By Valencia Talane
His boss may have told South Africa that he is not going anywhere, but public protector Thuli Madonsela found acting SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng guilty of fraud for lying about his qualifications in his CV. SABC board chair Ellen Tshabalala told the media at a press briefing on Thursday that because Motsoeneng is good at what he does, he is staying in his post at the public broadcaster. For this, we make the SABC board our zero of the week.
On Monday Madonsela released a report titled When Governance and Ethics Fail, in which she found that Motsoeneng’s appointment at the SABC had been irregular and that he had lied about having matric.
“By allowing Mr Motsoeneng to act for a period in excess of three months without the requisite Board resolution and exceeding the capped salary allowance,” said Madonsela in a statement, “the SABC Board acted in violation of the SABC’s 19.2 Articles of Association which deals with appointments.”
Madonsela said while she accepted the explanation that salary increases at the SABC are negotiated without any performance contracts or notch increase parameters, she was of the opinion that Motsoeneng acted in bad faith in getting his salary increases.
“… all [salary increases] were triggered by him presenting his salary increase requests to new incumbents who would have legitimately relied on him for guidance on compliance with corporate prescripts and ethics…”
Motsoeneng’s lawyer told journalists on Thursday that his client is considering taking Madonsela to court over the report.
The SABC has been dogged by controversy over the past few years, mainly because of leadership issues. Countless resignations by the broadcaster’s senior executive have meant that its credibility has taken a knock. The latest to leave is current group CEO Lulama Mokhobo, who is serving notice in the second year of her five-year term. She joined the SABC at the beginning of 2012, replacing Robin Nicholson whose appointment was challenged by then board chair Ben Ngubane, who said the board had not signed off on it.
From a content perspective, the SABC has been accused of censorship of key personalities for what appears to be political reasons. Ironically, the latest of these casualties is Madonsela herself who was scheduled for an interview of one of the broadcaster’s popular current affairs stations, SAfm this week. The interview did not happen as planned and was instead moved to Quiet Time, a programme on DStv’s channel 404.
The Star reported that SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago denied that the broadcaster’s senior managers had ordered the cancellation of the SAfm interview. He said the reason the interview could not continue was because the producers did not find other people to debate with Madonsela.
“A day earlier, the producers invited the public protector, and she agreed. But then they wanted to invite other people, one of them was me. I said to them ‘no’ because the board had not seen the report. They couldn’t find other people,” Kganyago said.