'I was pushed from the SABC', says former group CEO Lulama Mokhobo

Former SABC group CEO Lulama Mokhobo. (Jan Gerber, Netwerk24)
Former SABC group CEO Lulama Mokhobo. (Jan Gerber, Netwerk24)

Former SABC group CEO Lulama Mokhobo has told the judicial commission of inquiry into state capture certain people within the organisation would go to the "bottom pit of lies" to tarnish her name.

Testifying before the commission Wednesday, Mokhobo said she believed she was pushed from the organisation and attempts to do so had happened at least three times.

"There were rumours swirling around the organisation that I was going to be suspended and there were lots of lies that were being told about me." 

She said she and the chairperson of the board at the time, Ellen Tshabalalala, could not agree on many things, which included a multimillion-rand deal the SABC had signed with MultiChoice. 

"I had challenged a lot of her decisions very vigorously and she was very angry at me." 

Mokhobo claimed she had not agreed with the signing of the contract because the process was flawed, and the clauses were improper. 

"There was a rush to sign the contract with MultiChoice."

She said she had also locked horns with former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

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

"He undermined my authority many, many times... Ms Tshabalala gave me a dressing down in front of my staff and I could never understand why she would do that.

"The reason was quite simply that, chair, I was refusing to do things that were not according to policy."

Mokhobo told the commission that under her leadership, the SABC's finances became healthy but that the "dislike for [her] increased phenomenally".

"I realised, chair, that it was time for me to go," she said. 

Earlier, she told the commission that Parliament was misinformed about the package she allegedly received when she left the public broadcaster.

"I am not sure what the reason was apart from probably trying to damage my reputation.

"Parliament was given a figure of between R8m and R11m… It was totally untrue."

Mokhobo said the amount she received when she left was R6m.  

She also denied that she left the SABC because of the Public Protector's report entitled "When Governance and Ethics Fail", which investigated, among other things, irregular appointments, promotions and salary hikes at the broadcaster.

ALSO READ: Motsoeneng took ex-SABC group CEO to Gupta compound to be 'congratulated' on her appointment - Zondo commission hears

"I would have stood up to the disciplinary hearing and have my name cleared there but it just didn't make sense at the point when I was leaving."

On the issue of Motsoeneng's salary increment, Mokhobo said when she arrived at the SABC there was an "outpouring of adoration" for the former COO. 

"There was a belief that he was doing an amazing job and that he was not being paid enough even as a group executive member not as acting COO."

She said there was an exercise that was undertaken by the SABC which looked at people's skills to determine their increases. 

"That was really all what the increase was about. The Public Protector completely misunderstood that," Mokhobo said.  

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