After two years of waiting, controversial acting Chief Operating Officer (COO) of state broadcaster SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, has finally had his position confirmed as permanent.
According to a report on SABC’s website, the governing board voted seven to five in Motsoeneng’s favour last night and his appointment has been welcomed by new communications minister Faith Muthambi. Offering her congratulations, Muthambi said that she believed the appointment would bring stability to the organisations.
It’s fair to say that Motsoeneng has overcome the odds on this one. Not only was he in the news last week for his suggestion that journalists should be licensed – something that generally only happens in dictatorships where the free press is an anathema – he made headlines a fortnight before that when he was accused of receiving a wife as a gift from Venda chiefs.
His record on freedom of speech and (alleged) misogyny aren’t the most damning indictments on record though. Public protector Thuli Madonsela reported in February that Motsoeneng misrepresented his qualifications on his CV – accusing him outright of fraud – and ordered SABC to:
Ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is taken… [against] Mr Motsoeneng for his dishonesty relating to the misrepresentation of his qualifications, abuse of power and improper conduct in the appointments and salary increments of Ms Sully Motsweni, and for his role in the purging of senior staff members resulting in numerous labour disputesand settlement awards against the SABC.
Just two days ago, Muthambi told parliament that the public protector’s recommendations weren’t optional, telling parliament that “The public protector is a chapter nine institution, and whatever they have recommended has to be complied with. We cannot be seen as an entity that doesn’t comply with the public protector’s recommendations for remedial action”.
Quite how a pat on the head and a full-time job fits the description of “disciplinary action” remains to be seen.
Social media reaction hasn’t been particularly charitable so far. The DA’s Gavin Davies has been vocal in his criticism:
Public Protector found that Mr Motsoeneng lied about having matric & had given himself irregular salary increases while Acting COO @gavdavis
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) July 9, 2014
Others were more direct.
Let's be real though…imagine if Hlaudi #Motsoeneng was YOUR boss. Would you seriously take instructions from him seriously?
— Sihle Ngobese (@BigDaddyLiberty) July 9, 2014
Given the charges against him, this Twitter comment seems most appropriate.
https://twitter.com/BonganiMshibe/status/486777337003139072[Via – EWN]