Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s R2m ‘bribe’

2014-11-09 16:30

The woman who was there when Hlaudi Motsoeneng first lied about his matric on his SABC job application form now says he tried to bribe her to lie for him.

A source close to Mari Swanepoel, a former human resources officer at the SABC in Bloemfontein, says Motsoeneng asked her to make a statement saying he told her he did not have a matric.

Motsoeneng allegedly told her that if she agreed to make a sworn statement, he would see to it that the SABC paid out R2?million in compensation. Swanepoel had instituted a claim against the broadcaster for sexual harassment.

City Press understands her allegations are contained in an affidavit filed before the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on Thursday.

The DA declined to provide a copy of the affidavit, but confirmed its existence.

Motsoeneng said through his lawyer, Zola Majavu, that Swanepoel’s bribery allegations were false and that they would provide evidence to show Motsoeneng did not try to bribe her and that the SABC knew that he did not have a matric when he first got a job there in 1995.

Swanepoel’s statement forms part of the DA’s application for an order that Motsoeneng’s appointment as SABC chief operating officer should be immediately revoked.

The DA says in this case, which will be heard later this month, that Motsoeneng lied to the court and Public Protector Thuli Madonsela about his qualifications.

Madonsela found in her report released in February that Motsoeneng lied about having matric, was underqualified for the position, should be suspended, and a suitable candidate be appointed in his place. Despite this, he was permanently appointed to the job.

Swanepoel claims that in 1995, Motsoeneng asked her to fill in his application form for him, but she insisted he do it himself. He wrote on the form that he matriculated at Metsimantsho High School and that his subjects were English, Sotho, Afrikaans, History and “Bibs” (possibly Bible studies).

He gave himself E symbols for every subject, except for History, for which he gave himself an F.

Then, in 2012, Swanepoel told the source Motsoeneng phoned her unexpectedly, asking her to help him so he wouldn’t lose his job.

Swanepoel resigned from the SABC in 2006 after 17 years and instituted a claim against the public broadcaster because her employer allegedly failed to protect her from sexual harassment by Mohlolo Lephaka, acting general manager of provincial relations at the SABC.

Lephaka is a close confidant of Motsoeneng. Swanepoel refused to make a statement for him. Motsoeneng then allegedly told her that he was

aware of her claim against the SABC and asked her how much she wanted. When she told him it was R2?million, he said he could organise for the public broadcaster to pay her out – but only if she was willing to make the statement.

Motsoeneng then allegedly called her repeatedly and tried to convince her to help him, but she ignored most of his calls.

Swanepoel eventually settled her sexual harassment case in the labour court. The SABC was ordered to pay her about R100?000, or one year’s salary, the source said.

Motsoeneng told Madonsela that he clearly told Swanepoel he did not have a matric.

“I know?...?I was not supposed to even put it, but there they said: ‘No, put it,’” he is quoted as saying in her report.

SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala also claimed in an affidavit submitted during the DA’s first application in July that Mostoeneng told Swanepoel and former human resources head Paul Tati that he did not have a matric.

But Swanepoel, according to the source, strongly denies this.

“She said he asked her what information he must fill in about his qualifications, and she told him that he must indicate the highest qualification he has achieved. Hlaudi then wrote ‘10’ on the form.

“He never told her that he does not have matric.”

She then wrote “matric outstanding” on the file to indicate that he “had not submitted his matric certificate”, the source said.

Swanepoel repeatedly asked Motsoeneng to provide his matric certificate, which he promised to but never did.

Tati then became SABC Free State human resources manager and Swanepoel again told him that Motsoeneng hadn’t given them his certificate.

In an interview this week, Tati, now a lawyer, said he also believed Motsoeneng had his matric – but he made all sorts of excuses about why he hadn’t provided a copy.

“Tshabalala is, therefore, talking nonsense if she claims that Mostoeneng was honest with me about not having matric,” he said.

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