Jimi Matthews has been praised as “doing the right thing” following his resignation from the SABC today.
Matthews, who was acting SABC chief executive, tweeted today that he had resigned.
“What is happening at the broadcaster is wrong and I can longer be part of it,” he said in his resignation letter to Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, chairperson of the SABC board.
Matthews said the “corrosive atmosphere” at the SABC had affected his moral judgement negatively and his resignation was effective immediately.
“[The resignation] wasn’t a surprise for me. We welcome the decision and can only commend him. It’s never too late to do the right thing,” said William Bird, Director of Media Monitoring Africa.
“I’ve known Jimi as a man of principle and high moral value who valued the public broadcaster in its role of democracy,” Bird added.
Bird’s sentiments were echoed by union leader Hannes du Buisson.
“We’ve been complaining about what’s been going on at the SABC and we commend Jimi for that immensely brave move,” said Du Buisson, who is a spokesperson for the Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union.
“There are a number of journalists facing suspension and disciplinary action for simply doing their jobs and upholding the Broadcasting Act. It is ridiculous,” du Buisson said.
Bird said that by now the SABC “should be hitting the panic button” and act against the ongoing damage to the broadcaster’s reputation.
“If anything, Jimi’s resignation is an alarm bell for everyone concerned about democracy,” he said.