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Johannesburg - Communications Minister Dina Pule seemingly wants the controversial SABC acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng to be reinstated to his temporary post – but ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says Motsoeneng has no claim to the position. Mantashe lashed out at boardroom factions and power games being played in parastatals, in reference to the simmering tensions at SABC and Eskom.
It came in the same week that Pule told the SABC board in a letter that their decision to demote and apparently reinstate Motsoeneng was illegal and against corporate governance.
However, her spokesman Siya Qoza said it was not up to Pule to decide on the fate of its executives. But an SABC board member who asked not to be named because of tensions at the broadcaster said it was clear that Pule was pushing for the reinstatements.
Qoza said Pule has given the board “a week to discuss how they intend to deal with disunity amongst themselves”.
In her letter, Pule demands that the board reverses its decision on Motsoeneng and also reinstate the suspended chief financial officer, Gugu Duda, arguing that she was not informed about the decisions.
Duda was suspended in September – six months after she was appointed – for signing off a R3 million donation to the Department of Communications’s ICT Communications indaba last June without the permission of the SABC board.
Pule said the suspension of Duda and demotion and reinstatement of Motsoeneng were “unprocedural”. “I therefore cannot accede to both requests dated February 26 and March 1, 2013. I direct you to follow the law and the 2011 memorandum of incorporation provisions in dealing with these corporate governance matters,” Pule said.
At the end of last month, Motsoeneng was removed from the position and told to return to his position as general manager of provinces.
Days later he was allegedly reappointed by SABC chairman Ben Ngubane.
But board member Lumko Mtimde later said Motsoeneng had not been reinstated, because the board decision was made by quorate and neither the board chairman or deputy could unilaterally make a reinstatement. However, Mantashe said, in response to The Sunday Independent regarding infighting in the SABC, that he did not understand the brouhaha around Motsoeneng. “He is acting, I don’t know why is it newsworthy when the person is told to go back to his old position. It comes to this thing of playing games, boardroom factions.
“Motsoeneng is not the COO of SABC, he was the acting COO of the SABC. When I act… (it is temporary)… you have no claim to that position. The SABC has been worrying for some time, it is better than it was now but we must deal with the loose ends,” said Mantashe.
In another dramatic resignation, the SABC company secretary Theresa Geldenhuys this week resigned but later withdrew.
Meanwhile Mantashe indirectly lashed out at its chief executive officer Brian Dames, saying he must not play games. He was responding to The Sunday Independent’s question on the state of the parastatal and the persistent rumour of Dames’s resignation. “The pending resignation of Eskom CEO… I still want to know where was that pending (resignation) because the rumour was that he wants to resign because somebody wants to get rid of him.
“When he was confronted… there was nothing coming. To me that is not a crisis. It is a particular kind of behaviour that must be avoided by people in senior positions. You don’t play games when you are holding a senior position.”
Dames said he had no comment.