THE SABC was on Sunday tight-lipped over a newspaper report that it has suspended its popular 19:00 newsreader, Mahendra Raghunath, according to a report on

"I refuse to discuss staff issues. It doesn't help anyone," said spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"It's a matter between employer and employee," he said. Kganyago said he did not see how SABC employee disputes were matters of public interest.

The Sunday Independent reported that Raghunath was suspended in an apparent witch-hunt.

Television news head Amrit Manga reportedly suspected Raghunath of speaking to the media about problems in the news department.

SABC head of the Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa) Themba Gasa told the newspaper that Raghunath was told to "go home and write a letter explaining why he should not be suspended".

This happened after the Sunday Independent published an article detailing how the public broadcaster's budget cuts negatively affected its newsroom. Manga allegedly played favourites in the newsroom, given prime time slots to preferred newsreaders, paying some more than others and crushing criticism, the newspaper reported.

Kganyago denied this. "People want to make this a Mahendra versus Amrit issue. It is not," he told Sapa.

He also denied that financial problems affected the newsroom.

"There is nothing wrong with our news," he said.

Click here to read the full report, posted on