Hlaudi Motsoeneng

Johannesburg - Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has vowed to defend his R11.5m pension pay-out and get back his job at the public broadcaster.

Motsoeneng told journalists in Joburg that he was ready to defend all pending legal cases against him. He admitted that his uppermost priority was to put in a solid legal challenge against the SABC’s interim board’s bid to prevent him from accessing his pension pay-out. 

On August 4, the interim board lodged an urgent application in the High Court in Joburg in which it asked the court to interdict the SABC pension fund (separate unit in the SABC which looks after employees’ pension funds) from paying Motsoeneng.

In their application, the board argued that the decision to award Motsoeneng an R11.5m bonus was “irrational, irregular and without any factual or legal basis”. The bonus, according to evidence before the court, was as a result of Motsoeneng negotiating a R533m MultiChoice contract, which gave the private broadcaster access to to the
SABC’s archives. 

The archives, it is alleged, apparently also include some of Nelson Mandela’s court proceedings in the 1964 Rivonia Trial, as well as his release from prison on February 11, 1990. On Thursday, Motsoeneng said he was going to defend this matter. He said the urgent application was due to be heard this week, but had to be postponed to a later date following an agreement between the parties.

Motsoeneng also said he would be in the Labour Court in Joburg on September 6, to give reasons why he should not be held personally liable for legal costs of the SABC 8. The costs order application came after the so-called SABC 8 successfully challenged their dismissal from the public broadcaster after they defied Motsoeneng’s instruction not to show violent service delivery protests on any of the platforms of the SABC. 

Motsoeneng also welcomed the decision by President Jacob Zuma to sign a proclamation allowing the SIU to probe allegations of fraud and corruption into the SABC, saying such a move will give him an opportunity to clear his name. “I am very happy that the probe is on. It will be an opportunity for the people to know what really happened at the SABC, including the decision to fire me. “I will now be given an opportunity to deal with the hullabaloo around me,” he said.

He continued to protest his innocence, saying during his tenure, the SABC was on financially sound grounds especially after his introduction of the 90% local content. In his view, his 90% concept had attracted a lot of revenue for the SABC through advertising. 

“The advertisers like the idea. Their interest was to fund programmes that had a high listener and viewership,” Motsoeneng said. According to Motsoeneng, his dismissal at the public broadcaster led to the alleged decline of advertising revenue. He placed the blame for this on the parliamentary ad hoc committee findings and the appointment of the interim SABC board.

Motsoeneng also appealed to the parliamentary committee who are interviewing new candidates for the SABC board not to consider any of the interim board members.
He made certain other allegations about the board but these could not be substantiated or verified by him and his alleged sources.

Political Bureau