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Appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as acting SABC CEO manifestly irrational - Gavin Davis

DA MP says mind boggles at this astonishing transgression of good governance prescripts

Tshabalala's appointment of Motsoeneng as CEO is manifestly irrational

16 November 2012

The DA has in its possession a document that shows SABC Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala has delegated the power of SABC Chief Executive Operations Officer to Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The mind boggles at this astonishing transgression of good governance prescripts.

The document gives Motsoeneng - currently the Chief Operations Officer - "authority to undertake the duties and function of the Group Chief Executive Officer with effect from 13 November 2014 to 22 November 2014."

This delegation of authority is the product of an unholy alliance between two deeply compromised individuals. No rational Chairperson would delegate the powers of CEO to Motsoeneng in the face of several damning findings against him.

On 24 October Judge Schippers ordered the SABC to suspend Motsoeneng as COO and institute disciplinary action against him. This followed the SABC's initial refusal to do so following the Public Protector's findings into his conduct. The findings included lying about his qualifications, purging staff and inflating salaries (including his own).

Tshabalala is currently at the centre of her own qualifications fraud scandal. The parliamentary Inquiry into her conduct continues this week following Judge Baartman's refusal last week to grant Tshabalala an interdict of the Inquiry. A previous resolution of the Portfolio Committee for Tshabalala to be suspended was never actioned.

The fact is that neither Tshabalala nor Motsoeneng should be in office making decisions that affect the future of the SABC. Yet they now appear to be consolidating their grip on the public broadcaster.

Now that he has the power of the CEO, Motsoeneng is in charge of the administration of the SABC, including budgets and senior appointments. The CEO is also the Editor-in-Chief, which means that Motsoeneng now has the power to make editorial decisions. 

Tshabalala needs as many powerful allies as she can muster to survive the qualifications scandal she is engulfed in. This is precisely why the DA has pushed for Tshabalala's suspension from the Board until the Inquiry into her qualifications is finalised. She should not be in a position to abuse her power in a way that advantages her.

Motsoeneng clearly has a hold over Ellen Tshabalala, which is problematic given that it is the Board Chairperson who must execute the court order to suspend him and hold a disciplinary hearing.

I have today contacted the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, to request that the Committee re-iterates its resolution to suspend Tshabalala. The DA is also discussing the manifestly irrational delegation of authority to Motsoeneng with its legal team to determine the next steps in that regard.

Statement issued by Gavin Davis, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, November 16 2014

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