There seems to be no end to the reign of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who refuses to relinquish his power at the SABC. This is certainly the impression that is being created, particularly after his appointment as the general executive of corporate affairs at the public broadcaster this week which was announced at a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
Sekoetlane Phamodi, activist and coordinator of the Support Public Broadcasting (SOS) Coalition has been involved in broadcasting and media advocacy for three years.
Phamodi in a press conference, aired his views on the questionable activities at the country’s public broadcaster, in relation to this latest development surrounding Motsoeneng.
When asked if the country was stuck with Motsoeneng, Phamodi laughed and paused before tackling the question.
“For the foreseeable future, yes we are stuck with him. First of all, the structure of the board since it was appointed and then reconstituted under [Ellen] Tshabalala and now under [Mbulaheni] Maguvhe has consistently gone out of its way to try and protect Motsoeneng from any kind of censure or reprisal for his irregular and unlawful conduct over the years, most prominently around his fraudulent qualification.
“The second issue is that we also know that Motsoeneng is effectively running the SABC as the Alpha and the Omega to the point where he feeds directives to the board and the board just simply follows up those directives.”
Phamodi believes that Motsoeneng’s appointment at general executive was a position that was cherry-picked for himself by himself.
“There was no advertising or proper recruitment that was done. It was simply a decision that was made, contrary to the SABC’s own internal recruitment policy. There is also the problem of the skills purging at the SABC that is happening which is exacerbated by the revolving door syndrome which is happening by the chief financial officer, chief executive and chief operations officer positions. As we speak we haven’t had a full top-tier executive for as many as five years at the SABC.”
Good corporate governance is compromised when internal protocol seems to be overlooked.
“This is a problem particularly if you’re trying to ensure good corporate governance which includes things like appointments, board recommendations and the awards of cash bonanzas. It’s quite clear that Motsoeneng is getting these ratified.”
The question is why is he able to get away with this? Who is protecting him?
“Motsoeneng seems to serve his own interests as well the interests of his own political masters.
“There has been a good number of reports about Motsoeneng’s close proximity to the minister in the presidency, which leads us to believe that he has protection from the highest level. We are also aware that his tenure particularly as the acting chief operations officer has been to serve his own particular interests as well the interests of his own political masters.
“This is typically how any political structure happens at any public institution or national public broadcaster that has a top-down audience of the vast majority of the people of South Africa with regards to access of information as the public is concerned. No one can really say why he continues to enjoy protection, right up to the highest levels, but for now he is here to stay,” he concluded.