As the day draws closer for the debate on a vote of no confidence on
the SABC board in Parliament, the broadcaster’s executive appears to be
scrambling to manage the public relations fallout at the SABC, writes Amy Musgrave in Business Day.

The responsible minister, Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, claimed that the tit-for-tat suspensions of SABC CEO Dali Mpofu and head of news Snuki Zikalala were not linked.

Last Tuesday Mpofu suspended Zikalala, and was later suspended himself by the board .

Speaking at the weekend, the minister said there seemed to be no link between the suspension of the two men.

Matsepe-Casaburri said the information she had received from a briefing indicated the board’s reasons for the suspensions had to do with an issue of governance and an attempt to avoid a developing “crisis".

“Their concerns centre around issues of the budget, sports rights, staff problems at executive level and the impact that all these have on the business of the SABC," she said .

While the minister said she had yet to receive a response from Mpofu in order for her “to have an impartial view", newspapers reported at the weekend that the suspended CEO would take legal action against the SABC board.

Insiders at the SABC said Mpofu’s move against Zikalala was pre-emptive action following widespread speculation that the chairwoman of the board, Kanyisiwe Mkonza, was planning to fire Mpofu and replace him with Zikalala.

The battle for control of the public broadcaster has its roots in the internal fights of the African National Congress (ANC). The tripartite alliance, at its summit this weekend in Johannesburg, backed the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) view that the current board appointed by President Thabo Mbeki was not sufficiently representative.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said: “This matter requires the urgent attention of the alliance, Parliament and the government.”

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.