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 Parliament - Controversial SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s annual pay package shot up to R3.78 million a year, while the public broadcaster recorded a loss of R401 million for the last financial year, according to its annual report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.

His remuneration for 2014/15 includes a bonus of R279 000 and marks an increase of nearly a million rand on what he earned before, according to the report.

The company blamed its loss for the period under review - which compares to a profit of R559 million in the 2013/14 financial year - to a R1.2 billion increase in expenses.

“The increase is attributable to substantial investments in programme, film and sports rights, broadcast costs and employee costs,” the report reads.

The Public Protector last year found that Motsoeneng had received three salary increases in a year while acting in the position and said this marked a violation of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s personnel regulations and constituted improper conduct and maladministration.

On Wednesday, Democratic Alliance communications spokesman Gavin Davis commented: “It appears that he is at it again.”

“This near million-rand pay increase is incomprehensible given the ongoing crisis at the SABC,” Davis added.

“There can be no justification for Motsoeneng’s salary to increase by 31 percent in one year…It should be remembered that Motsoeneng was earning just R 334 000 as an SABC radio producer in 2010. Five years later and his salary has increased more than ten-fold.”

Davis said the DA would ask Madonsela to investigate Motsoeneng’s latest pay hike.

“We cannot sit back and allow Motsoeneng to wreck the SABC and be rewarded handsomely for doing so.”

Madonsela recommended that the SABC take disciplinary steps against Motsoeneng for covering the fact that he did not have matric and over the irregularities surrounding his salary.

Instead, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi appointed him on a permanent basis. The SABC’s failure to follow Madonsela’s directives has seen the DA go to court to enforce her report and the case is currently before the Supreme Court of Appeal

The Auditor General gave the entity a qualified audit, noting that it had flouted procurement rules for both the current and prior financial years and failed to reflect the full extent of this in its opening balance.

The understatement amounted to R6.8 million for the year under review and R2 million for prior years.

He said in addition, the broadcaster failed to provide supporting documents to the value of R23 million to test compliance against supply chain management regulations.

ANA