SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s latest cash handout of R750 000 has been seen as an attempt to buy support from South African artists.
The broadcasting boss has rewarded 150 musicians, including those who backed him after he instituted the 90% local content policy, with R50 000 each for “their contribution to the music industry”, according to the broadcaster.
Veteran artists Don Laka and Mzwakhe Mbuli were among those who vowed to defend the broadcaster and Motsoeneng in the face of criticism directed at his policies regarding music and TV quotas and news coverage.
The announcement, which largely flew under the radar in most news outlets at the time, was made at the SABC headquarters in Johannesburg by Motsoeneng and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on July 31.
Right2Know campaigner Micah Reddy told The Citizen he believed the motive behind the cash prizes was “sinister”.
“It’s clear this is an attempt by Motsoeneng to buy support. It’s what he has been doing all along with his 90% quota that is clearly an attempt to win over struggling artists,” said Reddy. “It’s a very cynical thing to do because organisations such as Right2Know have been calling for more local content for a long time and he wasn’t interested.”
The beleaguered boss of the SABC has faced controversy for decisions he has made this year, including implementing a ban on the coverage of protesters damaging public property and suspending seven journalists who opposed it.
Earlier this year, the SABC brushed off claims by sources for the Sunday Times that Motsoeneng was offering “R100 000 rewards” for exposing employees who leaked internal information.
“It is not true that we offered any reward to anyone,” the public broadcaster’s spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, told News24.
Yesterday, Phalaphala FM employees alleged Motsoeneng instituted the moving of the station without properly warning employees – they have to move from Polokwane to Thohoyandou “without considering the welfare of families in Polokwane where most of them have been residing”.
Kganyago was not reachable for comment at time of going to press.