(Updates with chief whip comments)
JOHANNESBURG Dec 19 The last board member at
South Africa's state broadcaster, the SABC, has quit after a
parliamentary investigation into the board's failure to look
into allegations of misspending and censorship, the presidency
said on Monday.
Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, who was subjected to stiff
questioning by a cross-party panel of MPs last week, had been
the sole board member following the resignation of his
colleagues this year in the wake of a string of scandals.
The SABC is the primary news source for South Africa's 54
million people but has been mired in controversy throughout most
of President Jacob Zuma's seven years in office.
At the parliamentary inquiry, journalists spoke of an
unofficial SABC focus on "sunshine news" that included a ban on
airing footage of violent protests ahead of August elections in
which the ruling African National Congress (ANC) lost control of
A court ruled this month that former SABC chief operating
officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who introduced the ban on airing
violent protest footage, should not hold any position at the
broadcaster and barred him from entering the premises.
The court ruling was one of the latest examples of an ally
of Zuma being called to account for allegations of mismanagement
of South African public bodies.
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi denied last week that
she had tried to get the SABC to suppress news of protests and
discontent, when she testified to the investigation.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu, who is among leading ANC
figures to have called for Zuma's resignation, said Maguvhe's
decision to go was better late than never and would enable the
SABC to start repairing its tarnished reputation.
"We are confident that his exit will speed up the process of
addressing the leadership crisis at SABC," Mthembu said in a
In its statement, Zuma's office gave no reason for Maguvhe's
decision. At the parliamentary hearing, Maguvhe defended his
time in charge of the board, saying he had done a "sterling
The parliamentary inquiry is due to deliver its findings at
the end of February.
(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Ed Cropley)