Hlaudi details frequent visits to Gupta residence to ‘capture them’

'Lots of curries' are how Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he remembers his frequent visits to the Gupta family home.

Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has told the commission of inquiry into state capture that SABC management members should not be appointed by parliament but by a retired judge. The broadcaster, according to him, could not allow the SABC board to appoint people who reported to him.

“I could not agree with the board to appoint senior management for us directors,” he told chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

Motsoeneng went on to describe a strenuous relationship between him and Krish Naidoo, one of the SABC board members, due to Naidoo allegedly bringing political discussions to board meetings.

He said the SABC was a national broadcaster and not a political party. “I could not be allowed to be controlled.”

He told the commission how Naidoo used to work at Luthuli House and interfered in the workings of the SABC. He later confirmed that he has been to the Gupta residents to “eat curry” there. “Nothing was wrong about being there.”

At the Gupta residence, Motsoeneng said he had enjoyed a lot of meatless curries as he had been there several times. “I went there several times and I enjoy curry.” He told the chair that he did not regard the family as friends as he has no friends, but maintained their relationship was an opportunity to also “capture them.”

In outlining his 90% local content and 10% other content policy, Motsoeneng said this was a process which the SABC had major discussions on.

He said consumers complained about seeing programmes such as The Bold and the Beautiful and not local content. He wanted to create a platform for artists to grow. “It can’t be that when you go to KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape… you don’t have actors coming from those areas.”

The entire board agreed on the policy despite evidence that advertisers were not happy. Although the commission heard how the 90%/10% policy lost revenue, Motsoeneng maintains this was not possible, since “the board did not understand broadcasting.”

“SABC financially has been doing well,” claims Motsoeneng.

He continues his testimony together with two more witnesses on Wednesday.

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