Thursday, April 21, 2016

SABC remains livid over satirical Twitter account of its controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng; says if found SABC will deal 'in harshest way possible'.

The SABC remains livid about a satirical Twitter account of its controversial Auckland Park boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with the public broadcaster again "warning" the public that it's fake and saying it will deal "in the harshest way possible" when it finds out who is responsible for it.

The parody Twitter account of Hlaudi Motsoeneng with the handle @SABC_COO sprang up in May 2014 and has since been serving up wry commentary and words of appreciation to followers and SABC "citizens", clearly indicating that it's a "parody/satire" account from "Awkward Park, Johannesburg".

The SABC's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng achieved meteoric rise inside the South African public broadcaster and is embroiled in a protracted court case regarding his appointment as chief operating officer (COO) following a scathing report from the Public Protector in February 2014 implicating him in several instances of maladministration and for lying about having a matric certificate.

In September 2015 Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he wants social media in South Africa like Facebook and Twitter "to be regulated" and what people can say on it.

The SABC has not been able to identify the person running the account or to shut down the satirical Hlaudi Motsoeneng Twitterer sharing hilarious bon mots with followers.

This week the "fake" Hlaudi told followers things like: "Those asking, yes, I do watch DStv in my office, but obviously only for the purposes of learning how SABC can improve its broadcasting," and "Many have asked if we are broadcasting the EFF manifesto launch. The answer is no. Instead we will be screening Sarafina".

Messages with bite shared on the satirical account range from things like "SABC is happy to announce exclusive book & broadcast rights to the story of President Zuma & his life of service, The Long Walk to Nkandla", to "For those asking, no, I don't smoke the devil's lettuce. My eyes are red from sleepless nights running SABC".

"He [Hlaudi Motsoeneng] doesn't have a Twitter account," says SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"All of the things that are said there, are not his. He has said it very clearly that he is not on social media, deliberately so."

"We are taking it very seriously, especially if you look where its him saying we're not going to do the EFF manifesto and in the space of that we'll do Sarafina. People are just being malicious and they're damaging the brand SABC."

"We want to say to them we're taking this very seriously as the SABC. We will then have to follow up on this people and if this people are found we will deal with them in the harshest way possible," said Kaizer Kganyago.

"If we find out who it is, then we'll open a case because it's just pushing malicious information that damages the brand. People must understand that the brand SABC has got value and because of that value we have to get worried."

"Don't believe what you read in those Twitter pages because this is not ... we've got an official page of the SABC. If there's anything we want to we will say it there. We're a public broadcaster, if there are messages we want to send out we will come here and send them out like that," Kaizer Kganyago told SABC News.

"Our image is much more important than people who are trying to fool around. Maybe for them it's a joke but for us it isn't."