Hlaudi Motsoeneng bribery claims strengthen our case - Gavin Davis

DA MP says Marie Swanepoel's sworn affidavit contradicts SABC COO's testimony to Public Protector

Hlaudi bribery claims strengthen DA's case

09 September 2014

Evidence that Hlaudi Motsoeneng attempted to bribe a former SABC Human Resources officer strengthens the DA's case that he should be suspended and face a disciplinary inquiry.

Former SABC HR officer, Marie Swanepoel, has stated in a sworn affidavit that, contrary to Motsoeneng's claims, she did not know that he did not have a matric when he first applied to work at the SABC in 1995. Furthermore, Swanepoel states that she never instructed Motsoeneng to make up his matric symbols.

This fresh evidence contradicts Motsoeneng's testimony to the Public Protector. As the Public Protector noted on p. 53 of her report:

"During the interview, Mr Motsoeneng admitted falsifying his matric qualification and blamed a Mrs Swanepoel, whom he said gave him the application form to fill in anything, in other words to make up the symbols from the top of his head, which he did..." 

A transcript of the interview reads as follows:

"Mr Madiba [Public Protector's office]: I think if ... I want to understand you correctly. You say you were asked by the SABC to put in those forms ... I mean to put in those ... 

Adv Madonsela: To make up the symbols. 

Mr Madiba: To make up the symbols. Do you recall who said that to you? 

Mr Motsoeneng: Marie Swanepoel. 

Mr Madiba: Marie Swanepoel? 

Mr Motsoeneng: Yes." 

Up until now, Motsoeneng's defence has relied on the assertion that he was just following Swanepoel's advice when he made up his matric symbols. Swanepoel's affidavit blows this version of events out of the water. It indicates that Motsoeneng knowingly misled Marie Swanepoel and the SABC about having a matric when he was first employed.

Even more damaging for Motsoeneng is the allegation that he attempted to bribe Swanepoel to corroborate his version of events. 

According to Swanepoel's affidavit, Motsoeneng contacted her in 2012 - some six years after she had left the SABC. Motsoeneng told Swanepoel that he would arrange for the SABC to pay her the R2 million she was seeking to settle a sexual harassment case - if she agreed to testify that she knew he did not have a matric when he filled out his form. She refused the offer.

The new evidence contained in Swanepoel's affidavit strengthens the DA's case in opposing Motsoeneng's application for leave to appeal. It demonstrates that he is willing to abuse his position as SABC COO to protect himself, and that Judge Schippers was correct to order Motsoeneng's suspension pending a disciplinary inquiry.

Motsoeneng's suspension has been lifted for the time being because, in terms of the Superior Courts Act, the execution of an order must be halted pending the outcome of an appeal. However, 18(3) of the same Act provides for the order to be executed pending an appeal in "exceptional circumstances".

We believe that Swanepoel's affidavit demonstrates "exceptional circumstances" in this case. We will therefore argue for Motsoeneng's immediate suspension when the case is back in court.

The evidence is mounting that Hlaudi Motsoeneng abused his power at the SABC even beyond what the Public Protector originally found. This highlights one of the pitfalls of a legal strategy to delay justice for as long as possible. You never know who is going to come out of the woodwork with more damning evidence against you.

Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, November 9 2014

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