Thursday, July 30, 2015

Communications minister Faith Muthambi told axed SABC board member Hope Zinde: 'but Baba loves Hlaudi. We must support him.'

Shocking correspondence between the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi and an axed SABC board member shows how Faith Muthambi allegedly directly interfered in the purging of SABC board members who were against the appointment of the SABC's famously matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with ousted former SABC board member Hope Zinde writing that Faith Muthambi told her "But baba loves Hlaudi".

Faith Muthambi's reference "baba" is a reference to president Jacob Zuma.

Faith Muthambi told SABC board member Hope Zinde - who got axed because she voiced opposition to Hlaudi Motsoeneng: "but baba loves Hlaudi. He loves him so much. We must support him."

As the unstable SABC board keeps lurching from crisis to crisis, former SABC board members Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi were all axed the past few months, allegedly through Faith Muthambi using the Companies Act, not the Broadcasting Act to interfere in the running of the SABC board.

While Dikeledi Tsotetsi, the acting chairperson of the ANC study group on communications said in June that "we have received no formal complaints from those who may have felt they had been treated unfairly" and that "we are of the view that its time to close this chapter and allow the minister of communications space to continue her work with the SABC", is now come to light that the ousted SABC board members wrote several letters to Faith Muthambi, and to complain about her alleged undue interference.

Hope Zinde also wrote that she had "dire concerns" about the contract in which the SABC sold access to the public broadcaster's archives to pay-TV behemoth MultiChoice.

Hope Zinde also complained about Hlaudi Motsoeneng -.

The Public Protector in February 2014 in a damning report found that the controversial chief operating officer (COO) should "never have been appointed at the SABC" and lied about having a matric.

As SABC board member, Hope Zinde wrote that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is "a stumbling block" in the proper functioning of the SABC board.

"At [parliament's] portfolio committee on 22 June, Daniel Mantsha, [Faith Muthambi's lawyer] argued that none of the SABC board members had contested their dismissal and that there was therefore no reason to consider their reinstatement."

"Yet a few days after the committee meeting, one of the axed SABC board members, Ronnie Lubisi made a public statement declaring that he had in fact lodged a complaint," says Gavin Davis, the Democratic Alliance's (DA) MP.

Interestingly it has now also come to light that Daniel Mantsha was struck off the roll of attorneys in 2007.

It was on Daniel Mantsha's advice that Faith Muthambi told parliament she intervened in the governance of the SABC which led to the purging of Ronnie Lubisi, Rachel Kalidass and Hope Zinde.

Hope Zinde wrote to Joyce Moloi-Moropa, the chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on communications, writing that "only the members who did not support the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng received these threatening letters [from Faith Muthambi] and are as such targeted".

In another letter Hope Zinde wrote in March this year to Joyce Moloi-Moropa, she said that the SABC chairperson prof. Obert Maguvhe  "is representing Hlaudi Motsoeneng's interests" and not that of the SABC board.

Hope Zinde wrote that Faith Muthambi then informed her that: "But baba loves Hlaudi. He loves him so much. We must support him."