Muthambi silent on failure to suspend SABC’s Motsoeneng
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.”
CLOUDY ISSUES: Supporters of Hlaudi Motsoeneng demonstrate outside the High Court in Cape Town, which heard an application to have his appointment set aside