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M&G article aims to discredit strategy head, says SABC

The SABC says in a statement issued on Saturday that the tone of the Mail & Guardian article 'No conflict,' strategy boss insists' published the previous day, Friday 17 July 2009, was to discredit the corporation's head of group strategy Sipho Sithole. The broadcaster also accuses the newspapers of using its (the SABC's) responses selectively and in some instances out of context.
M&G article aims to discredit strategy head, says SABCThe SABC claims in its statement that it supplied the Mail & Guardian with a comprehensive response and while it considers the issue of the alleged payment of R42.6 million to Sithole and Gemini to be baseless and both “malicious and defamatory”, in its response to the newspaper the broadcaster stated that it and Sithole were “waiting eagerly for the result of the forensic audit report on this and any other allegation that has been made by the unions and any other grouping”.

SABC management asked for investigation

The SABC says it stated in its response that it was in fact management that asked Parliament to investigate all the allegations that were placed before it. The SABC says it also stated that it was glad that parliament had asked the Auditor General to investigate, but claims that this position was never made clear by Mail & Guardian.

The statement states “As a matter of fact Mr Sithole was not even employed by the SABC when the company embarked on a process of choosing a consulting firm to implement the SABC strategy” and that he was brought into the SABC only “after Gemini was already appointed and therefore his involvement thereafter was to drive and oversee the strategy implementation programme”.

Insinuation is ‘absurd and malicious'

The SABC says that Sithole, as its head of group strategy, deals with all strategy and policy including the music policy and that all these policies are designed to “position the SABC as a relevant public service broadcaster in a converged media and broadcasting landscape”. It says that “inevitably” Sithole's involvement in the development of the music policy and strategy, which the SABC views as a vehicle in transforming the local music industry, is no exception, but that he is not responsible for the implementation of the policy on the broadcaster's respective radio stations and TV platforms.

The SABC claims that the insinuation that Sithole had a hand in having Native Rhythm Productions artist Camagwini perform at the 2007 MetroFM Awards is “both absurd and malicious” with the intent to discredit Camagwini, the company and the SABC.

It says it also confirmed to the newspaper that Sithole had declared his co-ownership in Native Rhythms Productions and the broadcaster knew about his involvement in the company when he was recruited.

The SABC statement says that Sithole has reserved the right to seek legal advice and recourse if necessary.

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