‘I warned ANC about Hlaudi’

2016-10-09 06:00

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Cape Town - Krish Naidoo stunned not only members of Parliament, but also his SABC colleagues as he turned on the board he served on for three years, branding it amateurish and dysfunctional and calling for its dissolution on Wednesday.

Naidoo also resigned during the heated meeting in Parliament, which was held to look into the goings-on at the public broadcaster.

His seven-minute speech sounded the death knell for the SABC board and strengthened MPs’ case that all was not well in the top management of the corporation.

Naidoo later told City Press that since September 2013, when the board was appointed by President Jacob Zuma at the recommendation of the National Assembly, “it became very clear to me that Mr [Hlaudi] Motsoeneng, for whatever reason, was the elephant in the room in that organisation”.

He confirmed an open secret that he was deployed to the SABC board by the ANC.

“I was asked by the ANC to sit on this board. I went back and said it was pointless. You are not going to get very far unless you deal with Motsoeneng,” he revealed a few days ago.

Naidoo, who also works as a consultant in the ANC’s legal department, revealed that the party had insisted that he stay on and rectify matters internally.

“But today was the last straw for me,” he said on Wednesday.

“There was just no way [forward] after listening to the responses and the amateurish presentation of my colleagues and the board and the responses of political parties. It became clear that this board has shown that it is not fit for office,” he said.

Naidoo also confirmed that he was one of the board members who objected to the permanent appointment of Motsoeneng as chief operating officer in July 2014.

“I objected to that. I said it was wrong and I voted against it. But it nevertheless it went through on a majority vote.”

The DA took Motsoeneng’s appointment to court and it succeeded, but Motsoeneng sought to appeal the court ruling that his appointment was irrational and unlawful.

“The minute the Supreme Court of Appeal [SCA] made its decision two weeks ago … and the board was trying to undermine and subvert that decision by appointing him as acting chief operating officer, I decided it was time to speak publicly, which I did.”

He revealed that the board had not met to compile the document that was presented to Parliament. “I’m not sure who put this together, I know it’s being done in the name of the board and, as a board member, I suppose I must abide by that. But somebody [else] put this together somewhere.

“Had I been part of that, I would have informed this committee of these issues; coming from a legal perspective,” said Naidoo, who is a lawyer by profession.

Naidoo describes as “absolute nonsense” the SABC’s argument that the SCA judgment had nothing to do with Motsoeneng as an employee of the SABC.

“Whoever gave the SABC that advice should be shot.”

Naidoo claimed that throughout his term at the SABC, he consistently spoke out when he saw poor governance and illegality, but that his views were a minority in the board.

His advice to Parliament going forward is to appoint “quality people” and be more decisive in dealing with corruption.

“I think you must get [board members] who have no material interests in the businesses of the SABC.

“You must find people who work according to their conscience, who have strong ethical principles, and who will work in the best interest of the country and discharge the public mandate of the SABC,” he said.

Naidoo suggested that there were board members who may have interests in the businesses of the SABC when he said: “People have their own material interests. For example, we signed off a contract of R250 million now … surely there is always a temptation to go to the contracting party and say, can I get something?”

He said the public broadcaster also needed the right skills set for its executive positions.

“Some of the people [at the SABC] hold themselves out as executive and they are not executive material. You must find the right skills set to come in.”


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Read more on:    parliament  |  jacob zuma  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  krish naidoo

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