Less than a week ago, SABC acting group chief executive Jimi Matthews furiously defended the public broadcaster, its chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and conditions at the company.
But yesterday morning, he made an about-turn, saying the SABC’s climate had become too “corrosive” for him – resigning with immediate effect.
Releasing his resignation letter on social media, Matthews implied that his morality had been tainted for failing to object to recent policy decisions by the company.
“For many months, I have compromised the values that I hold dear under the mistaken belief that I could be more effective inside the SABC than outside, passing comment from the sidelines.
"What is happening at the SABC is wrong and I can no longer be a part of it,” he wrote.
Last week, however, media reports contained Matthews' glowing affidavit on the SABC for a Supreme Court of Appeal bid to retain Motsoeneng.
He said that the company could “ill-afford to lose a rare skill” in Motsoeneng, and that he had turned the company’s finances around through his “unique leadership skills”.
Matthews was not available to comment on the contradictory documents.
The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) lauded Matthews’ decision.
“That he feels there is a corrosive atmosphere that he as the CEO cannot do anything about, speaks volumes about corporate governance within the SABC.
"The SABC is an asset of the public as a whole, and that it is being turned into a state broadcaster that only serves the interests of the ruling party is wrong and must be condemned,” the organisation said.
The SABC has thus far remained mum on Matthews’ decision. Attempts to contact SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago for comment were unsuccessful.