman for the Freedom Front Plus, attributes the death of Suna Venter to ‘Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s SABC’ and calls for a thorough police investigation of her harassment:

What she went through to state her case is shocking and comes down to nothing less than extreme harassment. The blame for all of this can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s SABC.

A thorough police investigation needs to be done to determine what exactly caused the various acts against her, including instances of her being shot at.

4 July 2017: Foeta Krige lashes out at the white, apartheid-era SABC snouters who sucked up to Hlaudi Motsoeneng and did the SABC immense damage in the process

5 July 2017: The DA condemns President Jacob Zuma tardiness in tabling the report on SABC empoyees who lied to parliament during the Ad Hoc Committee investigation into SABC abuses.

7 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC refused to give live coverage to Suna Venter’s memorial service but eNCA did so.

10 July 2017: IOL reveals that concerns are growing about President Jacob Zuma’s tardiness in granting the SIU permission to investigate the SABC.

12 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the cash-strapped SABC came dangerously close to a blackout of its TV signals in South Africa after falling behind with its monthly payments to Sentech and has had to make a payment agreement with Sentech that it will start paying its arrears once it gets its next new mega-million rand bail-out from the South African government.

13 July 2017: The ANC in parliament, as part of its cover-up of SABC corruption, denies the Democratic Alliance's request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to a report from Parliament’s Legal Services Unit detailing any witnesses who might have lied to the ad hoc committee that investigated the South African Broadcasting Corporation board.

13 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that the SABC has been forcedto re-think one of the nefarious procedures which it had used to effectively enact its TV news censorship, the banning the broadcast of visuals depicting the destruction of property during public protests.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) found that the SABC's process to hastily update and push through its editorial policy in 2016 failed to properly and adequately involve public participation.

The SABC has been forced to return to and work from its outdated 2004 editorial policy for the past 9 months since 2004 was the last time Icasa approved an SABC editorial policy.

16 July 2017: City Press reveals that Lornavision, frustrated by the SABC’s refusal to pay it millions of rands for collecting outstanding TV licence fees from the public has gone to court  to force the broadcaster to pay this debt.

16 July 2017: City Press reveals that an SABC internal document details how the financially bankrupt public broadcaster offered a contracted company R5 000 for each guilty verdict delivered in disciplinary cases against 138 SABC employees accused of medical aid fraud.

The Media Workers’ Association of SA (Mwasa) introduced the leaked document to the CCMA proceedings in support of its argument that the SABC flouted the rules for guilty verdicts and dismissal of staff.

17 July 2017: The Times reveals that the SABC's interim board hopes to reclaim millions of rands paid to disgraced former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The board, appointed by President Jacob Zuma in March, plans to sue Motsoeneng for the return of a R11.4-million bonus he received in 2016. The bonus was linked to a deal that granted MultiChoice access to the public broadcaster's archives - without the authorisation of the then SABC board.

It is also thinking of laying criminal charges against the fired boss.

18 July 2017: Thinus Ferreira reveals that a third of SABC’s OB vehicles are no longer operational and the Corporation does not have the money to rectify the situation

19 July 2017: The standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) labels the sudden resignation of acting South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief executive officer James Aguma as an "admission of guilt". Aguma’s resignation is welcomed by the SACP, by OUTA and by the DA.

24 July 2017: Following the resignation of James Aguma the SABC appoints Nomsa Philiso and Thabile Dlamini as acting CEO and CFO respectively.

1 August 2017: SABC interim board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama tells parliament that the SABC is to withhold the pensions of its former COO‚ Hlaudi Motsoeneng‚ and CFO‚ James Aguma‚ in a bid to recover irregular benefits enjoyed during their tenure.

4 August 2017: The interim SABC board seeks to interdict the SABC pension fund from paying Hlaudi Motsoeneng an R11.5 million bonus saying  the decision was “irrational, irregular and without any factual or legal basis”. The bonus, according to evidence before the court, was as a result of Motsoeneng negotiating a R533m MultiChoice contract, which gave the private broadcaster access to to the SABC’s archives.

