Former SABC board chairperson Ben Ngubane has denied altering a job advert for the position of SABC COO to benefit Hlaudi Motsoeneng who did not have the required qualifications to be considered for the powerful position.
Ngubane took the stand on Monday at the Zondo commission and testified about his role as chairperson at the SABC between January 2010 and March 2013.
He faced numerous questions on his relationship with Motsoeneng who has been accused of disregarding the SABC’s editorial independence for his benefit.
Ngubane said Motsoeneng was well-liked and had been brought in from the SABC in Bloemfontein to help in the chief executive officer in transforming under-performing radio stations.
He said Motsoeneng hit the ground running and helped pitch interesting ideas for the broadcaster.
During the Parliament’s inquiry into the SABC in 2017, Ngubane was questioned on the public protector’s findings that he had altered a job advert to help benefit Motsoeneng and be appointed as COO, a position he was acting in at the time.
Advocate Thandi Norman, the evidence leader, questioned Ngubane on the allegations. Ngubane denied that he had asked for the job advert to be altered.
Norman said: “The SABC knew of the skills they wanted and that they wanted someone with a degree and necessary qualifications. Would you agree that looking at this advert that Mr Motsoeneng would not meet the requirements because he did not have a degree or diploma and a matric?”
Ngubane: “That’s correct chairperson”
Norman said: “Then you would not have expected the SABC to appoint such a person in that position?”
Ngubane: “That’s correct chairperson”.
“I never altered any advert chairperson. There is no advert where I wrote with my hands that change this or that. The advert was changed by someone in 2008, it never came to me. I am so surprised that so much emphasis be placed by Miss Mokhobo (former SABC CEO).
Motsoeneng was later appointed as COO.
Relationship with the Guptas
Ngubane also told the commission that he met the Gupta family on various occasions at events hosted by The New Age and the SABC. He also admitted to attending various events at the family’s Saxonworld home.
“I attended those breakfast partnerships with The New Age and we would sit with the Gupta family. On a few occasions, I went to social events at their home. That is the only exposure I had with the family,” Ngubane said.