Monday, April 4, 2016

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela again asks the SABC when it is going to take proper action over its famously matricless COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has again asked the SABC when the public broadcaster will take the remedial actions as outlined in the Public Protector's report, "When Governance and Ethics Fail", from February 2014 over the SABC's famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

It follows after South Africa's Constitutional Court last week ruled that the remedial actions and recommendations as made by the Public Protector regarding president Jacob Zuma's upgrades to his Nkandla homestead are binding.

It means that the Public Protector's report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng in which she found serious mismanagement at the public broadcaster and implicated Hlaudi Motsoeneng in a string of ethical lapses and maladministration, and the remedial actions asked for, is also similarly binding on the SABC.

The Public Protector found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had lied to the SABC about having a matric certificate. "He admitted to me, and I have a recorded interview with him," said Thuli Madonsela.

"Secondly the position [of COO] 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 Public Protector slammed the SABC and Hlaudi Motsoeneng for the 3 "irregular" salary increases from R1,5 milion per year to R2,4 million in a single year.

The Public Protector's report says Hlaudi Motsoeneng shows "a lack of ethical conduct" and noted that he should never have been appointed at the SABC.

The Public Protector's report finds that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment as the acting chief operating officer (COO) at the SABC was "irregular" and that the SABC board is in violation of the Broadcasting Act, and that Hlaudi Motsoeneng serving in this position "constitutes improper conduct and maladministration".

The Public Protector's report found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng "directly initiated the termination of the employment of Bernard Koma, Hosia Jiyane, Sello Thulo, Montlenyane Diphoko, Mapule Mbatathi and Ntswoaki Ramaphosa who participated in Hlaudi Motsoeneng's disciplinary hearing held in Bloemfontein".

The Public Protector found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng "unilaterally increased the salaries of certain SABC staff members, adding R29 million to the public broadcaster's salary bill.

According to the Public Protector, Hlaudi Motsoeneng was allowed by multiple successive SABC board's to interfere in financial issues and human resource matters he shouldn't have.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng purged SABC staff which cause losses of millions of rands to the SABC according to the Public Protector, since the SABC had to pay out settlements for wrongful and irregular termination.

The Public Protector says Hlaudi Motsoeneng's conduct of misrepresenting his qualifications is fraud - that it is "improper and constitutes a dishonest act" and that Hlaudi Motsoeneng committed fraud when he indicated that he had completed matric.

In October 2015, the the Supreme Court of Appeals ruling found in favour of, and confirmed Thuli Madonsela's findings. 

The SABC then convened a bizarre and extremely odd, three times postponed disciplinary hearing for Hlaudi Motsoeneng, finding him not guilty on a suddenly dramatically reduced charge sheet.

Now the Public Protector wants to know from the SABC when the public broadcaster is going to comply with its report and the remedial actions requested. "It does not look like the SABC understood the court directive," says the Public Protector spokesperson Oupa Segalwe.

According to the Public Protector, the SABC has in two years since February 2014 and counting, failed to comply with the Public Protector's findings and remedial actions asked for.

"What [the SABC did so far] did not amount to implementation of her remedial action. It appeared as though the SABC misunderstood the Supreme Court of Appeals judgment," says the Public Protector's office.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago didn't respond to a media enquiry seeking comment on the Public Protector's latest letter to the South African public broadcaster.