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Johannesburg - Acting SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has dismissed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s adverse findings against him, saying her findings were “not gospel truth”.
An unrepentant Motsoeneng also dared the SABC to forge ahead and enforce her recommendations and sanction him.
He said he was prepared to go all the way to the Constitutional Court to fight any action against him.
Three days after Madonsela released her damning report, entitled “When governance and ethics fail”, Motsoeneng was spitting fire on Thursday.
“I am very glad and excited. I am stronger than on Thursday and I will always soldier on. I am focusing on my work at the SABC,” he said.
He defended himself through his attorney Zola Majavu and lashed out at his detractors.
Motsoeneng suggested that Madonsela’s findings were not absolute and that they would have to be subjected to tests by the courts as she was not above the law. “The fact that the public protector has spoken is not gospel. It is the beginning of a (legal) process. My client respects the office of the PP but he doesn’t blindly agree with her. We are saying to her, for you to place belief in information, you must prove it,” Majavu said.
“We are prepared to go all the way to the Constitutional Court, if needs be.”
Majavu dismissed Madonsela’s findings that Motsoeneng had unilaterally hiked his salary three times in a single financial year, resulting in his salary skyrocketing from R1.4 million a year to R2.4m – which amounted to a 63 percent increase.
He said Motsoeneng’s salary was justified as he had moved from a managerial position to an executive rank. He blamed the accusations that Motsoeneng unilaterally hiked his salary and those of certain staff members, and purged those who dared to testify against him, on some “whistle-blowers” at the SABC.
“There is nowhere in the report where it is suggested that the money (Motsoeneng’s salary) is not in line with his position.”
Majavu then dared the SABC to sanction Motsoeneng.
“If it is found that he committed misconduct in purging, let due process follow. There are also the allegations that he abused his power. We don’t know that, unless those persons were idiots to be manipulated by a matric-less person.”
On Madonsela’s finding that Motsoeneng’s unilateral purging of staff members and the hiking of others’ salaries had resulted in the SABC’s bill escalating by R29m, Majavu said: “There is no mention as to how the R29m was arrived at. The issue will be ventilated in a proper tribunal. In a court of law and tribunal.”