5 January 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng makes a fool of himself at the announcement of the matric results.

6 January 2015: the SABC announces that James Aguma, a chartered accountant, had been appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Aguma had been the acting CFO of the SABC since March 2014 after Gugu Duda was suspended in September 2012 in connection with procurement and financial irregularities. In its television news announcement of the appointment of the appointment mention ismade of the SABC posting a profit of R6501 million in the 2013/2014 financial year. No mention is made in this bulletin that Aguma told parliament

8 January 2015: Twitter users and opposition parties express outrage over SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who has said experience and “a brain” were more important than obtaining “a piece of paper”.

11 January 2015: The Sunday Independent reveals that the SABC has been dealt another blow with the resignation of a high-profile board member, Professor Bongani Khumalo.

11 January 2015: Writing in the Sunday Times, columnist Barney Mthombothi said having Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the release of the matric results was like having the blind lead the sighted:

It was perhaps appropriate that the public announcement of the matric results was made at a place that has come to symbolise nothing but ignominy — and that the limelight shone on a man who is to education what darkness is to light.

One suspects that the only reason the SABC was chosen to host the event is that, being an overzealous government poodle, the broadcaster would religiously toe the line, and Hlaudi Motsoeneng, its analphabetic whippersnapper, would be at hand to gild the lily.

Were it not for her recent little difficulties, Ellen Tshabalala would surely also have honoured the occasion with her imperious presence. Such chutzpah cannot be learnt or acquired. It must be in the genes. Rarely has such glittering talent illuminated or coalesced in one blessed place at the same time.

The rich irony of Motsoeneng lecturing people who’ve seen the inside of a classroom — and have a certificate to prove it — about the value of an education, accurately captures a snapshot of South African realities. It is of the blind leading the sighted.

11 January 2015: The Sunday Times makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng its Mampara of the week.

Broadcaster of own balderdash

It takes a mampara to lie for years about having a matric when you are the sort of person who gets a thrill from being in the spotlight and seeing your picture plastered all over the papers.

But it takes a special kind of mampara to then take the podium at the official unveiling of the 2014 matric results, and lecture school-leavers about what this means — when you would not know what it feels like to get that certificate.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the chief operating officer of the SABC, is that man. And when he did open his mouth, he displayed his notorious befuddled thinking. “You have two kinds of people in this world. You have certificated people and educated people,” he said.

Motsoeneng seems to be neither — even if he is an epic chancer, with no little chutzpah.

11 January 2015: In a Sunday Times article, Rob Rose calls Hlaudi Motsoeneng the “Idi Amin of Auckland Park”.

13 January 2015: Parliamentary speaker, Balela Mbete does not grant an EFF request for a special sitting of the House to discuss Nkandla. The SABC uses the “Pay Back the Money!” footage but leaves out the sound so that yiou cannot hear the EFF cries.

14 January 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and her opposition counterpart, Gavin Davis, issue statements relating to her relationship with the SABC board.

18 January 2014: City Press reveals that “Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has intensified her campaign to get rid of SABC board members who did not support the controversial appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as group chief operating officer.

“Muthambi has written more letters to the six SABC board members who were against her endorsement of Motsoeneng, accusing them of sowing disunity and breaching their fiduciary duties.

“She has asked them to give reasons why they should not be suspended.”

19 January 2015: Gavin Davis says that there is a growing climate of paranoia, fear and intimidation at the SABC under Acting CEO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

20 January 2015: Business Day reveals that disgraced former chairwoman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Ellen Tshabalala has resigned from the board of the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM), after being found to have lied about her academic qualifications.

20 January 2015: Media Online reveals that the SABC has launched an investigation into what it calls leaks by staff members of internal documents to the Democratic Alliance

21 January 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reponds to the criticism of her by Gavin Davis saying that he says that he had falsely accused her of unlawfully interfering in the SABC Board. Davis then replied saying he had documentary proof of her interference

25 January 2015: Wally Mbhele, Editor-At-Large of IOL’s Sunday publications says the broadcasting in 7 am SABC television news bulletin on 23 January of the function to celebrate Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s “20 years” with the SABC was another example of the insanity that prevails within the SABC.

13 February 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng ays South African journalists are lazy and chides ANC ministers for not spending more money on the SABC.

15 February 2015: City Press says SABC news chief Jimi Matthews censored the SONA broadcast.

15 February 2015: Journalist Adriaan Basson says former SABC board member Cedric Gina tried to prevent him from doing his job.

27 February 2015: The Mail & Guardian reveals that the ANC wants the SABC to give more coverage to President Jacob Zuma and more favourable coverage to the ANC.

1 March 2015: City Press reveals that the controversial MultiChoice, SABC deal is ‘not in the public interest’.

1 March 2015: MMA, SOS and Caxton issue a statement saying that the SABC/Multichoice is a merger that does not comply with the law.

5 March 2015: Gavin Davis, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on communication, calls on former SABC chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, to pay back the more than R1 m she was paid during her 22 month tenure in the position.

