The SABC’s former CEO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng had some of his legal fees – which reportedly amounted to over R1 million – paid by company Bosasa.
According to a report in the Sunday Times, Motsoeneng confirmed that Bosasa – which has since been renamed African Global Operations — picked up his legal tab, but wouldn’t say why the company’s CEO Gavin Watson had stepped in to help him.
Reports differ just as to how much the amount Motsoeneng owed was, with the Sunday Times putting the figure at R1.2 million and City Press reporting it was R1.1 million. The legal fees were incurred by Motsoeneng’s failed defence in a disciplinary hearing last year.
Sources told the Sunday Times that Bosasa, which was awarded state contracts worth billions, was allegedly pressured into paying Motsoeneng’s legal fees by then-president Jacob Zuma.
The paper quotes one source as saying,”When Zuma initially asked Watson to pay the legal fees the businessman wasn’t keen. Then the president sent sent his messenger [former SAA board chair] Dudu Myeni, to convince Watson to change his mind, the fees were paid.”
“Bosasa was used as an ATM for politicians and those who are politically connected,” the source added.
When questioned about this, Motsoeneng the paper quoted the former SABC boss saying, ““I have known Zuma for many years, since my days as a reporter for the SABC, and our relationship has nothing to do with politics. If I support my president [Zuma] whenever he goes to court as a matter of principle, then why can’t he support me?”