Removal of SABC COO ‘stands’

The decision to remove the SABC’s acting COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng stands, a majority of the public broadcaster’s board members said on Thursday (14 March).

“The board meeting [on February 25] was properly constituted and the decision to release Mr Motsoeneng from acting chief operating officer stands,” board member Lumko Mtimde said on behalf of the board’s majority.

Earlier this month the board said in a statement it had resolved, in a meeting in Cape Town on February 25, to release Motsoeneng of his responsibility as acting COO with immediate effect. It said Mike Siluma, a veteran journalist and head of radio news and current affairs, had been appointed to the acting position.

Shortly after this, SABC chairman Ben Ngubane was quoted in a newspaper report as saying Motsoeneng had been reinstated. He said his deputy Thami ka Plaatjie had made the decision.

In the statement the majority of the board said: “The report… is regrettable as neither the chairman nor the deputy chairman nor both have the power or authority to unilaterally change a board resolution”.

It said it would seek clarity from Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie on the newspaper report.
Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie have resigned, after weeks of renewed tension at the public broadcaster.

President Jacob Zuma received their joint letter of resignation on Monday. He was still considering whether to accept it.

Since then, communications minister Dina Pule has asked Parliament to “urgently” review the board’s fitness.

Pule’s office on Thursday said the minister was not responsible for decisions taken by the SABC board.

“It is their decision [regarding employment] but they need to inform her properly, as is [stated] in the regulations which govern the relationship [between her and the SABC],” Pule’s spokesman Siyabulela Qoza said.

“The board took a decision but did not inform her properly.”

Qoza was referring to Motsoeneng’s removal.

In an interview with SABC radio news earlier on Thursday, Pule said: “They [the board] will bring it to me and I’ll then play my role, because my role is to concur or not concur.

“It’s not my call to be able to take a decision in relation to the activities of the SABC internally, because I have the board that represents me as a shareholder,” she said.

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Removal of SABC COO ‘stands’