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Johannesburg - Public Protector Thuli Madonsela appears to be the latest high-profile figure to be entangled in the SABC’s unofficial blacklisting policy after her damning findings against acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Insiders say senior SABC managers tried to put pressure on the producers of the Question Time show on MultiChoice’s DStv channel 404 not to air an interview with her.
This was after they had allegedly ordered SAfm’s After 8 Debate to cancel an interview with Madonsela.
Sources said SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago had refused to take part in the Madonsela interview.
Madonsela had already arrived at the public broadcaster’s Auckland Park studios on Tuesday morning when she was told the interview had been cancelled.
Sources said senior SABC managers, including those from Motsoeneng’s office, had approached the producers of the Question Time show, presented by Mpho Tsedu, and demanded to see the recorded interview before it could air.
They then asked about the topics covered and Madonsela’s responses. They were told the tape had been sent to relevant sections for broadcasting, and the show was aired.
“They couldn’t justify their concerns. It was just because Hlaudi was not happy with it (Madonsela’s appearance on Question Time),” said a source.
Madonsela’s spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi, confirmed that the public protector’s interview with SAfm wasn’t held.
“An apology was made and the public protector accepted it,” she said.
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.
He added: “They (the producers) said they had informed her that it (would not) continue, but she came anyway because she was going to do two interviews.”
Quizzed further, Kganyago said: “The people at SAfm tell me that, so I don’t know if somebody messed up and didn’t communicate (to Madonsela).
On the allegations that senior managers had also tried to can Madonsela’s interview on Question Time, Kganyago said: “I don’t know anything about that, but that can always remain a rumour. I only deal with facts.”
This came as a group of opposition parties said they would lay criminal charges against Motsoeneng.
“He clearly acted fraudulently in misrepresenting his qualifications to the SABC, including that he has passed matric,” the group said on Wednesday.
The parties, who call themselves Collective for Democracy, comprise the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, Freedom Front Plus, African Christian Democratic Party, Congress of the People and the United Christian Party.
They called on Communications Minister Yunus Carrim or the SABC board to suspend Motsoeneng pending disciplinary action and to urgently fill the “long vacant” position with “a suitably qualified person”.
Madonsela’s damning report on the SABC found Motsoeneng wilfully purged staff members and hiked his salary three times in one financial year – from R1.4 million to R2.4m – a 63 percent increase. He also hiked the salaries of other senior employees without following proper procedure and increased the SABC salary bill by R29m.