SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng File picture: Timothy Bernard

Johannesburg - Christmas came early for some middle managers at the SABC who were paid a month’s salary bonus on Friday – apparently at the behest of the public broadcaster’s operations chief Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The rest of SABC staffers each got bonuses of R8 000 as a reward for hard work during coverage of the 2010 World Cup and for Nelson Mandela’s death.

Several SABC insiders told The Sunday Independent that Motsoeneng has also proposed that executives in Auckland Park each be given R100 000 in bonuses. But a source said executives were said to have been offered two months’ salary as part of Motsoeneng’s bonus scheme.

The payments, which the SABC denies are bonuses, follow Motsoeneng’s boasting in February that the SABC had R1-billion in the bank after paying off in full a Nedbank loan of a similar amount.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said it was incorrect to call the payments bonuses: “They’re ex-gratia payments thanking staff for their work.” He denied executives, including he, were in line for a two months’ salary as a bonus.

He said executives had not been paid bonuses for the past five years. However, in 2012/13, the SABC paid over R2.4m in bonuses and commissions to three senior executives. Commercial enterprises executive Anton Heunis got nearly R1.75m and former SABC2 general manager Bessie Tugwana R338 000. Radio group executive Leslie Ntloko scored bonuses and commissions of R332 000, according to the public broadcaster’s 2012/13 annual report.

Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union president Hannes Buisson said they were unhappy that middle managers got a month’s salary while other employees were paid R8 000.

The Sunday Independent reported in March that the Treasury expected decreased SABC profits of nearly R22.3m to be posted in the past financial year.

The SABC’s projected profit of R22.3m is a massive reduction from the R329m it posted in 2012/13. In 2011/12, the profit was R343.5m. It reported a R129.3m loss in 2010/11.

The Treasury says SABC profits decreased nearly 156 percent between 2010/11 and 2013/14. Total revenue was expected to increase from about R6.87bn in 2012/13 to R7.3bn by end of March this year.

Motsoeneng appears to be in the pound seat at the SABC despite a DA court bid to have his appointment declare invalid and a public protector’s probe.

Sunday Independent