Muthambi silent on fail­ure to sus­pend SABC’s Mot­soe­neng

Sunday Times - - NEWS - MZI­LIKAZI wa AFRIKA and STEPHAN HOF­S­TAT­TER

COMMUNICATIONS Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi yes­ter­day re­fused to ex­plain why she has not yet sus­pended con­tro­ver­sial SABC chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng.

SABC board chair­man Pro­fes­sor Mbu­la­heni Magu­vhe this week served Mot­soe­neng with dis­ci­plinary charges for ly­ing about hav­ing ma­tric, purg­ing staff who were not loyal to him and al­legedly in­flat­ing his salary.

But in­stead of be­ing sus­pended, Mot­soe­neng on Fri­day took leave of ab­sence.

Magu­vhe was forced to act against Mot­soe­neng af­ter a Supreme Court of Ap­peal rul­ing that the SABC boss should va­cate his po­si­tion pend­ing a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing, as rec­om­mended by pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela.

Mot­soe­neng is ap­peal­ing against the judg­ment and his dis­ci­plinary hear­ing is set down for Oc­to­ber 30. Muthambi ap­pointed Ad­vo­cate Wil­liam Mokhari to chair the hear­ing.

A pub­lic pro­tec­tor probe es­tab­lished that Mot­soe­neng un­law­fully in­creased his salary from R1.5-mil­lion to R2.4-mil­lion in one year while he was act­ing chief op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer. He hiked his salary to R3.7-mil­lion af­ter Muthambi made his ap­point­ment per­ma­nent in Oc­to­ber last year.

In the charge sheet handed to Mot­soe­neng on Mon­day, he is ac­cused of:

Gross dis­hon­esty in claim­ing he had ma­tric when he joined the SABC as a trainee jour­nal­ist in 1995;

Gross dis­hon­esty for ly­ing on his CV when he ap­plied for the po­si­tion of ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer, cur­rent af­fairs, claim­ing that he used to be head of communications for a pro­vin­cial depart­ment in the North­ern Cape;

Gross dis­hon­esty in or­ches­trat­ing the ap­point­ment of dis­graced former SABC chief financial of­fi­cer Gugu Duda, who nei­ther ap­plied for the job nor qual­i­fied for it;

Gross mis­con­duct in cre- at­ing a po­si­tion that did not ex­ist at the SABC and ap­point­ing some­one who was not in­ter­viewed on a fixed con­tract of R1.5-mil­lion a year;

Abuse of po­si­tion af­ter he un­fairly dis­missed about six “se­nior staff mem­bers of the SABC for dif­fer­ing in opin­ion” with him; and

Gross mis­con­duct for in­creas­ing the salaries of two SABC em­ploy­ees close to him.

When Muthambi was asked why Mot­soe­neng had not been sus­pended from the state broad­caster, her spokesman, Mish Mo­lak­eng, said: “The min­is­ter does not han­dle the SABC’s op­er­a­tional af­fairs.”

But when it was pointed out to Mo­lak­eng that Muthambi ap­pointed Mot­soe­neng and that the min­is­ter should be held ac­count­able for the shenani­gans at the SABC, he failed to an­swer more ques­tions.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said Mot­soe­neng was not sus­pended be­cause “this mat­ter is still be­fore the courts. [It] . . . has been re­ferred to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.”

Pic­ture: DAVID HARRISON

CLOUDY IS­SUES: Sup­port­ers of Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng demon­strate out­side the High Court in Cape Town, which heard an ap­pli­ca­tion to have his ap­point­ment set aside

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