Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be suspended immediately - Marian Shinn

DA MP says COO's continued presence at corporation will be destructive

DA calls for immediate suspension of Hlaudi Motsoeneng

Public Protector Adv Thuli Madonsela's damning report on the state of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) released today is a clear illustration of how dysfunctional the SABC has become.

For the past two years the Public Protector has been investigating allegations of maladministration, systemic governance deficiencies, abuse of power and the irregular appointment of acting Chief Operating Officer, Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng - a man who was condemned for his "unlawful" behaviour in the provisional Public Protector's report leaked last year.

This report confirms that the SABC has been plagued by incompetence, routine corruption and cadre deployment for years. Furthermore, according to the Public Protector's report:

The SABC lost millions in irregular handling of employment contracts.

Mr Motsoeneng has been allowed by successive boards to operate above the law, undermining the GCEO among others. And causing the staff, particularly Human Resources (HR) and Finance to engage in unlawful conduct.

Mr Motsoeneng fraudulently misrepresented his qualifications to the SABC.

Allegations that Mr Motsoeneng's salary progression was irregular were substantiated in that he received salary appraisals three times in one year as alleged, hiking his salary as executive manager [for] stakeholder relations from R1.5 million to R2.4 million.

We call on Minister of Communications Mr Yunus Carrim, in his capacity as the shareholder's representative, to instruct the SABC Board to immediately suspend Mr Motsoeneng and recruit, as soon as possible, suitably qualified and experienced Group CEO and COO, to head a crisis management team to stop the rot at the SABC.

Mr Motsoeneng must be removed from the premises and forbidden access to any SABC staff during the process of determining his possible permanent removal from the corporation. He must also be forbidden to have contact with the SABC Board, with whom he has an unhealthy close and protective relationship.

Mr Motsoeneng has an extensive record as an unscrupulous character within the broadcaster's administration. Mr Motsoeneng used his political clout to collapse the last SABC Board when it voted to remove him from the Acting COO post. And it is unlikely that any of the current board would be serving if they were not indebted or in league with Mr Motsoeneng.

The Public Protector's picture of Mr Motsoeneng's character and behaviour clearly shows that his continued presence at the corporation will continue to have a destructive effect on operations and personnel.

The report also recommends that:

Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests to take note of the findings against former Communications Minister Dina Pule in respect of her conduct with regard to irregular appointment of Gugu Duda as SABC's CFO and her improper conduct relating to the issuing of unlawful orders to the SABC Board and staff.

The current Minister of Communications, Yunus Carrim to institute disciplinary proceedings against Communications Department official Themba Phiri in respect of his conduct and role in the appointment of Ms Duda as SABC CFO.

All monies which were irregularly spent through unlawful and improper actions from the appropriate persons be recovered.

Appropriate disciplinary action against Mr Motsoeneng and former Group Chief Operating Officer, Lulama Mokhobo be taken.

To ensure that any fruitless & wasteful expenditure incurred as the result of irregular salary increments to Mr Motsoeneng, Ms Motsweni, Ms Leah Khumalo and freelancers is recovered from the appropriate persons.

That in future there's strict & collective responsibility by the SABC Board members through working as a collective and not against each other, in compliance with the relevant legislation, policies and prescripts that govern the SABC.

A review of all the SABC human resources processes pertaining to creation of new posts, appointments, salary scales and progressions.

I will write to the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee, Sikhumbuzo Kholwane, and request the SABC Board be summoned to Parliament to explain what action they will take on both the Public Protector's report and the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report released earlier this month.

In the meantime we await Minister Carrim's report to the portfolio committee this week on the progress of the task team he appointed last year to probe the state of SABC.

It is of great concern that during the past year the financial state of the SABC again failed to meet the financial performance targets set out in the government guarantee, failed to improve revenue and sponsorship targets and received a disclaimer of opinion - the worst possible finding by the Auditor-General.

We once again urge Minister Carrim to take immediate steps to curb the crisis within the SABC. Currently its entire top executive management structure is filled with acting appointees and we once again urge Minister Carrim to consider options such as judicial management.

Statement issued by Marian Shinn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, February 17 2014

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