The SABC is mourning the death of one of its assignment editors, Tumelo Matloha. According to the family, 48-year-old Matloha succumbed to COVID-19 complications after he was admitted to hospital two weeks ago.
Matloha joined the SABC as an intern in 1996 and was hired as a reporter in 1997. He was promoted to be an assignment editor in December 2006.
Matloha was working at the SABC’s Pretoria office at the time of his passing. He also worked at the public broadcaster’s Limpopo office for some time. He succumbed to COVID-19 this past Sunday.
Matloha’s childhood friend and family spokesperson, Charles Ramabulana describes him as a perfectionist.
“You can imagine we are really, really gutted as a family and his friends, obviously. So, when we received the news as well, it was the worst possible news you could get. Ironically, on his birthday on the 9th of August, that’s when he was admitted and the doctor said, ‘you tested positive.’ And he loved journalism, as you guys knew him. He was a perfectionist and extremely passionate about it. When you sit down and talk to him, he would critic how stories were carried from one media to the other.”
Matloha’s line manager and Regional News Editor, Isaac Masemola, described him as a robust, but always firm individual.
“And when Maphungupye was on the pipeline, it was Tumelo who broke that story. Very robust and very strict. Sometimes he would want things to go his way, but as we know in this profession we always debate issues. He was kind of a firm person who would want things done professionally and on time.”
His colleagues in the Pretoria newsroom say they’ve lost a friend and a colleague.
“Sometime, we would eat lunch together and he was a kind of an easy-going person. There would be times when I come in moody and he would say, ‘hi wena, what’s wrong? Let’s go and buy food,” says one colleague.
“Well, Tumelo was very strict. He was a strict editor. But he would also liked to mentor young interns. He would be at the forefront of that programme,” adds another.
Nonhlahla Mahlangu, senior producer for the Ikwekwezi FM’s Current Affairs News, remembered him as a brave journalist.
“I mean I have known him for a very long time as an intern. We came here almost the same year. He was very brave. He would go and cover the taxi violence in Soshanguve when it was very, very tense.”
Matloha is survived by his mother, two sons and a younger brother.
Funeral arrangements will be announced later.