Monday, October 12, 2015

SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng lashes out at media portraying him 'in a bad light', says media houses busy with 'smear campaign' to tarnish his name.

The SABC's controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng is now lashing out at media and a newspaper he gave an interview to days ago, saying media South African press is portraying him in "a bad light" and accusing media houses in the country of being busy with a "smear campaign" to tarnish his name.

As chief operating officer (COO) of the South African public broadcaster which just recorded a shocking loss of R395 million for the financial year ended March, the highly controversial and famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng has this year publicly called at least 6 times so far for the South African media and press to be regulated and for South African journalists to be "licensed".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's salary just rose again by almost another R1 million to R3.78 million - now earning more than South Africa's president Jacob Zuma.

With ongoing embarrassment and brand damage inflicted to the SABC, the embattled Hlaudi Motsoeneng is embroiled in a protracted court case now heading to the Constitutional Court over the Public Protector's scathing report from February 2014.

Last year the Public Protector in a damning report implicated Hlaudi Motsoeneng in maladministration and corruption at the public broadcaster, finding that "Hlaudi Motsoeneng should never have been appointed at the SABC" and revealed how his skyrocketing salary of millions ballooned three times in one year.

According to the Public Protector, Hlaudi Motsoeneng in a recorded interview admitted to having lied about having a matric certificate and made up symbols for a matric certificate he knew he didn't have and couldn't produce.

In the court case which will have profound implications for the powers of the office of the Public Protector and which had already ran up legal costs of millions of rand, the Western Cape High Court twice, and the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA) last week again found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be suspended and that disciplinary proceedings should start against him.

Last week Hlaudi Motsoeneng gave a sit-down interview to journalist to Sabelo Skiti from The Sunday Times from his burgundy leather couch in his luxury corner office on the 27th floor of the SABC's Auckland Park headquarters.

In The Sunday Times interview, Hlaudi Motsoeneng told of how he's been a born leader since Standard 3, "even leading my own teachers".

"Some of them are still alive even now and I'm leading them," he said as he hauled out certificates like one in the analysis of contemporary social issues from the University of the Witwatersrand, saying of the SABC, "I saved this organisation from collapsing".

Also on Sunday, the Sunday World detailed how Hlaudi Motsoeneng was fired in 2007 from the SABC following a disciplinary hearing(the "shocking revelation" as Sunday World reported it is not a "revelation" however, nor new, it is in the Public Protector's report of 2014 and has been reported earlier in the media).

The Public Protector's report found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng who was later reappointed at the SABC, was instrumental of getting rid of everybody who testified against him during the disciplinary hearing.

On Sunday also, The Sunday Independent in a strongly-worded editorial said Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the minister of communications Faith Muthambi "have been embarrassed" and that "those at the broadcaster with superior literacy skills owe it to Hlaudi Motsoeneng - and the taxpayer - to put it to him that the jig is up. He has come to the end of the road".

"In a country with as depressing an economic situation as ours, a man who by his own admission has forged matric qualifications, has ensured that his salary has risen faster than the inflation rate - by more than R1 million," said The Sunday Independent, calling for Hlaudi Motsoeneng "to fall on his sword".

In a new opinion piece by the noted journalist Gareth van Onselen, Business Day states that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has a "confused mind" and that Hlaudi Motsoeneng "has sat on his throne of indignation and passed judgment on all and sundry from his place in the clouds".

After the Sunday Times sit-down interview, "I have noted with concern the article titled 'Courts won't stop me, says SABC's 'born leader’ published in the Sunday Times newspaper," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng in a statement issued through the SABC, calling the article "malicious".

"It insinuates that I have no respect towards the country's courts of law and undermine the processes thereof. I view this matter in a serious light and reject it with the contempt it deserves as it's aimed at portraying me in a bad light," says Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

"I view this as a smear campaign by some media houses to tarnish my name and I appreciate those who are fair in their reporting."