Why we love Hlaudi - supporter

2016-11-24 08:02
Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Jenni Evans, News24)

Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Romeo Ramuada's arms had goose bumps as he stood in the icy Cape Town wind to defend embattled SABC head of corporate affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on Wednesday.

He had travelled all the way from sunny Limpopo to lend his voice to the Friends of Hlaudi who sang their way through the Democratic Alliance's court application to have Motsoeneng removed from his position at the SABC. Unfortunately, Ramuada made the Cape Town rookie mistake of leaving his jersey at home.

But that did not deter him as he zigzagged through the crowds, singing and explaining why they were there.

The DA wants to have Motsoeneng fired after the Public Protector found he was dishonest about his qualifications and was part of mismanagement at the public broadcaster.

Judge Dennis Davis had also previously found, in the same court, that his appointment was irrational. A subsequent disciplinary inquiry cleared Motsoeneng of all charges, to the astonishment of the DA. On Thursday the party goes into the second day of an application that he be dismissed.

More than R1m for US artist

But Ramuada believes there is another side to Motsoeneng, one which has brought hope and promise to South Africa's musicians, actors and filmmakers. And that was why he made the trek to Cape Town.

"We will keep supporting Hlaudi because what he is doing is historic," said Ramuada, the president of the SA Arts and Culture Youth Forum.

Ramuada raised a stink in Limpopo in January when he heard that the department of sport, arts and culture was going to pay American performer Joe Thomas R1.6m to perform at the Mapungubwe Jazz Festival.

According to a report in the Polokwane Observer at the time, local artists would be paid no more than R10 000.

Spokesperson for the department Malesela Ramaoka reportedly denied the amount Thomas was paid. Instead he said Thomas was paid a "well deserved" R1.2m.

Ramuada said Motsoeneng's order that 90% of the content broadcast by the SABC be local is a lifesaver for local artists and that he had created new opportunities.

The request for proposal procedure, in which artists get to pitch their work, has also been stripped of the red tape that made it almost impossible for emerging artists to pitch ideas at the broadcaster.

Hope for the unemployed

"The new process of submitting ideas is much easier," said Ramuada.

"All the work used to go to old companies owned by white people," he continued. "Now people like me can go there with an idea, and they will listen."

The changes brought about by Motsoeneng give the unemployed hope because there is a chance they can get work.

Giving local acts more airtime means local people are getting more royalties.

"We used to fight for a small share of the pot. Now the money is not going overseas but to local companies. And this way we will have a lot of South Africans working."

'SABC better with Hlaudi'

The SABC had in the past relied too heavily on American productions and spin-offs of foreign-owned shows such as Idols and all this was changing because of Motsoeneng.

"We understand that he is not educated but it is not like he has been causing a lot of damage at the SABC. The SABC is doing better financially with him there."

The only destabilising force at the SABC was the political parties who tried to remove Motsoeneng, he said.

Three groups had made attempts to be admitted as friends of the court in the DA's application.

Lawyers for the Decolonisation Foundation, the Independent Music Performance Rights Association and the Musicians Association of SA had hoped to make submissions that echoed Ramuada's thoughts. The DA's counsel Anton Katz objected and judges Owen Rogers, himself musically adept, and Andre Le Grange refused the application, saying it was not related to corporate governance.

Read more on:    sabc  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  media

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