ANC's NEC joins chorus wanting Hlaudi axed
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Johannesburg - Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s days at the SABC appear to be numbered, after the ANC’s top decision-making body between its conferences - the national executive committee - called on the board to give him the boot.
The intervention of the NEC follows a string of similar moves by entities ranging from President Jacob Zuma to the cabinet and the ANC in Parliament, after a Supreme Court of Appeal judgment.
But Motsoeneng and the SABC board have stubbornly refused to heed the call for the former chief operating officer to go. He has now been appointed as group executive of corporate affairs.
The NEC’s call on Monday comes before the SABC board is due to meet the portfolio committee on communications in Parliament on Wednesday on the illegal appointment of Motsoeneng.
Due process had not been followed in his appointment, the ANC said in Parliament last week.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said the NEC had discussed the Motsoeneng matter at the weekend.
Motsoeneng has had his salary increased once again - from R3.7 million to R4.1m - in a year, despite the SABC losing hundreds of millions of rand.
The SABC has suffered its third consecutive loss, yet Motsoeneng was rewarded with a bonus of R11.4m and another R33m bonus payment is on the way.
Mantashe said they had serious discussions on the troubled state-owned entities.
“On the SABC, the NEC called for the board of the corporation to review the decision to appoint Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng as group executive for corporate affairs. The NEC also agreed on the need for a parliamentary inquiry into the board’s fitness to hold office,” he said.
The portfolio committee is expected to raise the issue of the inquiry when it meets the SABC board tomorrow.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said last week the meeting was an urgent matter to deal with the issue of defying the courts and appointing Motsoeneng illegally.
The board is expected to face tough questions from MPs on Tuesday.
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi is also expected to tell the board to rescind its decision on Motsoeneng.
Zuma had also called on Motsoeneng to respect the appeal court's decision, while Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said the SABC must stop being a law unto itself and must begin to respect decisions of the courts as final arbiters.
It has been two weeks since Motsoeneng’s appointment was ruled irrational and unlawful.
When it presented its financials last week, the SABC refused to answer questions on why Motsoeneng was paid a R11.4m bonus for selling its archives to MultiChoice.
On Monday, the DA and Cope protested outside the SABC’s Auckland Park headquarters. Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota said the public broadcaster was in the hands of a small minority, headed by Zuma, who had “broken his oath of office”.
He poked fun at Motsoeneng, saying he had improved himself by buying himself a hat. This was after the SABC strongman appeared at a media briefing wearing a hat last week.
The DA’s John Moodey said: “Under Zuma’s leadership, South Africa has become a banana republic... It is being governed by Zuma’s puppets.”
Motsoeneng was at the SABC to protect Zuma’s and the ANC’s interests, he added.
Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba said they had demanded that Parliament fire Motsoeneng and disband the SABC board, with immediate effect.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the crisis at the SABC was undermining the freedom many had fought for. He called on Motsoeneng to go because “freedom is at stake”.
“This is a project of Jacob Zuma. Zuma has captured the state, so we must also say: 'Jacob Zuma must go'.”