The Herald (South Africa)

Fury at mind-boggling SABC pay hike

Parties, ANCYL call for action on R900 000 increase for boss Motsoeneng

- George Matlala

THE ANC Youth League, COPE and the DA have slammed what they called a mind-boggling salary increase paid to SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. COPE’s Dennis Bloem said Motsoeneng was using “his very close relationsh­ip with President [Jacob] Zuma to make himself fabulously rich”.

He said: “If anyone is pompously riding the gravy train it is Hlaudi Motsoeneng.”

ANCYL spokesman Mlondi Mkhize said: “The ANC Youth League notes with great concern that SABC chief of operations Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s salary has increased by R900 000 in the space of one year.

“The public broadcaste­r’s annual report tabled in parliament yesterday shows Motsoeneng’s salary went up from R2.8-million to R3.7-million in the last financial year.

“Although we do not think he was personally responsibl­e for his increase, the ANCYL is deeply concerned by this decision,” Mkhize said.

The new leaders of the youth league are among the few at Luthuli House‚ the ANC’s headquarte­rs‚ to challenge Motsoeneng‚ who is believed to be close to Zuma.

Before the latest salary increase‚ public protector Thuli Madonsela had found Motsoeneng guilty of misreprese­nting his qualificat­ions‚ alleged abuse of power and increasing his salary three times in one year.

“This [Motsoeneng’s salary increase] proves our long-standing view that mid- dle-income earners, who are mainly young people, continue to be frustrated by employers,” Mkhize said.

“These high income gaps that mainly affect young people clearly show lack of commitment from companies and employers in general to invest in the future of young people.

“We call on the SABC to set the correct example and not reward top management more at the expense of the young middle-income earners it employs.”

Bloem said: “For Motsoeneng’s salary to have increased from R2 872 000 to R3 784 000 is mind-boggling.

“For him to take home a bonus of R279 000 in spite of the SABC suffering a loss of R301-million in the last financial year is utterly shocking. Where would such a thing happen?”

He said that “what Motsoeneng has done will serve as a red flag to a bull at the SABC”.

“Employees will demand big increases also, citing the pay hike that the COO received. It is a singular act of provocatio­n,” Bloem said.

“No wonder so many people are not paying their licence fees.

“This will incense even more people to follow suit. The outcome will be an even bigger loss to the SABC.”

The DA’s shadow minister of communicat­ions Gavin Davis said that under Motsoeneng’s watch‚ the SABC’s finances had taken a R753-million nosedive.

“Yet‚ in the same period‚ Motsoeneng received a R916 000 pay rise to R3.7-million.

“No wonder Motsoeneng was so keen to paint a rosy picture of the SABC’s finances before parliament – he needed to lie to justify his multimilli­on-rand pay cheque,” Davis said.

The SABC annual report tabled in parliament on Wednesday indicated that the SABC had suffered a R395-million loss in the 2014-15 financial year.

“This contradict­s Motsoeneng’s statement before the Communicat­ions Portfolio Committee on April 22,” Davis said.

“He [Motsoeneng] said: ‘The SABC‚ financiall­y‚ we are sustainabl­e.’

“[Communicat­ions] Minister [Faith] Muthambi agreed.

“Significan­tly‚ neither Muthambi nor Motsoeneng mentioned the SABC’s projected loss for this financial year.

“This was despite the existence of internal SABC financial documents dated March 2015 [later exposed by the Sunday Times] that indicated the SABC was due to make a massive loss.

“The loss of R395-million in the 2014-15 financial year compares with the R358-million the SABC recorded as profit in the previous financial year [for a total loss of R793-million],” Davis said.

The DA has requested that Motsoeneng be summoned to appear before the communicat­ions portfolio committee for lying to parliament about the SABC’s finances.

“In the meantime‚ I have also written to the public protector to request an investigat­ion into Motsoeneng’s salary increase,” Davis said. – Additional reporting RDM Newswire

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