News / South Africa

Gosebo Mathope
3 minute read
14 Jun 2017
12:54 pm

Hlaudi Motsoeneng and James Aguma in more trouble

Gosebo Mathope

The fired SABC COO has been given 30 days' termination notice to enable further charges to be brought against him.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - OCTOBER 06: Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng whispers to former SABC CEO James Aguma during a media conference on October 06, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / The Times / Alon Skuy)

Embattled former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s legal woes appear far from over. Apart from being told he shall receive no golden handshake, he faces further disciplinary action from the broadcaster this week.

Motsoeneng however, has confirmed he will be challenging his axing in court. His lawyer, Zola Majavu told Times LIVE, that his client had instructed him to do so.

“He wants to challenge the ruling and I suggested that we meet on Monday once we have both applied our minds to the matter and discuss the exact points we will challenge. I will consult with him and once a decision has been made, he will instruct me accordingly,” Majavu said.

Chairperson of the interim SABC board Khanyisile Kweyama told parliament’s communications portfolio committee that Motsoeneng, who was fired on Monday and given 30 days to serve his notice, would be subjected to another disciplinary hearing in line with the remedial actions of the public protector’s investigation into his reign of terror at the public broadcaster.

The chairperson cautioned the committee the board was not holding its breath, as Motsoeneng had displayed consistent “time delay” tactics and that their decisions may be challenged in court.

Joining him on the hot seat will be suspended CFO and former acting CEO James Aguma. Aguma was suspended earlier this year by the interim board, with Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo telling parliament the board made the decision in the interest of good corporate governance.

Former SABC political contributing editor Vuyo Mvoko alleged during the ad-hoc committee hearings into collapse of corporate governance that the broadcaster was bleeding millions each time the outside broadcast events were held in conjunction with Gupta-owned The New Age (TNA) newspaper.

Several sources at both the SABC and TNA have told media houses in the past that there was no business plan for these broadcasts and that advertising revenue had been negligible. TNA in turn pocketed millions. The SABC availed technical crew and an hour’s slot on the flagship morning news show, Morning Live, while TNA simply erected marketing banners at the venues.

When questioned about the issue, former SABC board chairperson and recently resigned Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane told parliament the SABC was not spending any money on the breakfast briefings and assured MPs the allegations of wasteful expenditure were spurious.

However, briefing MPs yesterday, Kweyama told MPs the interim board was “initially advised that it did not cost us [SABC] anything, but we went to quantify”.

“It actually cost us R20 million to run these breakfasts. TNA received the revenue, and we have not,” he said.

The department of communications, an executive authority the SABC board was accountable to, itself spent nearly R1 million on the same business breakfast briefing last May. The minister at the time, Faith Muthambi, was accused of “having received a house from the Guptas” by DA MP Phumzile van Damme.

Furious committee chairperson Humphrey Maxengwana accused Aguma of having lied to parliament. He reminded the committee they were told, under oath, no taxpayers’ money was spent, and “the person responsible for communicating that is acting group CEO”.

Kweyama told MPs the contract was cancelled this week and a list of other questionable contracts were referred to the special investigating unit (SIU). Motsoeneng’s R11-million performance bonus, which the chairperson described “not being a performance contract in the traditional sense”, will also be probed.