Hlaudi pitches up uninvited for communications committee meeting

 Seating arrangement at Parliament: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Obert Mahuvhe (front) with Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who arrived uninvited (behind). PHOTO: Janet Heard
Seating arrangement at Parliament: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Obert Mahuvhe (front) with Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who arrived uninvited (behind). PHOTO: Janet Heard

Although he is no longer a member of the SABC board, Hlaudi Motsoeneng – controversial former chief operating officer of the SABC – arrived uninvited for a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Communications’ this morning.

MPs were expected to demand answers and push for the board to be dissolved because of its decision to reappoint Motsoeneng in another executive post.

Motsoeneng sat behind Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, who had just returned from a working trip to Mauritius.

Next to her sat SABC board chairperson Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe and next to Motsoeneng was board member Dr Ndivhoniswani Tshidzumba.

Muthambi’s deputy, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, was also present, as was ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

Outside Parliament, the Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement was protesting in support of Motsoeneng, and the Right 2 Know campaign was also there – protesting for his removal.

Protesters come out in support of the SABC’s Hlaudi Motsoeneng. PHOTO: Janet Heard
Protesters voice their lack of faith in Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and Hlaudi Motsoeneng. PHOTO: Janet Heard

The meeting began with Maguvhe setting out the board’s position over Motsoeneng’s appointment as the SABC’s corporate head.

ANC MP Mondli Gungubele, who was deployed to this committee yesterday, said the decisions seemed to review the clear findings of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Gungubele reminded the SABC board that Madonsela found that Motsoeneng increased his own salary three times in one year, and promoted and dismissed staff unlawfully.

“My understanding is that you were supposed to implement and not review the Public Protector’s findings ... If you had a problem with the Public Protector’s findings, you should have gone to court for a legal review. You didn’t do that,” Gungubele said.

Democratic Alliance MP James Selfe called the presentation by Prof Maguvhe “disingenuous”.

“There is a sorry history of ducking, diving and avoidance, starting with the Public Protector’s report,” he said.

Inkatha Freedom Party MP Liezl van der Merwe said the presentation by the SABC was smoke and mirrors and didn’t suffice. She added that the board was politically compromised.

Van der Merwe reminded the committee about the failed process of Parliament in appointing this SABC board.

– Additional reporting by Andisiwe Makinana

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