‘I didn’t leave SABC over Protector report’ – former CEO

Former South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) CEO and board candidate Lulama Mokhobo told Parliament's portfolio committee on communications that she did not quit her job as CEO over the Public Protector report that implicated SABC COO Hlaudi Motseneng in wrongdoing.

The committee was continuing with its interviews to fill vacancies in the SABC board on Wednesday. Mokhobo was appointed as the first woman CEO of the SABC in 2012 and resigned from the position in 2014.

She resigned as then-Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report entitled "When Governance and Ethics Fail", which investigated, among other things, irregular appointments, promotions and salary hikes.

Mokhobo told the committee she had close to 30 years of experience in broadcast, with past positions including group executive for SABC and CEO Urban Brew Studios.

"During my tenure, the SABC turned highly profitable with funds in excess of R1bn in the bank before I decided to leave the broadcaster," she said.

Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile Van Damme asked Mokhobo if she even challenged Madonsela's report which implicated her and Motsoeneng.

"You have the experience. But what about the Public Protector report into your approval of Hlaudi's salary. I asked you about it and you said it was wrong but you never challenged that part of it. Have you done so since?" Van Damme asked.

Mokhobo replied: "I have not challenged the report formally. Maybe this is because it is an expensive undertaking and I did not have the funds to challenge it."

Van Damme reminded Mokhobo that ahead of her exit from the SABC there was a perception that she was being bullied into taking or accepting contentious decisions affecting the broadcaster. She asked Mokhobo if she would be able to stand up to such bullies this time around.

"I was nominated because those who nominated me knew what I was capable of. I did not leave the SABC because of the Public Protector report, but because of an environment that did not allow me to work freely," Mokhobo replied.

Mokhobo lamented the SABC's decision to reject encryption for the digital migration programme for the distribution of set top boxes. She also said the must-carry regulation, where MultiChoice carried SABC television channels on DStv with no benefit to the SABC, was ill-advised.

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