Public Protector slams SABC and its matricless boss

2014-02-17 15:41
Cape Town – A damning report from South Africa's Public Protector released on Monday morning is slamming the beleaguered SABC and the public broadcaster's famously matricless acting chief operating officer (COO), Hlaudi Motsoeneng, for fraud and maladministration.

The Public Protector's report found that Motsoeneng cost the broadcaster millions by getting rid of staff who then sued for settlements, that Motsoeneng committed fraud by misrepresenting his qualifications, and that he unduly interfered in financial and human resources issues.

The struggling SABC has lurched from crisis to crisis the past five years and came to the brink of financial collapse in 2009.

The Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's final report on the SABC released in Pretoria, comes after an investigation of more than a year, following allegations of widespread maladministration and abuse of power at South Africa's beleaguered South African public broadcaster.

It also comes after a scathing skills audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which revealed a shocking lack of skills at the SABC, as well as a sizeable SABC staff complement without proper qualifications, fraudulent qualifications and even staff with no personnel files.

The Public Protector slammed the SABC as "dysfunctional" and said that the SABC board allowed numerous salary increases for the matricless Motsoeneng. His salary grew by 63% in a year from R1.5m to R2.4m.

'A dishonest act'

According to the Public Protector, Motsoeneng was allowed by multiple successive SABC board's to interfere in financial issues and human resource matters he shouldn't have.

Motsoeneng purged SABC staff which caused losses of millions of rands to the SABC according to the Public Protector, since the SABC had to pay out settlements for wrongful and irregular termination.

The Public Protector said Motsoeneng's conduct of misrepresenting his qualifications is fraud – that it is "improper and constitutes a dishonest act".

The Public Protector said that the former SABC chairperson Ben Ngubane who resigned and left last year after the entire SABC board resigned, changed the requirements for the position of chief operating officer (COO) so that it became tailored to suit Motsoeneng.

The Public Protector said that she finds its "discouraging" that the current SABC board has blindly sprung to Motsoeneng's defence.

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