Urgent intervention needed at SABC – IPO

FILE PICTURE: SABC's COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Michel Bega

The Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) on Thursday called for urgent intervention at the SABC following a damning report by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

“We call on the institutions designed to provide oversight — Parliament, the shareholder in the department of communications, and Icasa [Independent Communications Authority of SA] — to exercise their mandate and to intervene urgently,” the IPO said in a statement.

“The IPO, which represents the majority of South Africa’s working producers, is both concerned and distressed by the continuing instability at the SABC…,” it said.

On Monday, Madonsela criticised SABC acting chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the public broadcaster’s board over his irregular appointment and salary progression.

Complaints against Motsoeneng were raised with Madonsela by former SABC staff — including former chief operations officer Charlotte Mampane and ex-SABC senior executive Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande.

Motsoeneng was also investigated for fraudulently misrepresenting his qualifications to the SABC, including claiming that he had passed matric when he applied for employment.

Madonsela said allegations that Motsoeneng committed fraud were substantiated. She said it was worrying that Motsoeneng’s file had disappeared at the SABC while he denied falsifying his qualifications.

She concluded that Motsoeneng irregularly and rapidly increased the salaries of various staff members, resulting in the state broadcaster footing an unprecedented salary bill escalation of R29 million.

Madonsela’s report recommended that the SABC board institute corrective action against the “dishonest” Motsoeneng.

She urged Communications Minister Yunus Carrim to take urgent steps to fill the COO post within 90 days.

Madonsela also wanted Carrim to establish why group chief executive officers at the SABC could not function, and leave prematurely, causing financial and operational strains.

The IPO said for many South Africans, the SABC was their only source of information and entertainment.

“While the organisation is making a few people rich, the quality of programming is suffering,” it said.

“Budgets are extremely low and the organisation is forced to rely more and more on advertisers to fund programming, which comes with severe challenges.”

– Sapa

today in print

today in print