SABC Appoints Frans Matlala As New CEO

Cape Town – Frans Matlala has been appointed as the SABC’s new chief executive officer, saying “I need to acknowledge the honour I’ve been given”.

Frans Matlala, a consultant to the public broadcaster for project management and strategic advisory services, has been a keen supporter of the SABC’s controversial and famously matric-less chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng,

The appointment comes almost a year and a half since Lulama Mokhobo abruptly quit in February 2014 after just 14 months into her five year contract without any explanation.

That left Hlaudi Motsoeneng in charge as the next highest ranking SABC executive, himself embroiled in litigation over his appointment and fingered in a scathing report from the Public Protector, implicating him in maladministration, corruption and abuse of power at the SABC.

Like Eskom, South African Airways (SAA) and the South African Post Office (Sapo), the SABC’s new CEO faces a daunting and herculean task to try and rescue the struggling broadcaster, which came to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

Frans Matlala also becomes the SABC’s 9th CEO – including those who were appointed in an acting capacity in the position for a period of time – to be in charge of the public broadcaster since 2009.

Over the past six years, several SABC chief executives left before their terms ended, while others received golden handshakes when leaving and some even took legal action when their contracts were terminated.

The appointment of a permanent CEO at the SABC is crucial to repair stability at the beleaguered public broadcaster.

Serious concern has also been growing over the past two years regarding SABC news coverage; the SABC’s loss of several board members, and former chairperson Ellen Tshabalala stepping down in December 2014 after she was exposed for lying about fake tertiary qualifications she didn’t have.

In April, an ongoing concern was further raised in parliament over the SABC’s audience share which is flat at 53%.

The SABC also wasted R3.39bn on irregular spending in three years according to the Auditor General (AG) and the public broadcaster has so far received four consecutive annual qualified audits from the AG.