Boss of SABC in North West ac­cused of dish­ing out ex­tra time on air for the prov­ince’s premier

CityPress - - News - POLOKO TAU and CHARL BLIGNAUT news@city­press.co.za

SABC staff in North West want the broad­caster’s newly es­tab­lished board to in­ves­ti­gate its re­gional gen­eral man­ager, Dan Mon­gale, who is de­scribed as be­ing one of for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng’s ap­pointees and hench­men.

Two unions and sev­eral sources have ac­cused Mon­gale of abus­ing his po­si­tion by al­lo­cat­ing more air­time for Premier Supra Mahumapelo at the ex­pense of fair and bal­anced re­port­ing. They say Mot­soe­neng ap­pointed Mon­gale de­spite his not hav­ing the req­ui­site qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and that se­nior, more de­serv­ing can­di­dates were over­looked.

Im­pec­ca­ble sources have told City Press that when Mon­gale was vet­ted by na­tional in­tel­li­gence, it was re­vealed – and con­veyed to Mot­soe­neng – that Mon­gale had a prior con­vic­tion for di­a­mond smug­gling, and his ap­point­ment was discouraged. Mot­soe­neng, say sources, over­ruled the vet­ting process and in­sisted Mon­gale be hired any­way.

“Sea­soned jour­nal­ists with post­grad­u­ate de­grees and im­pec­ca­ble ex­pe­ri­ence in ra­dio and tele­vi­sion were over­looked many times in his favour,” a source said.

Mon­gale told City Press that al­le­ga­tions around the fact that he did not at­tain a ma­tric cer­tifi­cate were “mis­chievous”. He said he passed ma­tric at Kgo­motso High School in Pampier­stad, North­ern Cape, in 1981 and joined the SABC the next year. He also de­nied that he had dealt in di­a­monds. He did not pro­vide City Press with a copy of his ma­tric cer­tifi­cate and his claim could not be ver­i­fied.

A for­mer Broad­cast­ing, Elec­tronic, Me­dia & Al­lied Work­ers’ Union rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the prov­ince said it had tried for sev­eral years to get the SABC’s hu­man re­sources di­vi­sion to sup­ply Mon­gale’s ma­tric cer­tifi­cate, but was un­suc­cess­ful.

“No one I know has ever seen [Mon­gale’s] ma­tric cer­tifi­cate.,” said the source who can­not be named as he still works at the broad­caster and fears vic­tim­i­sa­tion.

The Me­dia Work­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of SA said it was wor­ried about these is­sues in the re­gional news­room.

The as­so­ci­a­tion’s gen­eral sec­re­tary, Tuwani Gu­mani, said: “The news­room [in the North West re­gion] has no­to­ri­ously en­joyed a large share of re­pres­sion, cen­sor­ship and abuses of em­ploy­ment law. The pa­tron­age sys­tem had many fix­ers and en­forcers.”

Broad­cast­ing, Elec­tronic, Me­dia & Al­lied Work­ers Union (Be­mawu) said it filed sev­eral com­plaints about the man­age­ment style of Mr Mon­gale. He is ag­gres­sive to­wards staff, does not tol­er­ate any re­sistence and when op­posed, does not hes­i­tate to trans­gress the labour laws to get to op­po­nents. He is au­to­cratic and of­ten abuse his power at the work­place. A prime ex­am­ple is the sus­pen­sion of the Motwed­ing Sta­tion man­ager by Mon­gale. The Sta­tion Man­ager in­ter alia was sus­pended for try­ing to fol­low SABC pro­ce­dure by ro­tat­ing staff to act in a po­si­tion, some­thing Mon­gale - for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons - dis­agreed with. Mon­gale is po­lit­i­cally bi­ased, a bad man­ager and part of the regime re­spon­si­ble for the sorry state the SABC finds it­self in.

His ap­point­ment was sus­pect, his con­duct to­wards staff ap­pal­ing and ques­tion­able.At least two for­mer re­porters at the SABC in North West told City Press that they once re­ceived a call from Mahumapelo in which he gave direc­tives on how news sto­ries about him should be re­ported on tele­vi­sion or ra­dio. Mahumapelo’s spokesper­son de­nied this.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties in the prov­ince said they had com­plained about the ex­ces­sive coverage Mahumapelo was get­ting, but the com­plaints fell on deaf ears.

The DA’s pro­vin­cial leader, Joe McGluwa, said: “The prob­lem is that Mon­gale, who is at the cen­tre of the SABC’s cap­ture, con­trols news con­tent in [the premier’s] favour. No other party in the prov­ince can call the SABC and go straight on air like him.”

An Eco­nomic Free­dom Fighters mem­ber of the pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­ture, Al­fred Motsi, said the SABC in North West had been cap­tured and that the SABC ig­nored the party’s ob­jec­tions against ex­ces­sive coverage of the premier.

Mahumapelo’s spokesper­son, Brian Setswambung, de­nied the premier was get­ting pref­er­en­tial treat­ment.

“The al­le­ga­tion that the premier called SABC North West bosses about neg­a­tive com­ments is un­for­tu­nate, mis­lead­ing and de­void of the truth. We dis­miss the al­le­ga­tion of im­proper in­flu­ence on the SABC North West with the con­tempt it de­serves, be­cause we know that our prin­ci­pals avail them­selves to in­ter­view re­quests as a con­se­quence of the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the pub­lic and our re­la­tion­ship with the me­dia in gen­eral,” he said.

SABC staff claimed that those who ques­tioned Mahumapelo’s ex­ces­sive use of the broad­caster were ei­ther taken off air or shifted to less in­flu­en­tial po­si­tions such as pro­duc­ing cur­rent af­fairs pro­grammes.

The SABC’s na­tional spokesper­son, Kaizer Kganyago, said the SABC would not dis­cuss these is­sues as they were in­ter­nal mat­ters.

“We call upon any­one who has a query around these mat­ters to raise them through the cor­rect in­ter­nal pro­cesses so they are ad­dressed ac­cord­ingly,” he said.


CAP­TURED? SABC North West gen­eral man­ager Dan Mon­gale (left) meets with Premier Supra Mahumapelo at the broad­caster’s stu­dios

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