SABC manager allegedly plots attack on presenter — including plans to torch his car

The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) head of news has axed a manager and her subordinate after being caught plotting an attack on a news presenter, City Press reports.

The two were reportedly caught discussing the attack — which included setting the presenter’s car on fire — in a cellphone audio recording.

However, Borentsi Mooko, now ex-Sesotho news bulletin editor at the SABC’s headquarters in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, opted for early retirement after being confronted by the head of news.

Lefu Mokhoto, Mooko’s co-accused and now former news bulletin writer at SABC, has been fired in connection with the incident.

Their intended target was Sesotho news presenter Tshediso Mahloane, who has since opened a case at the Brixton police station.

Mooko allegedly suspected Mahloane — who she had recruited from Lesedi FM earlier this year — of being a spy planted to have her ousted from the SABC.

She also accused Mahloane of witchcraft.

The audio recording has been handed over to the police, and Mooko can reportedly be heard informing Mokhoto of her suspicions.

According to the report, Mokhoto says “the boys” must beat Mahloane up, burn his car, and “close his eyes.”

Mooko and Mokhoto could not be reached for comment.

Borentsi Mooko, former Sesotho news bulletin editor at the SABC’s headquarters.

SABC cutting shows and fighting to avoid liquidation

Mooko may not be the only person at the SABC fearing for her job.

The SABC is expected to report a loss of R1 billion for the year ended 31 March 2023, and the company’s chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon warned that it might have to apply for business rescue to avoid liquidation.

Van Biljon sounded the alarm in a memorandum to SABC board chair Khathutshelo Ramukumba, where she explained that a business rescue application could become a reality for the SABC unless other funding sources are identified and confirmed urgently in the medium to long term.

“In the short term, immediate significant interventions that are in the corporation’s control are required,” wrote Van Biljon.

The SABC is blaming load-shedding, the current economic downfall, and the migration to digital terrestrial TV for its poor performance.

However, a trend of TV licence non-payment has significantly contributed to its financial woes.

Things are so tight at the state-owned broadcaster that it was forced to cut one of its best-performing shows on SABC2 —  the Afrikaans soap 7de Laan.

SABC 2 and producer Danie Odendaal Productions announced that 7de Laan’s final episode would air on 26 December 2023, more than 23 and a half years and nearly 6,000 episodes after its pilot.

An anonymous source said the show was cut due to poor management and the SABC’s dire financial situation.

They described the SABC’s advertising division as “rubbish” and a “joke”.

Despite attracting high viewer numbers, the ads sold during the show’s timeslot failed to generate enough money to pay for the production.

The broadcaster’s advertising revenue for its last reported financial year — 2021/2022 — declined by R740 million.

Alleged Eskom assassination plot

Allegations of conspiracies to attack coworkers at South Africa’s state-owned entities aren’t limited to the SABC. A senior Eskom executive has allegedly ordered a hit on one of their subordinates.

The executive allegedly paid the hitman R400,000 to take out Dorothy Mmushi, a middle manager in Eskom’s forensic department.

Mmushi had reported a chain of illicit activities to the South African Police Service (Saps), and the hitman told her that her “boss is eating with these people [the criminal syndicates]” during a phone call.

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SABC manager allegedly plots attack on presenter — including plans to torch his car