We won't be deterred by Hlaudi Motsoeneng's bluster - Gavin Davis

DA MP says SABC COO has only himself to blame for compromised operations of the public broadcaster

Motsoeneng's bullyboy tactics will not deter us

30 November 2014

Hlaudi Motsoeneng has sent a threatening letter to the DA after we published internal SABC communication that revealed Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala had extended Motsoeneng's powers to act as the CEO.

Motsoeneng's letter accuses the DA of illegally obtaining confidential SABC documents and "condoning the misconduct by some SABC employees who continue to steal information from the SABC." He argues that this is compromising "the operations and successful running of the SABC." 

Motsoeneng ends by requesting the DA to "immediately desist from the actions mentioned above as your practice is very disruptive to the day-to-day smooth running of the SABC which places the SABC name and its employees in disrepute."

This is deeply ironic considering Motsoeneng's track record of compromising the operations of the SABC and bringing its name into disrepute.

Let us not forget that the Public Protector found that Motsoeneng lied about having a matric when he was appointed to the SABC. He was also found to have purged senior staff, appointed staff unlawfully and irregularly increased the salaries of some staff. This included his own salary, which was increased from R 1.5 million to R 2.4 million in one year.

It was Motsoeneng who called for a 70% quota of "happy news" and for journalists to be licensed. It is Motsoeneng who stands accused of offering a former SABC employee a R 2 million bribe to testify for him. And it was Motsoeneng who was acting Chief Operations Officer over the period in which the SABC incurred R 3,4 billion in irregular expenditure.

If there is any one person responsible for compromising the operations of the SABC and bringing its name into disrepute, it is Motsoeneng himself.

The DA took the decision to publish the internal SABC communication because it is in the public's interest to know that, as acting CEO, Motsoeneng now has control over the budget and administration of the SABC. The public also has a right to know that Motsoeneng now has the final say over all editorial decisions at the SABC.

Motsoeneng's threats will not deter us. We will keep on exposing the culture of fraud, corruption and mismanagement that has escalated at the SABC under Motsoeneng's watch. And we will continue to work closely with confidential SABC sources who are as concerned about what is happening at the SABC as we are.

Indeed, we call on all whistle blowers, including SABC employees, to send us any evidence of wrongdoing at the SABC. The identities of all sources will be protected.

We all need to work together to save independent public broadcasting in South Africa. Nobody should be afraid of Motsoeneng and his bullyboy tactics.

Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, November 30 2014

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