SABC must explain Hlaudi Motsoeneng decision – Thuli Madonsela

2014-07-09 12:32

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Public Protector Thuli Madonsela expressed her surprise at the permanent appointment of controversial acting SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

“I don’t know what to make of it. I was surprised when I read this morning that he has been appointed,” Madonsela told SABC radio news today.

“I’m still waiting for a response from the SABC and from the minister. Until then, I’m not in a position to understand what has just happened.”

» Talk to us: Does Hlaudi Motsoeneng deserve the job? Leave your comment below or join the conversation on Twitter.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s appointment last night in Pretoria, saying she had made the appointment after a recommendation by the SABC board.

At the time of releasing her report, Madonsela recommended that a new chief operations officer be appointed within 90 days. This deadline has since lapsed.

After a previous request for extra time, the SABC board was given until August 17 to respond to Madonsela’s report.

Madonsela said today she had had no response from either the communications department or the SABC.

Madonsela said that in reacting to Motsoeneng’s appointment, in addition to investigating “any alleged or suspected improper conduct”, she had the power to take appropriate remedial action.

“I’m not too concerned about what has happened. Of course, the actors involved have done what they thought they needed to do. My way forward is to call them to my office to come and explain themselves and then I’ll take it from there.”

Madonsela said one possible option was for her to approach Parliament to debate the matter.

The DA said Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment meant he could continue his “reign of terror” at the national broadcaster.

“We can expect more surveillance and purging of SABC staff, more clampdowns on editorial independence and more ‘happy news’ that reflects positively on the governing party,” DA MP Gavin Davis said.

The Media Workers Association of SA said the SABC needed to ensure its sustainability.

“The SABC needs a credible exit strategy from ... circumstances characterised by diminished public confidence, a widening trust deficit and compromised business competitiveness,” said the association’s general secretary Tuwani Gumani.

“Strengthening the SABC in terms of its independence from commercial, political and cultural influences is vital.”

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