SABC denies Motsoeneng appointed as acting CEO

SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has not been appointed acting group CEO as reported by some newspapers on Sunday, the broadcaster’s spokesman said.

“No, he is not acting CEO. The acting CEO is a man by the name of Anton Heunis, and now he is sick. But he is still acting CEO,” Kaizer Kganyago said.

“Some of his duties have just been delegated to Hlaudi. He is just standing in while Anton is sick. There is no appointment. Hlaudi still has to consult with Anton. It’s just delegated powers.”

The City Press and the Sunday Times reported that Motsoeneng was temporarily appointed acting group CEO, while Heunis was ill.

“Anton will be back when he is well, hopefully soon,” said Kganyago.

In October, the Western Cape High Court ordered the SABC to suspend Motsoeneng and begin disciplinary proceedings against him within 14 days.

This followed the DA’s application for an urgent interim interdict to have Motsoeneng suspended, pending a review of the decision to appoint him as COO.

In February, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report on Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO. She found his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC.

Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed at the SABC within 90 days.

In July, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment as COO.

Motsoeneng is appealing against the court ruling that he be suspended.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday it was in possession of a document that shows that SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala delegated the power of SABC CEO to Motsoeneng.

“The document gives Motsoeneng … ‘authority to undertake the duties and function of the group chief executive officer with effect from 13 November 2014 to 22 November 2014’,” DA MP Gavin Davis said in a statement.

“This delegation of authority is the product of an unholy alliance between two deeply compromised individuals. No rational chairperson would delegate the powers of CEO to Motsoeneng in the face of several damning findings against him.”

Tshabalala is accused of lying about her academic qualifications when applying for the job of SABC chairwoman. She stated on her CV that she had a BComm degree from the University of SA (Unisa) and a post-graduate degree in labour relations.

Unisa has since stated that, according to its records, she had neither of these qualifications.

Tshabalala obtained an interim interdict on October 23, halting a parliamentary inquiry into whether she lied about her qualifications.

However, the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday refused Tshabalala the order to halt the inquiry, which will continue this week.

“The fact is that neither Tshabalala nor Motsoeneng should be in office making decisions that affect the future of the SABC. Yet they now appear to be consolidating their grip on the public broadcaster,” said Davis.

“Now that he has the power of the CEO, Motsoeneng is in charge of the administration of the SABC, including budgets and senior appointments. The CEO is also the editor-in-chief, which means that Motsoeneng now has the power to make editorial decisions.”

Davis said it was clear that Motsoeneng had a hold on Tshabalala.

“I have today contacted the chairperson of the portfolio committee, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, to request that the committee reiterates its resolution to suspend Tshabalala,” he said.

“The DA is also discussing the manifestly irrational delegation of authority to Motsoeneng with its legal team to determine the next steps in that regard.”

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SABC denies Motsoeneng appointed as acting CEO