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SABC spends R3m on choir

2015-05-22 15:33

Johannesburg – The SABC spends a whopping R3m a year on its choir and among their songs is one singing the praises of the chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, told parliament that the SABC spends a massive R3m per year on its choir.

The choir sings songs of praise in SABC staff meetings for the COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng with lyrics like “Hlaudi Motsoeneng reya o leboha” (Hlaudi Motsoeneng we thank you.”)

Motsoeneng is embroiled in a protracted court fight after the Western Cape High Court has already twice ordered the SABC to immediately suspend Motsoeneng – a judgment he’s appealing.

Last year the Public Protector in a report implicated Motsoeneng in maladministration and corruption at the public broadcaster, finding that "Hlaudi Motsoeneng should never have been appointed at the SABC" and that he should be suspended.

According to the Public Protector, Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied about having a matric certificate and made up symbols for a matric certificate he knew he didn't have and couldn't produce.

Motsoeneng was implicated as having been involved in getting rid of everyone who testified against him in an earlier disciplinary hearing at the SABC, and his salary increased from R1.5m to R2.4m at the SABC in one year.

The Public Protector's report advised the SABC to appoint a new COO within 90 days. Instead the SABC appointed Hlaudi Motsoeneng in the position permanently.

Gavin Davis, a member of parliament (MP) of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and a member of the portfolio committee on communications says in a statement that “the question needs to be asked whether the SABC can justify spending R3m per year on an in-house choir. Surely it would be cheaper to commission the services of a professional choir if and when the need arises?”

SABC can’t afford unnecessary extravagances

“The fact is that the SABC can’t afford unnecessary extravagances such as its own choir. As internal SABC financial documents recently brought to light by the Sunday Times show, the public broadcaster faces a loss of R501m in this financial year,” says Davis.

“The disbandment of the SABC choir should be at the top of the SABC’s list of cost-cutting measures.”

Earlier this week, Muthambi told parliament that the SABC is “in a sound financial state” and that “the SABC is on the move”.

Muthambi told parliament that during this financial year R173m from the department of communications’ budget has been allocated to the SABC.

While Muthambi promised parliament that a new SABC CEO would be in place by the end of September 2014, nine months later the position is still vacant.

TheSABC board characterised by vicious infighting has been without a permanent board chairperson for months since the resignation of Ellen Tshabalala following the embarrassing revelations that she had lied about her qualifications.

With originally 12 SABC board members but several resignations last year and purging of three further SABC board members – Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi – earlier this year, the SABC board no longer has a quorum to legally constitute meetings.

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