The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is too important to be allowed to collapse and must be placed under administration immediately, Media Monitoring Africa said on Monday, after confirmation that CEO Lulama Mokhobo has resigned.

The SABC issued a statement on Monday afternoon confirming the resignation. This was despite last week’s denial by the broadcaster when the news of her departure first surfaced

“The SABC board and Ms Mokhobo have amicably agreed to part ways,” SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement.

Communications Minister Yunus Carrim said he was informed of Ms Makhobo’s departure, which the board had accepted, and the stability of the broadcaster was important to his department.

“We are informed that this was a mutually agreed separation, and accepted by the board. Obviously, we are concerned about stability at the SABC and urge that the vacant senior posts be filled as soon as possible,” Mr Carrim said.

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said the news was devastating for the country and the credibility of the SABC was under scrutiny again.

“It’s less that three months before national elections, it’s a deep crisis for us as a nation, and how on earth do you expect a broadcaster to deliver on its mandate when there is no substantive leadership?”

“With today’s (announcement) it now means that the SABC has five of its top senior management positions effectively vacant. As things stand, four vacant positions have been filled with ‘acting’ titles. The acting chief operational officer, acting chief financial officer, acting head of news and the acting head of strategy. The resignation of the CEO is the last straw and immediate action should be taken.

“We still have got potential conflict going on; there is little political will for the SABC to function as a broadcaster. There are some fundamental questions that must be answered, we call for the SABC to be put under administration, and we need an audit to maintain credibility and a public editor ahead of the elections,” Mr Bird said.

Campaign organiser at Save our SABC Sekoetlane Phamodi said the public broadcaster should act with urgency to restore public confidence.

This article was published on the Business Day website.

For more of MMA’s views on this story, see “Mokhobo’s resignation a major setback for SABC” by The Citizen, and Channel24’s “SABC in ‘serious crisis’ after CEO quits”.