Faked CVs, nasty SMSs, threats of violence and incompetent management –
the SABC's Bloemfontein office was a snake pit that had it all. This is the picture that emerged from a 2006 forensic report on the state of affairs at the SABC's Bloemfontein office, writes Louise Flanagan in The Star.
Documents describe battles among the staff, including former Lesedi FM current affairs executive producer Hlaudi Motsoeneng – the man whose axing brought about last week's downfall of SABC group CEO Dali Mpofu and head of news Snuki Zikalala.
Mpofu suspended Zikalala for gross insubordination, allegedly for refusing to reinstate Motsoeneng. Then, a few hours later, the SABC board suspended Mpofu.
There were at least three inquiries into problems at the Free State office criticising Motsoeneng, culminating in the 2006 inquiry by the SABC's group internal audit department, which resulted in his being fired.
This followed another group internal audit investigation in 2003 and a 2002 investigation by Deloitte & Touche.
The August 2006 report on the "forensic investigation into the state of affairs in the Bloemfontein regional news office" found that Motsoeneng and then regional editor James Barkhuizen were unable to rise above office politics and resolve their differences, affecting both newsroom staff and the SABC's image.
Motsoeneng and Barkhuizen bickered and accused each other of anything from interference in work to violent attacks.
Motsoeneng appointed staff and gave others pay hikes without authority. The regional management did nothing about this.
Some staff supported Motsoeneng; some Barkhuizen; and others tried to stay out of the feud.
Investigators found that Motsoeneng victimised staff by constantly reminding them of their future at the broadcaster, while Barkhuizen threatened to fire them.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said last night he was not privy to the contents of any of the internal audits.
Click here for the full report, posted on The Star's website (subscription required).Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â