8 August 2017: Errol Horwitz, in a Biznews article, questions the conduct of Faith Muthambi.

11 August 2017: The SABC apologises on-air in its main TV news bulletin for a strap headline running at the bottom of the screen during a story about president hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma which referred to her as "Nkosazana Mini-Zuma". This was clearly deliberate and occurred on the SABC’s news channel 404 at 8 pm on 6 August

14 August 2017: The DA lobbies for public participation in SABC board interviews.

15 August 2017: Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng does not appear in the Labour Court in Johannesburg to answer as to why he should not be held personally liable for the wrongful dismissal of the SABC8 journalists.

No reasons were given on why Motsoeneng failed to present himself to the court.

The court also heard that attorneys from Ningiza Horner who were representing the SABC, Motsoeneng and former head of news Simon Tebele, withdrew on Friday.

Solidarity's Anton van der Bijl accused Motsoeneng of delaying the case. "We do not agree with the actions of the SABC respondents who continue to change their legal representation at the last minute, it's a delaying tactic," Van der Bijl said.

Judge David Gush ruled that both Motsoeneng and Tebele be present when the court proceedings resume on 6 September. The case would be heard in their absence should they fail to appear in court.

21 August 2017: Former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi tried to mislead Parliament - according to a report from Parliament's legal services.

The Democratic Alliance wants Speaker Baleka Mbete to lay criminal charges against Muthambi and the others who have been found to have misled or lied to the ad hoc committee that investigated the SABC board.

22 August 2017: The ANC nominates Snuki Zikalala for the SABC board.

25 August 2017: The DA welcomes the signing of the proclamation allowing the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) to begin a forensic investigation at the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

30 August 2017: The portfolio committee on communications said itwill get legal advice on a report which said Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi and others might have misled Parliament.

31 August 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng declares that he is ‘more dangerous’ outside the SABC.

4 September 2017: The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) welcomes the fact that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will be starting its work of investigating the SABC.

5 September 2017: Solidarity posts a timeline of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s persection of the SABC 8.

6 September 2017: Hlaudi Motsoeneng blames Jimi Matthews for the wrongful dismissal of  the SABC8 journalists and says he should pay their legal fees.

6 September 2017: The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) tells the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) that it is interested in the final reports of all the cases being investigated by the SIU, particularly the report into the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

8 September 2017: The Labour Court in Johannesburg rules that the SABC‚ its former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and former acting head of news Simon Tebele split the legal costs incurred after seven journalists were fired from the public broadcaster. Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he does not regret his policy of not covering violent protests even though this was found to be illegal by ICASA.

14 September: The insolvent SABC announces that it needs a R3 billion bailout – more than double its last government bailout of R1.47-billion in 2009.

19 September 2017: The SABC says it can no longer afford to broadcast all national sport competitions.

20 September 2017: The DA announces that it will submit a PAIA application seeking information on the proposed R3 billion bailout for the SABC

20 September 2017: Solidarity says that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is appealing the Labour Court decision tat he be held partly liable for the SABC8’s court costs

27 September 2017: Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu says the SABC is insolvent and unable to pay its debts and its financial losses – R977 million –were more than double the previous year.

The successive losses in the three preceding years were:

  • R411 million in 2016
  • R395 million in 2015
  • R500 million in 2014

Makwetusaid that the irrregular expenditure totalled R4.4 billion but this could be an underestimate as the SABC had not provided information in this regard.

28 September 2017: Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo says the SABC has a history of poor management and that politicians should not involve themselves in editorial decisions.

28 September 2017: Cosatu demands that all national sports matches be broadcast live on SABC TV saying that poor people could not afford DSTV. Earlier, the SABC said it could not afford this.

29 September 2017: The chairperson of the interim SABC board, Khanyisile Kweyama, says in her frank overview of the SABC’s annual report for 2016-17, that there was financial mismanagement of ‘terrifying magnitudes’.

29 September 2017: President Jacob Zuma delays appointing the SABC board.

30 September 2017: Vuyo Mvoko wins his dismissal case against the SABC in the SCA in Bloemfontein

2 October 2017: The DA criticises the fact that senior members of the SABC news staff have been summoned to the Presidency. They are acting head of news Kenneth Makatees and the national TV news editor Nyana Molete.

