By Lerato Mbangeni, Nokuthula Ntuli And Sapa
Johannesburg - Twitter users were ruthless in their dismissal of SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who has said experience and “a brain” were more important than obtaining “a piece of paper”.
Motsoeneng was quoted as telling Gauteng’s top matriculants that you could have several degrees behind your name, but if you did not have a brain, you were not educated.
“You have two kinds of people in this world. You have certificated people and educated people. You can have many degrees, but also in that you need a brain,” he told the press.
He was clarifying what he meant in a speech he delivered at the announcement of the matric results on Monday, where he reportedly said: “Because if you have paper and you don’t have brain, you can forget (sic).”
He said he was trying to explain that a qualification was not enough. “You can have all the qualifications, but if you can’t operate in the studio, for example, how can you work?” he was quoted as saying
“I qualified myself. People can write and think whatever they want. I don’t know what is the relevance of matric when I have a modern senior certificate, which is higher than the matric certificate.”
On Twitter, most of those who commented expressed their disappointment.
@GvanOnselen: If Hlaudi Motsoeneng educated himself, he is a terrible teacher.
@TimeLord_: Why do they allow Hlaudi Motsoeneng to speak about education? He is such a bad f***ing example.
@SekepeD: What’s the use of going to school while ppl can stay at home and qualify themselves with masters and degrees? #Hlaudi
@ThobileMp: Hlaudi is exhausting. What’s the modern senior certificate now?
@ckowalsk: #hlaudi encourages people to be dishonest and to lie. If the matric is so worthless, why did he lie in the first place?
@MorihlaM: Jerrr. This Hlaudi Motsoeneng guy is a crisis, i tell you!!
@PILLAY_CGLM: Hlaudi speaking on issues above his education level.
@Official_Kea: Hlaudi should put a sock in it!!
@jhm2808: #Hlaudi is an inspiration to learners who failed #Matric2014. They’ve chance to “qualify themselves” & obtain “modern” senior certificate.
@MakopoK: What the hell is the Modern Senior Certificate? Has the #ANC launched a new version of Umalusi senior certificate? #Hlaudi
Opposition parties called for Motsoeneng to retract his statement as it misled young people.
IFP leader Blessed Gwala said it was easy for Motsoeneng to underestimate the value of a senior certificate because he never had one.
“Matric is a bridge to success, therefore it’s very relevant. I hope he is not telling his children that they can succeed in life without having a senior certificate,” he said.
Actor and EFF spokesman Fana Mokoena said the party was not surprised that Motsoeneng had said he saw no relevance of having matric as that was his defence in why he should continue heading the SABC.
“We urge the ruling party, who have been out with daggers defending his appointment, to instruct him to retract that statement. He may hold a position of power without matric, but it doesn’t mean it (senior certificate) has no relevance.”
Mokoena said someone in Motsoeneng’s position should be telling young people that he was also going to try and pursue his own senior certificate even though he was wealthy and in a position of power.
Motsoeneng is no stranger to controversy. Last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Motsoeneng had lied about his matric qualification. He was acting chief operating officer at the time and his appointment was made permanent in July.
In October, the Western Cape High Court ordered the SABC to suspend Motsoeneng and begin disciplinary proceedings against him.
The DA brought an interim application last month for the court order to be enforced. Judgment was reserved.