Johannesburg - Acting SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng never claimed to have a matric certificate when he was employed by the public broadcaster 19 years ago, his lawyer said on Thursday.
“He was headhunted by Lesedi FM in the Free State and did not respond to an advert... and he was clear about his record,” said his lawyer Zola Majavu.
“Those who headhunted him held discussions with him and offered him a job as a broadcaster.”
Motsoeneng did not study for matric as a whole, but wrote “one or two” subjects here and there, which included supplementary exams, he said.
In a report released on Monday, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found Motsoeneng had committed fraud by stating in his application form that he had completed matric at Metsimantsho High School in QwaQwa.
She said: “By his own admission, Mr Motsoeneng stated in his application form that he had passed matric, filled in made-up symbols in the same application form, and promised to supply a matric certificate to confirm his qualifications when he knew he did not have the promised certificate. (This) was admitted by him during an interview.”
Majavu said on Thursday Motsoeneng had told his employers he was uncertain about his matric subject symbols, and offered to travel to Pretoria to verify the symbols with the education department.
“He found that his subjects do not qualify as matric and told his employers.”
He did not take the job, but was called again, he said.
Through the years, Motsoeneng attained certificates, which include a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level five.
“You will find that the NQF level five is higher than matric,” Majavu said.
“My client has never claimed to have a matric certificate.”
Three different SABC boards and three CEOs never asked for a matric certificate from him, he said.
In her report, Madonsela said Motsoeneng would never have been appointed in 1995 had he not lied about his qualifications.
“He repeated that lie in 2003 when he applied for the post of executive producer: current affairs to which he accordingly should have never been appointed.”
Madonsela said it was worrying that Motsoeneng's file had “disappeared” at the SABC amid his denial of falsifying his qualifications.
“At one point he used the absence of evidence to support his contention that there was no evidence of his alleged fraudulent misrepresentation,” she said.
“The circumstantial evidence points to a motive on his part although incontrovertible evidence to allow a definite conclusion that he did in fact cause the disappearance of his employment records, particularly his application forms and CV, could not be found.” - Sapa