Cape Town – The SABC's chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng says MultiChoice must "carry the public" as he again lashed out at print media in South Africa as being "misleading" about the public broadcaster and saying people need to "applaud SABC" because "there is money at the SABC".
Motsoeneng is currently mired in a protracted court case following the Public Protector’s report from February 2014 ordering him to be suspended, as well as the Western High Cape which ruled twice that the SABC suspend him and start a disciplinary hearing immediately. He is appealing the decision.
The caustic and finger-waving Motsoeneng again took to the stage at The New Age breakfast briefing about digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration on Monday in Sandton, again making utterances that had those attending laughing awkwardly and uncomfortably throughout when he spoke, while some shook their heads in disbelief and one guest caught saying "wow".
The SABC’s newly appointed CEO Frans Matlala attended the breakfast briefing but sat quietly in the audience and didn’t speak as Motsoeneng unleashed his zingers.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng said SABC broadcasts are not disrupted by rain fade like another broadcaster, and that MultiChoice must make sure that the pay-TV operator "sustains" the SABC.
He also publicly slammed the SABC’s former COO, Solly Mokoetle, who was a panelist next to him on the stage – twice – as well as South African newspapers who he claims are “misleading” South Africans about the SABC and its financial state because they are in competition with the public broadcaster.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng said the SABC’s own audience is "very happy with the SABC".
'MultiChoice must make sure it sustains SABC employees'
"People are talking about another small broadcaster somewhere, they are having the best technology," said Motsoeneng.
"Actually they don’t have better technology than SABC. Because we have the HD. Our own outside broadcast vans. They are in HD. But in our studio we have what we call analogue."
"If you compare us and them, when it’s rains, it’s a mess for them. We are still on the terrestrial, we're doing very well.
"With MultiChoice, it’s partnership. We have what is called ‘must-carry’. It is a regulations from Icasa, not from SABC. Must-carry means the SABC channels they must be carried by pay-TV. Not MultiChoice. All pay-TV. You know you have another pay-TV. They carry those channels of the SABC. But when people talk, they about MultiChoice.
"We approached MultiChoice. We said to MultiChoice: 'You need to contribute to the public. Because it can’t be public for free. What is your contribution to the public?' They said no but the law says we must carry you. I said to you: ‘Carry the public.
"That MultiChoice partnership is to also to make sure that we sustain employees within the organisation [SABC], we create jobs, which we have already done within the organisation," said Motsoeneng.
Better than Solly
"We have outdone Solly Mokoetle here. From performance. As current leadership of the organisation. Because they could not raise any funds to sustain that organisation. He was the COO of the SABC. When we took over, SABC is sustainable today," said Motsoeneng in a sideswipe to Mokoetle sitting next to him who is now the head of South Africa’s DTT programme
'Our own audience are very happy'
Hlaudi Motsoeneng again publicly slammed South African newspaper journalism as he’s done several times this year, speaking about the SABC’s relationship with The New Age newspaper.
"Our own audience are very happy," said Motsoeneng. "Our audience they have never complain about the relationship between us and MultiChoice, and between New Age. Because it is a good relationship.
"We share the same vision with New Age. And I said to them: 'The day you portray South Africa as bad, that day SABC withdraw from this relationship.
"We Africans, we undermine ourselves. When you go to other countries, where there's BBC. Just check how they report about their country. They report very good about their country.
"We Africans, our mindset, we need to work on our mindset to be African mindset.
"Some people they always make this noise, this hullabaloo, about the SABC. We always have our own consultation with our own audience. Actually they are more than happy," said Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
'We need to applaud SABC'
"We need to applaud SABC, said Hlaudi Motsoeneng. "I need to deal with this notion that SABC is not sustainable financially. "The boxing back, everything is back that people have been crying about. That shows that SABC is doing better."
"My former COO here, he knows that. The SABC could never do that but now we are able to do that."
Motsoeneng said "You choose in life. Partnership is all about choosing. You can’t go and choose someone who is collapsing tomorrow and you want to do business with that. I need more business from MultiChoice, to invest so that we can empower people."
"There was no money at the SABC. There is money at the SABC. Don’t take what you are reading at the newspaper because they mislead because they are competing with SABC," said Motsoeneng.
*Hlaudi quoted verbatim.
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