Peter Matlare once gave us a taste of prosperity, then tragedy ...

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Peter Matlare once gave us a taste of prosperity, then tragedy struck

If only the ANC had appointed people of his calibre to run our SOEs, SA would be a very different place today

Executive editor: opinions and analysis

Ask the people who were at the SABC when the executive leadership changed hands from Peter Matlare, who has sadly succumbed to Covid-19, to Dali Mpofu in the mid-2000s. Most cannot contain their laughter when they recall that era. Mpofu was a Luthuli House deployee who arrived to find an SABC that Matlare had professionalised, corporatised and run at a handsome profit. Matlare was a highly ethical and competent executive who was averse to political interference. He spent his time at the helm resisting a board that was bent on interfering in his work.

When that board finally won and Matlare called it quits, irritated at the constant interference, Mpofu was brought in. You could immediately see even from outside of the public broadcaster how Mpofu’s arrival coincided with the dropping of standards. He would feature daily in TV news bulletins, dressed in a white shirt and green tie, which became the official attire for his so-called “green revolution” campaign. Male journalists were even forced to wear these green ties when covering news stories.  

I can never forget how he and the green tie featured daily in news bulletins. The camera would follow him everywhere. Reporters would interview him in the office; the next day they would be with him at this or other gathering. I always wondered if he found time to do his work in between these daily self-promotions. It was narcissism of the worst kind, and a gross abuse of news reporting tools and airtime that should have been directed towards real news events...

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