Communications Minister dragging her feet over Hlaudi replacement
02 July 2014
I have today written to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to ask her to request that the SABC Board immediately suspend Acting Chief Operations Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng until the deadlock at the national broadcaster is resolved.
In a reply to a parliamentary question received this morning, the Minister admitted that she had made no progress in replacing Mr Motsoeneng.
She said that her Ministry has not even discussed the issue with Mr Motsoeneng and Mr Mvuzo Mbebe - the former COO designate who interdicted the SABC to prevent it from filling the vacancy back in 2007.
In other words, no attempt has been made fill the position despite the Public Protector's recommendation on 17 February that the Communications Minister "take urgent steps" to replace Mr Motsoeneng within 90 days. We are now a month and half past the deadline, but no closer to resolving the deadlock that is keeping Mr Motsoeneng in his job.
In her report, the Public Protector found that Mr Motsoeneng had falsified his qualifications and given himself irregular pay increases since being appointed. Under his tenure the SABC has hit rock bottom, earning a disclaimer of opinion from the Auditor-General and controversially banning opposition party adverts during the election campaign.
There is no reason to keep Mr Motseoneng at the SABC, and every reason to relieve him of his duties.
He should be suspended and replaced with a crisis management team to lead the SABC until the appointment of the General Chief Executive Officer, which the Minister has promised will happen in the next three months.
Mr Motsoeneng has run the SABC into the ground and should never have been appointed in the first place. The longer it takes to replace him, the more obvious it is that he is keeping his job to ensure the SABC reports on the "good news" that reflects positively on President Zuma's record in government.
If Minister Muthambi wants to allay fears that her new Department is a propaganda machine of the governing party, she will take steps to have Mr Motsoeneng suspended without delay.
Statement issued by Gavin Davis, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, July 2 2014
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