Hlaudi vows to ‘come back stronger’ after Parliament lashing

Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Andile Lili of the Seskhona People’s Rights Movement
Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Andile Lili of the Seskhona People’s Rights Movement

Vusi Mavuso cut a lone figure outside a parliamentary committee room where he earlier announced his resignation from the SABC board.

Mavuso stood watching his former colleagues – led by SABC board chair Mbulaheni Maguvhe – disappear into a lift leaving Parliament’s new wing following a heated meeting with legislators over the reappointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

“It was necessary, a bit emotional but necessary,” he said when City Press asked about his dramatic resignation.

Mavuso was waiting for another SABC board member, Krish Naidoo, who was giving media interviews, and who also resigned from the SABC during the Parliament meeting.

The duo told City Press that they were going to submit their resignation letters to President Jacob Zuma last night.

While they came across as tired but relieved, Motsoeneng oozed a different energy. He was not his boisterous self but was still defiant, despite the odds being against him.

In fact, Motsoeneng told City Press that he would come back stronger.

Asked about his views of the heated meeting and whether he thought Parliament was being unfair on him, he gave a vague response: “I don’t want to get involved, I just focus on what I want to do”.

What does that mean?

“It was the board issues today, I will deal with other matters but not now,” he said.

Asked whether he would write to Parliament to try to state his case, he said as he left the committee room: “Don’t worry. Relax. We are not there yet. I will come back stronger.”

This was just after Motsoeneng and the rest of the SABC board appeared to be as good as gone, as not only MPs united against them, but two board members turned against the SABC management in a big way.

Naidoo stunned MPs, his SABC colleagues, the media and other parliamentary visitors when he broke ranks and launched an attack on the SABC trustees, including the executive members.

He began by distancing himself from the SABC’s six-page presentation and 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 put this together somewhere.

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

Naidoo said when the Western Cape High Court said the appointment was irrational, it meant Motsoeneng was no longer an employee of the SABC, but he stayed the judgment because the SABC was appealing.

“When the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) said there are no prospects of appeal, at that point, that’s the final door, you are no longer an employee of the organisation”.

Naidoo described 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.”

He also questioned the powers of the acting chief executive to appoint Motsoeneng in his new position.

He said power was exercised in an arbitrary manner in reappointing Motsoeneng.

“When I listen to an executive at this level talking in such mundane terms, it makesthe case why this board should be dissolved,” he said.

Mavuso agreed.

Naidoo and Mavuso’s resignation signed the death knell of the SABC board. For a long time, there have been questions over whether it quorates.

The board is made up of 12 non-executive members who are appointed by the president at the recommendation of the National Assembly.

Six board member had resigned or were elbowed out between June 2014 and February 2015.

But the SABC had claimed that with the three executive directors -–the chief executive, chief financial officer and chief operating officer – the board had a quorum.

After the two resignations yesterday, it certainly does not.

MPs will ask the remaining board members to voluntarily resign, seeing that they can’t take any decisions without the required quorum.

If they refuse to resign, Parliament will institute an inquiry into the board before dissolving it. Such an inquiry is required by law.

While the future of the board looks bleak, Motsoeneng lives to see another day at the SABC.

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