Motsoeneng appointment prompts another board controversy
11 Jul 2014 05:55
The SABC looked set for another crisis this week after the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operations officer, despite a damning report by the public protector.
It is understood the appointment was not supported by 5 of 11 board members present at a hastily convened meeting on Monday, and that the procedure outlined in the SABC's memorandum of incorporation was not followed.
A board member, who asked not to be named, said chairwoman Zandile Tshabalala insisted on Motsoeneng's appointment as "he could do the job and had justified expectations", having acted in that capacity for a long time.
Five board members objected, saying the post had to be advertised. The SABC's memorandum of incorporation stipulated that "the board shall advertise or employ any other executive search mechanism to source potential candidates" for the position of CEO, chief financial officer and chief operations officer.
It stated that the board should conduct interviews and compile a short list of at least three preferred, suitable candidates
SABC 'dysfunctional', will deal with PP's governance issues - but Motsoeneng appointed anyway
The unnamed board member said some board members were now considering resigning.
If they do, the board is again in danger of not having a quorum, threatening stability at the broadcaster, which urgently needs to sort out acute financial, personnel and management problems.
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi's announcement of the appointment on Tuesday came just three days after she told Parliament the SABC was dysfunctional and that she would deal with governance issues raised by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
Madonsela had recommended the SABC make a qualified permanent appointment to the "long-outstanding vacant post" of chief operations officer.
She criticised Motsoeneng for fraudulently misrepresenting his qualifications, including claiming to have passed matric, when he applied for employment.
On Friday, Muthambi told MPs the position was difficult to fill. An appointment could not be made until the resolution of a matter with former content enterprise executive and operations chief-designate Mvuzo Mbebe, who challenged the board's decision to reverse his appointment in court in 2006.
National Lotteries Board CEO Charlotte Mampane has also acted in the position since then.
Tshabalala told MPs there was no basis to suspend Motsoeneng because "he performs".
The unnamed board member said Muthambi, who was present at Monday's meeting, told board members the issue with Mbebe had been settled. The board member said Tshabalala produced a "mini CV" from Motsoeneng highlighting his achievements as acting operations chief.
Board member Thembinkosi Bonakele, who was not at Monday's meeting, submitted his resignation on Friday. "I was appointed commissioner of the Competition Commission after being asked to act in this position for six months," he said. "Consequently, I am not able to do justice to both the competition commissioner job and the SABC board position. Further, I have had to recuse myself from all broadcasting matters before the commission because of a potential conflict of interest occasioned by my board membership of the SABC. I have therefore decided to sever my relationship with the SABC."
Kaizer Kganyago, spokesman for the SABC, said yesterday Madonsela's report was not related to the appointment" and her recommendations "were not instructions".
In her report she found Motsoeneng had irregularly raised various staff members' salaries, increasing the salary bill by R29m.
She found he had received three "irregular" increases, taking his salary from R1.5m to R2m a year.
Mail & Guardian reports that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says that Motsoeneng was appointed COO of SABC after a law firm report cleared him of wrongdoing. She has refused to name the law firm, however, and in any event, reports Mail & Guardian, "By law, the Public Protector's findings can only be reviewed and set aside by a court of law."
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Hmm, so he has no matric and lied about it, there is proof of irregular salary increases for himself and others who are probably accomplices...and that's okay, as long as he 'delivers'. Twisted society we live in!