Hlaudi’s blue Mon­day

Mot­soe­neng fights back as SABC ends his tu­mul­tuous era

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - LE­BO­GANG SEALE AND TEBOGO MONAMA le­bo­gang.seale@inl.co.za tebogo.monama@inl.co.za

FIRED SABC boss Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng has hinted at ap­peal­ing his dis­missal, sug­gest­ing that his ax­ing was pre­de­ter­mined. He said he was not for­mally no­ti­fied of the ter­mi­na­tion of his con­tract, and that he would de­cide on what steps to take once he had seen the let­ter ex­plain­ing the de­ci­sion.

“I don’t have that rul­ing. I don’t want to com­ment from the air. I want to read it (first). I will deal with the is­sue af­ter get­ting the rul­ing,” he told The Star yes­ter­day, mo­ments af­ter SABC in­terim board chair­per­son Khany­isile Kweyama an­nounced his sack­ing at a me­dia brief­ing.

Kweyama said the dis­ci­plinary hear­ing, which con­cluded on Fri­day and was headed by ad­vo­cate Nazeer Cas­sim, had found Mot­soe­neng guilty of mis­con­duct and bring­ing the SABC into dis­re­pute.

Mot­soe­neng, the for­mer chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, was charged af­ter he hosted an unau­tho­rised me­dia brief­ing in April at which he crit­i­cised the SABC in­terim board chair­per­son Kr­ish Naidoo and the par­lia­men­tary ad hoc com­mit­tee.

He also used the brief­ing to de­fend his con­tro­ver­sial 90% lo­cal mu­sic con­tent on ra­dio, which has led to the pub­lic broad­caster los­ing mil­lions of rand in ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue. Kweyama said the ac­tion against Mot­soe­neng was to dis­cour­age other em­ploy­ees from de­fy­ing the pub­lic broad­caster.

“You act so that when some­one tries it in the fu­ture, they know that the end of it is dis­missal.

“There will be no SABC staff go­ing out and call­ing me­dia brief­ings. The pol­icy is clear that the chair­per­son is the spokesper­son of the SABC and can del­e­gate the act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.”

The Star also con­tacted Mot­soe­neng’s le­gal coun­sel, ad­vo­cate Zola Ma­javu, who said: “There’s noth­ing (to com­ment on). I haven’t re­ceived any judg­ment and let­ter of dis­missal.”

He ques­tioned why news of Mot­soe­neng’s dis­missal came to light even be­fore the of­fi­cial pro­nounce­ment by the SABC. “Ev­ery­one has been tweet­ing about it. I re­ally don’t know. Even when the dis­ci­plinary hear­ing started, they said they want to dis­miss him sum­mar­ily.”

He added: “If you can go to any lawyer, if a per­son has been found guilty, he has the right to present ag­gra­va­tion in sen­tenc­ing.”

In ad­di­tion to ap­peal­ing the rul­ing, The Star has re­li­ably learnt that Mot­soe­neng was con­sid­er­ing ap­proach­ing the CCMA and/or the Labour Court, among other op­tions.

Labour law ex­pert Michael Ba­graim said al­though it was “rude”of the SABC to an­nounce Mot­soe­neng’s dis­missal with­out telling him first, the de­ci­sion was not un­law­ful.

“Even though res­ig­na­tion has to be done in writ­ing, dis­missal doesn’t have to be in writ­ing. They can tell him orally,” Ba­graim said.

“He (Mot­soe­neng) can chal­lenge the dis­missal but not be­cause he wasn’t told in writ­ing, but be­cause the mer­its aren’t strong enough or they didn’t fol­low proper pro­ce­dure.

“I be­lieve it is over for him. He can still go back to the CCMA or pos­si­bly the Labour Court, but he has to have a good rea­son. He has to show a pro­ce­dural er­ror or that he has done noth­ing wrong. From my point of view, he will be wast­ing his time and money.”

With Mot­soe­neng given the boot yes­ter­day, some of his con­tro­ver­sial poli­cies, in par­tic­u­lar his 90% for ra­dio and 80% for TV, will also fol­low him out of the broad­caster’s Auck­land Park of­fices.

Kweyama stopped short of say­ing the pol­icy had been dis­as­trous.

“The 90-10 (pol­icy) was a bit dras­tic, and we are at the point of re­think­ing it. It has been a source of rev­enue loss, if ac­ti­vated across all plat­forms.

“There are cer­tain chan­nels that are quite high and have achieved 80%, so we can’t say to those chan­nels regress. If they are mak­ing a profit we will leave it like that. We have a com­pre­hen­sive pol­icy that we are look­ing into.”

Kweyama con­firmed that Mot­soe­neng’s ed­i­to­rial pol­icy not to al­low vi­o­lent im­ages to be broad­cast dur­ing news bul­letins had been re­scinded.

“In terms of the con­tro­ver­sial ban on vi­o­lent im­ages we were called to or­der by Icasa (In­de­pen­dent Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Author­ity of SA).

“We have re­scinded that de­ci­sion and jour­nal­ists are free to go and re­port on what they see fit to re­port on as pro­fes­sion­als in the me­dia,” Kweyama said, adding that the ed­i­to­rial pol­icy would be im­proved in the next few months.

Mean­while, the DA has called on the board to in­sti­tute more dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against Mot­soe­neng for mis­rep­re­sent­ing his qual­i­fi­ca­tions – in­clud­ing a nonex­is­tent ma­tric cer­tifi­cate – as rec­om­mended by for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela in her “When Gov­er­nance and Ethics Fail” re­port.

HADN’T SEEN THE RUL­ING: Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng con­tem­plates his next move.

PIC­TURES: MATTHEWS BALOYI

NOT MINCING WORDS: SABC in­terim board chair­per­son Khany­isile Kweyama ad­dressed the me­dia in Auck­land Park yes­ter­day.

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