Hosting his first press conference yesterday since being axed from the SABC, former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng slammed his former employer’s interim board for having no strategy to turn around the broadcaster’s dire financial position.
The broadcaster had been awaiting Treasury’s approval for a R1 billion bailout as it was reportedly running on its last reserves to pay creditors and salaries.
Motsoeneng, who was eventually fired for misconduct after a two-year legal battle after he was said to have lied about his qualifications, said the SABC made a mistake by getting rid of him.
He said the interim board should not rely on a bailout, but rather create revenue.
“All the officials, including the board, should have a strategy to bail out themselves. In this case, I don’t see any vision, I don’t see any strategy to bail out the SABC. What I see is people who are like children – they are waiting for Father Christmas to come.”
Motsoeneng added that if he were still at the helm, he would have found ways to avoid needing a bailout from government.
“And I want to say as a new board, I don’t think this board is capable to turn the SABC around, because actually they have turned the SABC backwards.”
Motsoeneng welcomed a probe into the SABC’s finances, including the time he was COO.
Last week, President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation that will allow the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe what was described as questionable contracts in terms of the Procurement Act.
This will include irregularly awarded contracts, undeclared interests by employers related to contracts, irregular transactions and intentional or negligent loss of public money or damage to public property.
Motsoeneng said the SIU probe would be “an opportunity to deal with real issues within the SABC”.
He added: “I think I will be able to clarify many issues within that organisation because people have been tainting us to say we have been doing wrong stuff at the SABC and [I] can assure you today I still believe that we did what we were supposed to do. Even if I was there now, I would still do the same thing. If I go back to the SABC, I will be worse.”
Motsoeneng claimed that, since his departure, the SABC had become biased: “It is all about scandal and fighting. There should be balance and programmes that have a good story to tell. I do not see good stories at the SABC any more.” –email@example.com