Financial mismanagement and maladministration, the wilful purging of staff members and an admission by SABC acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng that he did not have a matric certificate are some of the stark findings made by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela into the public broadcaster’s affairs.
On Monday Madonsela released the report into the SABC, titled “When governance and ethics fail”, which shows how Motsoeneng ruled the broadcaster with an iron fist and purged employees who stood in his way or testified against him at a disciplinary hearing.
Motsoeneng also increased his salary three times in one fiscal year, moving his salary 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 in the process bulged the SABC salary bill to R29m.
“He unilaterally increased the salaries of Ms Sully Motsweni, Ms Thobekile Khumalo, Mr Hannes du Buisson and certain freelancers without following parts of the SABC personnel regulations,” Madonsela said.
She could not say how much money was wasted as a result of the salary increments and payouts to purged former employees.
The public protector’s office started investigating issues at the SABC in November 2011 after former senior executive Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande requested an investigation into financial mismanagement, among other issues. More complaints came from other senior SABC employees, who claimed Motsoeneng was appointed without having proper qualifications.
In his application for the COO post, Motsoeneng claimed that he had matriculated at Metsimantsho High School in QwaQwa, Free State, when he was 23.
“Mr Motsoeneng would have never been appointed in 1995 had he not lied about his qualification and… he repeated that lie in 2003 when he applied for the post of executive producer: current affairs…”
The report also found that former SABC chairman Dr Ben Ngubane acted irregularly when he ordered that qualification requirements for the appointment for the COO position be altered to remove certain qualifications – tailor-making it for Motsoeneng.
But Motsoeneng isn’t the only person who was painted in a dim light by the report. Disgraced former communications minister Dina Pule and her lover Phosane Mngqibisa were found to have interfered in the appointment of chief financial officer Gugu Duda.
Duda is currently suspended for procurement-related irregularities.
* September 2006: SABC charges Motsoeneng, then Lesedi FM’s executive producer and head of news and current affairs, with racism, dishonesty, and promoting women without following due process.
* January 2007: Motsoeneng is dismissed.
* April 2008: SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu reinstates Motsoeneng in what is seen as giving in to pressure from the pro-Jacob Zuma faction.
* January, 2012: Lulama Mokhobo is appointed as the new group CEO. She immediately places an internal advertisement for the post of COO. Motsoeneng later gets the job.
* April 2012: Mokhobo places news head Phil Molefe on special leave.
* December 2012: Motsoeneng cans a radio debate on how the media would cover the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung, saying any discussion involving the ANC on the SABC had to include an ANC representative.
* February 2013: SABC board dismisses Motsoeneng and redeploys him in his previous position as group executive for provinces and stakeholder relations. Head of radio news and current affairs Mike Siluma replaces Motsoeneng as acting COO, only for board chairman Ben Ngubane to reinstate Motsoeneng.
* March 2013: Parliament dissolves the entire SABC board. Zuma appoints a new board.
* April 2013: MPs object to|Motsoeneng’s presence during the interim board’s first appearance in Parliament.
* October 2013: Motsoeneng cans the talk show The Big Debate.