Friday, July 11, 2014

Universal condemnation grows over SABC appointment of matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng as ANC, SACP, FXI, Mwasa, join chorus of criticism.

There's universal, growing condemnation and outrage over the SABC's shocking, ridiculous and unexpected permanent appointment of the famously matricless and highly controversial Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the beleaguered SABC's chief operating officer (COO).

The ANC political party, SACP political party, the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Mwasa trade union, the former SABC CEO Dali Mpofu and others have joined the growing chorus of concern and criticism levelled at the struggling SABC, the SABC board, and South Africa's new minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, .

The SABC board and Faith Muthambi are reponsible for pushing through the disgraceful appointment and all but shattering whatever was left of the SABC's credibility as a public broadcaster.

The SABC and the SABC board has so far failed to act on any of the recommendations of the Public Protector's damning report of Hlaudi Motsoeneng which was issued in February and which states that "Hlaudi Motsoeneng should never have been appointed at the SABC".

The SABC also never advertised the position of COO.

"When such an appointment is made, given all the challenges that were there at the SABC before, at least we should be taken into confidence either by the SABC board or deployees of the ANC through the minister, so that we can have a better understanding," says Zizi Kodwa, ANC national spokesperson.

The SACP wants Faith Muthambi to review the position and to readvertise the positions of SABC CEO and CFO, and to also advertise the COO position. "We want to see this position readvertised properly," says Solly Maphaila, secretary general of the SACP.

"If Hlaudi Motsoeneng is competent enough, is he can prove he has been doing well, or others can prove that they can do better, on that basis a competent panel can then look into that and take a decision".

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI)
"The Freedom of Expression Institute is disappointed at the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as COO of the SABC. The appointment represents a further divergence of the public broadcaster from any hopes of restoring confidence in the fulfilment of its mandate under the current leadership," says FXI executive director Phenyo Dean Butale. 

"The appointment by Faith Muthambi has undermined the due process to be exercised by the SABC board in acting in the recommendations of the Public Protector's report".

"The appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng in such a matter shows the complete disregard for prescribed procedure in the recruitment of senior management within the organisation. Faith Muthambi has justified the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng on the basis that he has been doing a good job. Evidence to support this claim is however not apparent".

"However, what is without doubt is that the SABC remains in crisis of management, strategy and implementation. Evidence in this regard is overwhelming with the SABC over the past 3 years receiving qualified audits reports".

Media Workers Association of South Africa (Mwasa)
"The shenanigans surrounding the hustled appointment of the controversial COO of the SABC represent a well-rehearsed repeat episode," says Tuwani Gumani, Mwasa secretary general.

"It has been a case of crisis management that includes massive golden handshakes and political back-patting. We have seen it all before but there seems to be no end to it".

"The latest installment involving Faith Muthambi, the SABC board, the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications, the office of the Public Protector and others, trumps all previous displays of ineptitude, incapacity,inefficiency, corruption and abuse of privilege to serve".

"It cannot be acceptable that individuals, even mavericks and populists, are persistently touted as messianic appointees that will 'turn the SABC around' ".

"The SABC is a public utility that must remain accessible to all citizens and it should provide ample space for all South Africans to find expression of their expectations, aspirations and experiences across its platforms and programmes".

"Meeting the least criteria and mediocre performance amounts to an insult to the South African public that deserves far more than brazen displays of greed, self-interest and corruption that have so far been the hallmarks of the SABC's chequered history".

"The  Congress of South African Trade Unions condemns the decisions of the SABC board and the minister of communications and urges the minister and the SABC board to comply with the call to review their decision endorsing the appointment".

Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS Coalition)
"Where was the fair, transparent and public appointment process we were promised by the ministry?" asks the SOS Coalition.

"The post was not advertised and, as such, no thorough recruitment process was followed". The SOS Coalition says Hlaudi Motsoeneng's permanent COO appointment will "further undermine the stability and credibility of the SABC".

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela
Thuli Madonsela told eNCA (DStv 403) that Hlaudi Motsoeneng "lied to the SABC about having a matric certificate. He admitted to me, and I have a recorded interview with him".

"Secondly the position was initially advertised as a position requiring certain qualifications. Therefore Hlaudi Motsoeneng didn't have those qualifications. One of them was a tertiary degree which he didn't have".

"The SABC board chairperson Ellen Zandile Tshabalala has written to me several times requesting extra time to submit and implementation plan".

"She was supposed to do that in 30 days. Five months down the line I'm still waiting for just a simple plan that indicated what Ellen Zandile Tshabalala is going to do. That obviously would have included her indicating to me how and when they were going to appoint the SABC's new COO".

Broadcasting, Electronic Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu)
Bemawu says it is "shocked" by the unprocedural appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Bemawu says it demands "that the appointment be reversed and due process be followed, failing which we will legally challenge the recruitment process".

Dali Mpofu, former SABC CEO
Dali Mpofu, a former SABC CEO told Alec Hogg on CNBC Africa (DStv 410) that "All I can say is that it's pathetic when we get to a situation where skills are not valued, where the message that we send to young people is that you don't have to work hard to get those degrees or to acquire those skills - all you need is to be connected".

"I always say that even if you are going to employ people who agree with you politically, first and foremost, they must have the skills to do what they have to do".

"It discredits the whole notion of transformation if you're literally going to grab some guy from the taxi rank".

"The job of SABC COO is a very complex job. The job of the COO at the SABC is even more complex than the CEO's job, so I don't understand how anyone who allegedly does not have matric can even do it at all".

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party in a statement calls Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as SABC COO "a dark day for democracy".

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been given a renewed mandate to continue his reign of terror at the public broadcaster," says Gavin Davis, the DA shadow minister of communications.

"We can expect more surveillance and purging of SABC staff, more clampdowns on editorial independence and more 'happy news' that reflects positively on the governing party".

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng should have been suspended and disciplined following the Public Protector's report, not promoted. Hlaudi Motsoeneng has earned a reputation as a Goebbels-like figure at the centre of President Jacob Zuma's propaganda machine".

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party in a statement says it is "distraught by Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment.

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng does not deserve to be COO, because he is a liar and a conman," says EFF member of parliament Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

The civil rights group Afriforum says in a statement the shocking appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as SABC COO is "a further example of disrespect for the constitution and constitutional institutions that exist to protect the public against abuse of power and mismanagement".