Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
17 May 2017
11:43 am

Motsoeneng to answer for Madonsela findings and colourful presser in a hearing

Gosebo Mathope

Motsoeneng challenged and failed to set aside a high court ruling that he cannot occupy any position at the SABC until he faces disciplinary action.

Attorney Zola Majavu, right, makes a statement on behalf of his client SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneg, left, during a press briefing held in Johannesburg, 28 October 2014. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has a lot to answer for when he appears before a disciplinary hearing convened by the public broadcaster today.

In that hearing, Motsoeneng will be cross-examined for findings the former public protector Thuli Madonsela issued against him in 2014.

Motsoeneng has faced disciplinary action by the public broadcaster on the same charges already, albeit described as “watered down” by labour law experts.

At issue are three main charges stemming from remedial actions Madonsela has instructed the now dissolved board to institute.

In her report titled When Governance and Ethics Fail, Madonsela detailed findings of “irregular appointment and salary progression” and “misrepresentation of academic qualifications” used as the basis for Motsoeneng’s employment.

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She found that Motsoeneng “received salary appraisals three times in one year”. This was constituted by his salary being hiked when he was executive manager of stakeholder relations from R1.5 million to R2.4 million. The public protector also found out that his salary progression as the acting chief operations officer rose irregularly from R122 961 to R211 172 in 12 months. This was a 63% increment.

The public protector further said: “The allegation that Mr Motsoeneng committed fraud by stating in his application form that he had completed matric from Metsimantsho High School is substantiated.”

removed requisite academic qualifications

Madonsela also revealed that during an interview her office conducted with Motsoeneng, he admitted to providing “in his application form that he had passed standard 10 [matric], filled in made-up symbols in the same application form and promised to supply a matric certificate to confirm his qualifications”.

Ben Ngubane, the former chairperson and currently chairing the embattled Eskom board, is reported to have “removed requisite academic qualifications” to favour Motsoeneng.

Madonsela found without equivocation at the time: “Mr Motsoeneng would have never been appointed in 1995 had he not lied about his qualifications. He repeated the matric misrepresentation in 2003 when he applied for the post of Executive Producer: Current Affairs to which he, accordingly, should never have been appointed”.

It was also reported that Motsoeneng’s employment file disappeared, a situation that complicated determining whether he willfully falsified his qualification.

The public protector also found that Motsoeneng abused his power and improperly appointed and increased the salary of Sully Motsweni.

An additional probable charge of bringing his employer into disrepute relate to a press conference Motsoeneng conducted on April 17 in Milpark, Johannesburg. Politicsweb reported at the time how “local musicians and artists took turns at the podium to defend him and berate SABC interim board member Krish Naidoo”.

The press conference, which took five hours, was also attended by “supporters”, who coined the phrase, “the people’s chief operating officer”.

Among utterances made by Motsoeneng were: “I will not review the remedial actions of the Public Protector”; “the SABC’s 90% local content quota is for blacks and whites”; “lawyers said there is nothing wrong with the MultiChoice deal”; “the so-called SABC 8 journalists have not won the battle”; and “who is working for the Guptas? South Africans. If you chase them away then what happens to their jobs?”