3 October 2017: The SACP says that the country must hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for plunging the SABC into a governance vacuum by his delay in appointing the SABC board

8 October 2017: The Citizen reports that President Jacob Zuma and Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo have been accused of deliberately delaying the appointment of the SABC board to make their own chief operating officer (COO), chief executive officer (CEO) and chief financial officer (CFO) appointments. The EFF threatens legal action

9 October 2017: Outa expresses concern about the failure of President Jacob Zuma to timeously appoint the SABC board. ‘We’re concerned that President Zuma is deliberately delaying the appointment of the new board for political reasons, leaving an unacceptable gap in governance at the SABC’, Outa said

10 October 2017: In an open letter, the SABC 8 implore parliament to act on what they call the ‘Recapture SABC Project’. Parliament responds saying it will summon the SABC8 to testify

11 October 2017: The Presidency denies that there was anything untoward about a meeting with the acting head of news Kenneth Makatees and the national TV news editor Nyana Molete.

11 October 2017: The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) expresses concern about the delay by President Jacob Zuma in appointing the SABC board

13 October 2017: Bemawu, in a letter to acting CEO Nomsa Philiso demands the removal of of Kenneth Makatees as acting head of news saying it is tired of his ‘Gestapo-style’ of management. The letter gives her seven days to respond to the list of demands or strike action will follow.

16 October 2017: Judgment is expected in the court application of the SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition and Freedom of Expression Institute, joined by the Right2Know Campaign as a friend of the court.

They have asked Judge Elias Matojane to streamline certain provisions of the Broadcasting Act. This, they said, is to ensure the independence of the SABC.

The parties during their arguments said that as things stand, the minister had too much say in these matters, which hampered the independence of the board.

The Right 2Know Campaign, in its submissions said at the root of the governance crisis plaguing the SABC for many years were the political and commercial interests that have sought to undermine the broadcaster’s independence.

17 October 2017: President Jacob Zuma appoints the SABC board but the DA points out that both the chairperson and deputy chairperson are his cronies.

17 October 2017: A groundbreaking judgment the Gauteng High Court Pretoria - delivered on the same day that President Jacob Zuma eventually appointed a new board of directors at the South African Broadcasting Corporation - limited the powers of the Communications Minister in appointing and firing members of the board.

Judge Elias Matojane  rules in the Pretoria High Court that several clauses of the Amended Memorandum of Incorporation (MoO) and the SABC Charter in respect to the appointment, discipline and suspension of the three executive directors - the Group Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer - are inconsistent with the Broadcasting Act and thus invalid.

It was found that the powers vested in the minister undermined the independence of the SABC. In terms of the judgment, the SABC board must control the affairs of the public broadcaster.

It was ordered that the executive members of the Board are to be appointed solely by the non-executive members of the board and without any requirement of approval by the minister.

18 October 2017: Civil society is outraged when President Jacob Zuma, in a move designed to retain control over the SABC, appoints two cronies in the most influential positions of the SABC board.

In appointing the new board, he upset many people when he dumped Khanyisile Kweyama and Mathatha Tsedu as the preferred nominees for chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively.

Instead, Zuma appointed Bongumusa Makhathini as chairperson and Febe Potgieter-Gqubule as his deputy.

Makhathini is the chairperson of the foundation of one of Zuma’s wives, Bongi Ngema-Zuma, while Potgieter-Gqubule is an ANC activist and previously served as as an adviser to Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma during her stint at the African Union Commission.

The DA objects to the appointment of these Zuma cronies as does R2K.

18 October 2017: Zuma crony and new SABC board chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini relinquishes his role as chairperson of the Bongi Ngema-Zuma Foundation.

7 November 2017: Phumzile Van Damme claims that the new Minister of Communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, is wasting no time in re-capturing the SABC and confirming the suspicion that she has moved to the portfolio by President Jacob Zuma for this very purpose.

17 November 2017: Phumzile Van Damme accuses the SABC board of misleading the public.

22 November 2017: News24 reveals Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s plans to 'sue the SABC'.

1 December 2017: Biznews publishes a recorded transcript of remarks made by Nyana Molete (Line Manager: TV News) in which he sought to coerce his subordinates into broadcasting pro-ANC propaganda.