Don’t punish Hlaudi for old lie - SABC

Johannesburg - SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not be punished for a lie he told 19 years ago, the broadcaster said in court papers, according to The New Age on Thursday.

SABC board chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala denied that the broadcaster and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi rewarded “malfeasance” when permanently appointing Motsoeneng.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng File picture: Timothy Bernard. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

“He has been appointed in the interests of the SABC - to achieve its stability going forward,” she was quoted as saying.

“Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been in the position of acting COO for more than two years and there is no direct evidence of harm that he has caused to the SABC in that time.”

In February, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report on Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO. She found that his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC. Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed to the SABC within 90 days.

In July, Muthambi announced Motsoeneng's permanent appointment, saying he was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before the decision was made.

The Democratic Alliance launched a high court bid to have his appointment set aside. Muthambi and the SABC filed opposing court papers.

The newspaper reported that Tshabalala, in her papers, rubbished Madonsela's report.

“Upon investigation into this recommendation by the public protector, the SABC is satisfied that there has been no irregular spending through unlawful and improper actions of Motsoeneng.”

Madonsela's office said on Wednesday she had subpoenaed Muthambi as part of her investigation because she could not secure a meeting with her.

“The public protector wrote to the minister last month requesting a meeting and the minister responded by saying that as the matter is a subject of an ongoing court process, she was not going to avail herself for a meeting with the public protector,” Madonsela's spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi said. - Sapa