IN THE NEWS:  The SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters. The broadcaster is under attack from outside forces, says its chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
IN THE NEWS: The SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

MINISTER of Communications Faith Muthambi has confirmed, in response to a Parliamentary question from the DA, that the SABC reached an out-of-court settlement with its former group CE Frans Matlala.

The settlement was reached in July, a day before Matlala was due to appear before a disciplinary committee. He was suspended in November last year, just four months after taking up the post. No reasons were given for his suspension, but he was quoted at the time as saying that he was ordered to stop helping the Treasury with an investigation into a controversial TV studio procurement deal by the public broadcaster.

The SABC in July refused to confirm whether or not it had settled with Matlala, saying it did not comment on employee matters.

Muthambi’s department, in reply to the question from the DA on settlements reached with employees in all entities reporting to her, confirmed the settlements with Matlala, SABC chief audit executive Lorraine Francois, its head of legal services and its head of technology.

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"The separation agreement remains confidential between the parties, the amount paid out to them is part of the agreement which cannot be disclosed for any reason whatsoever, without prior written consent of the other party to disclose it," Muthambi said in her reply.

The settlements would be available in the annual reports of the various entities to be tabled in Parliament by the end of September.

She said the Media Development and Diversity Agency had also reached an out-of-court settlement with its former CE Samuel Vilikazi. Again, she would not reveal the amount paid out to him as it remained confidential between the parties.

The settlement with Matlala in July came as the governance crisis at the SABC was sharply in focus, with eight employees facing disciplinary processes at the time for speaking out against an editorial decision to ban the broadcast of violent protests.