Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Musicians’ royalties: Special Tribunal reserves judgment in Motsoeneng and co’s case

The SIU and SABC are seeking to recover R2.5 million.

The Special Tribunal has reserved its judgment in the matter against former SABC chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the public broadcaster’s former executives.

After a long day of hearing arguments on Monday, Judge Lebogang Modiba adjourned the proceedings.

The Special Tribunal heard the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) and SABC’s review application.

The SIU and SABC are seeking to recover R2.5 million that Motsoeneng and former executives paid some musicians in royalties in 2016.

The applicants want the decision to award R50 000 to each of the 53 musicians set aside and declared invalid.


Before the proceedings concluded, advocate Jabu Motepe, representing the SABC and the SIU, indicated that the applicants are seeking an order for those who opposed the review application to pay their costs.

“I am raising this as an alternative that firstly, the costs will follow the event. If we succeed on everything all the respondents must pay the costs.

ALSO READ: Advocate tears into Hlaudi Motsoeneng over musicians’ ‘unlawful’ payments

“[However, if the Tribunal] finds that there is no order of repayment can be made against only those who oppose that order, we say this case that it is not us that must pay their costs,” he said.

Asked why the applicants sought the costs order, Motepe said: “They are the ones who took a decision [and] are still trying to defend this decision that indefensible.”

No policy, budget

Earlier in the proceedings, the advocate presented four arguments in which the Tribunal should rule in their favour.

Motepe said the SABC’s Operations Committee, chaired by Motsoeneng and the executives, took the decision to approve the payments to the musicians unlawfully as there was no policy.

He also argued that the committee’s decision to pay the musicians was not in a business plan.

READ MORE: Hlaudi Motsoeneng to appeal ‘outlandish’ R11 million pay back ruling

The committee, the advocate said, was required to make a three-year business plan – containing information of operational plans – and submit it to the SABC’s executive committee (Exco).

Motepe further pointed out that the committee had no independent decision-making powers, especially where finances are involved, as it is only allowed to approve to the threshold of up to R50,000.

He added that there was no budget for the payments.

According to Motepe, Motsoeneng decided to award 180 musicians with R50,000 each.

The number of musicians paid later increased to 215, costing a total of R10.7 million.

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