Hlaudi Motsoeneng testified today at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), where he is challenging what he sees as his “unfair dismissal” by the SABC.
Motsoeneng claims that he is missed by workers at the public broadcaster, and denies that he cost the SABC millions of rands in advertising revenue.
“There is no evidence that I cost the SABC R300 million. What I know is that I have been assisting the SABC with funding,” he said.
Motsoeneng is attempting to be reinstated as head of Group Corporate Affairs at the parastatal. On Tuesday, SABC board-member Krish Naidoo said this position was set aside by the court, and would soon to be filled.
Motsoeneng took to the CCMA to accuse the SABC of having “motives” in rushing to fill the position.
He argued that the judge of the Labour Court had ruled “that if (I am) cleared, (I) should be given an opportunity to contest (my dismissal) as COO, (but) they have already filled that, they were not supposed to fill that position. They are trying to run with speed so that before this hearing concludes, they have already filled those positions.”
Motsoeneng claims that his dismissal was politically motivated and that the SABC is in trouble not because of his misconduct but because he is no longer there.
“In my time there was no zero percent increment, I did everything … workers miss me at the SABC. The reality is I have been able to assist the SABC,” he said.
Motsoeneng also claimed that his introduction of a 90 percent local music quota did not cost the broadcaster any revenue, and was beneficial for it.
On Tuesday, Motsoeneng’s legal representative, advocate Kgomosoane Mathipa, cross-examined SABC board member Krish Naidoo, saying Naidoo had a fiduciary duty to recuse himself on issues around Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing, something Naidoo denies.
A battle has been ongoing between the former SABC COO and Naidoo, who said in 2016 he “warned the ANC about Hlaudi”.
Mathipa argued Naidoo was personally offended by Motsoeneng’s calling of a controversial press conference, to the point of threatening to sue him, and that the press conference warranted a recusal.
Naidoo countered by saying he honoured his fiduciary duty to the SABC and that the board acted on legal, rather than subjective, advice.
Motsoeneng’s introduction of a 90% quota for local content was also called into question at the hearing.
Naidoo said the quota led to the loss of R300 million advertising revenue for stations such as Lotus FM, and that the broadcaster lost many listeners in the process. Whether or not the board approved the quota is a matter of contention.
Mathipa read the minutes where the board supported the 90% quota. Naidoo claimed the resolution of that meeting did not say it should be implemented. He said the minutes did say there was a discussion, but not a resolution.
The hearing will resume on Thursday.