The parliamentary inquiry probing the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board has heard the public broadcaster’s executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng could have political protection from high up in government.

The former SABC acting group CEO Phil Molefe has made submissions to the ad hoc committee investigating the board’s fitness to hold office.

Molefe has told the SABC inquiry that Motsoeneng threatened to “go to Pretoria” after he refused to give him a R500,000 increase.

Molefe says there have been speculations, publicly and in the corridors of the SABC, that Motsoeneng was President Jacob Zuma’s choice.

Molefe has told the ad hoc committee that he found it questionable that previous SABC executive members were removed for little to no reason but Motsoeneng is still at the public broadcaster.

He says this is despite it being proven that he was not fit for office.

“We’ve had court rulings and appeals, but we still found that Motsoeneng remained at the SABC, so clearly that speaks to the existence of a powerful force.”

Molefe also spoke of how in 2011 Motsoeneng, then a junior, was allowed to sit on board meetings by then chairperson Ben Ngubane and was parachuted to group acting CEO despite being “grossly unqualified and inexperienced”.