Parliament – A former SABC board member told MPs on Tuesday that SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng wanted unfettered power.
Professor Bongani Khumalo, who served on the SABC board from 2013 until January 2015 when he resigned, told the parliamentary committee that Motsoeneng had “no tolerance for governance” and thought he could “manipulate” anyone to agree with him. “He is what you can call a type-A personality gone wrong,” said Khumalo.
He said Motsoeneng would “negotiate” with a person until they agreed with him.
Khumalo said he resigned from the board after he had been served with a letter from Communications Minister Faith Muthambi in which she asked him to provide reasons why she should not recommend to the president that he be removed.
The letter came after Khumalo had disagreed with the decision to permanently appoint Motsoeneng as the chief operating officer.
Also on Tuesday, SABC board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe said Motsoeneng was doing a “sterling job”.
Asked about the massive cost to the public broadcaster and to taxpayers, of keeping Motsoeneng – who had his 2014 appointment set aside by a court and declared unlawful – in his job, Maguvhe said he did not believe it affected taxpayers’ money.
Pushed further on why attempts should not be made to recoup from Motsoeneng the millions spent on legal fees to protect his position, Maguvhe said that if the majority of board members said he should be appointed, that would be binding.
Meanwhile Krivani Pillay, one of the “SABC8” journalists who was taken to task for speaking out about how news was handled at the broadcaster, testified at the SABC inquiry this week.
Yesterday, Pillay, formerly of Durban, told The Mercury: “I would like to see Parliament take a stand and make a definitive and deci- sive plan to appoint a credible board and credible executives.
“They need to be people who understand how to run a public service broadcaster, and they need to be made accountable.”
Pillay, who is an executive producer for a current affairs show on SAfm, said she hoped the Western Cape High Court’s ruling that Motsoeneng be removed from his position as group executive of corporate affairs would be upheld.
She testified that news had several times been “manipulated” under Motsoeneng’s leadership.
She said in May she was told by him: “No journalist is independent. The COO has final responsibility of news you cannot have people who question management.”