The return to the SABC of controversial news head Snuki Zikalala has fuelled tensions in the broadcaster’s beleaguered board, writes Nkululeko Ncana in The Times.


The Times can reveal that SABC board chair Kanyisiwe Mkonza faced a mini revolt after jumping the gun and “exonerating” Zikalala in a press statement last week announcing his return .

After receiving angry e-mails from board members about the statement, Mkonza admitted to an “error in judgment”, saying she had been too busy to read the press release before it went out.

The e-mails show that the board is far from united on Zikalala’s reinstatement. The Times understands that at least four of the 12 board members voted against his return.

Mkonza announced, in the statement on Wednesday, that Zikalala would return to work after three months on suspension, following an independent inquiry into allegations that he leaked SABC documents.

The statement said the inquiry had found that Zikalala had not breached any of his contractual obligations and had therefore been “exonerated”.

Angry board members wrote to Mkonza saying this was untrue and misleading.

SABC chief executive officer Dali Mpofu, himself on suspension, suspended Zikalala in May after accusing him of leaking a confidential SABC report to a “third party”, believed to be a senior ANC leader.

E-mail communication between board members shows how the threat of a revolt led to Mkonza changing her tune on Thursday night.

Surprised board member Nadia Bulbulia mailed Mkonza and the rest of the board, asking how the media statement had “leapt” from announcing Zikalala’s return — on the understanding that he would not interfere with any process that might lead to disciplinary action being taken against him — to exonerating him.

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