We believe that this R 1.3 million constitutes ill-gotten gains and must be paid back.

If Tshabalala had been honest about her lack of qualifications, she would not have been appointed SABC Chairperson in the first place. If she had not been appointed, she would not have been paid R 1.3 million.

This is not just a moral argument. It is SABC policy that any money accruing to an individual as a result of a wrongful act must be paid back. This is set out on page 67 of last year's SABC Annual Report, as follows:

"The SABC shall take appropriate steps, including legal action, to recover any losses from fraudulent and/or corrupt activities or any other wrongful act. This may include action against third parties involved in fraudulent and/or corrupt activities or any other wrongful act, or whose negligent actions contributed to such acts."

12 March 2015: The SABC board passes a vote of no confidence in non-executive director Hope Zinde and excludes her from the board. This was because of her opposition to the abusive behaviour of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

13 March 2015: SABC board member Hope Zinde says of her sudden ousting: “I was shocked to learn from the media that I have been removed from the SABC board.

"I am currently awaiting a process to unfold through the appointing authority, parliament and the presidency, to look into a matter I have been alleged to have committed."

"The acting chairperson Prof Obert Maguvhe and the SABC board members who supported him to carry out this illegal act - unquorated as they were - acted unlawfully by proceeding with a matter without any inquiry, facts nor evidence to prove the allegations that I divulged board matters to the ANC communications stakeholder lekgotla,"

Thinus Ferreira, an independent commentator on on the television sector attributes her ousting to her criticism of broadcast minister Faith Muthambi:

On Friday the SABC moved quickly to remove all trace of Hope Zinde from its website - besides the news stories from SABC News that she's been voted out of the SABC board - with Hope Zinde's profile which was removed from the SABC's website listing the current SABC board.

Hope Zinde was one of the SABC board members who questioned the alleged undue interference of South Africa's minister of communications Faith Muthambi in the workings of the SABC board and warned that Faith Muthabi is diluting the powers of the SABC board to run the SABC.

"Why are we on the board, to just rubber-stamp? I do not agree," said Hope Zinde.

In January, SABC board member Prof Bongani Khumalo resigned, allegedly also because of the minister of communications Faith Muthambi's interference who allegedly sent letters to the board members asking why they should not be suspended.

17 March 2015: MMA posts further court documents relating to opposition to the SABC/Multichoice merger.

18 March 2015: The Democratic Alliance says that the powers that Faith Muthambi has given herself turn the SABC into a state broadcaster.

22 March 2015: Justine Limpitlaw, a telecommunications expert, says that SABC board was not legally empowered to remove Hope Zinde.

27 March 2015: Eyewitness News reveals that two more SABC board members have been given the boot, fuelling concerns that members are being purged “unlawfully”.

Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi were removed during a special board meeting after both received letters accusing them of fraudulent conduct.

It comes just two weeks after another board member, Hope Zinde, was pushed out in a similar fashion.

Gavin Davis, Democratic Alliance shadow minister on communication says this is unlawful

Communications MP, Faith Muthambi, says she supports the removal of Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi.

1 April 2015: SABC dumps all vernacular langages on its 24 hours news channel (404)

10 April 2015: SABC interviewer Eben Jansen is removed from the schedule after losing his cool during a live interview

12 April 2015: An opinion from parliamentary legal advisers on Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s interpretation of legislation governing the SABC has been handed to Speaker of Parliament, Baleka Mbete.

12 April 2015: The Sunday Independent front page lead alleges that:A controversial five-year, R55-million deal between MultiChoice and the SABC has handed significant control over the public broadcaster’s news operations to the pay-TV operator – a private company with no public broadcasting mandate.”

12 April 2015: The Sunday Times reveals that: Pressure is mounting on the SABC to suspend its head of news, Jimi Matthews, following allegations that he assaulted a woman staff member.

Matthews appeared before a grievance hearing on Tuesday to answer allegations that he assaulted a female colleague during the broadcast of President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address in Cape Town in February.

A staff union, the Media Workers Association of South Africa, this week called on the SABC to suspend Matthews during the “grievance procedure”.

Matthews is accused of assaulting a female TV technician during an argument over the brief loss of the live feed.

Unaware that the technical glitch was caused by the use of a jamming device by the police and parliamentary staff, Matthews is said to have blamed the broadcaster’s technician.

Tuesday’s proceedings did not last long because witnesses were not available. The hearing was postponed to April 21.

15 April 2015: SABC apologises for Eben Jansen’s behaviour

23 April 2015: Judge Ashton Schippers rules in the Cape High Court that Hlaudi Motsoeneng be suspended for 60 days and that an independent person be appointed to start a disciplinary hearing of Motsoeneng.

26 April 2015: The SACP expresses concern about the SABC/Multichoice contract.

26 April 2015: The Sunday Times reports that Hlaudi Motsoeneng as cost the SABC R1.1 billion

30 April 2015: The Media Online website reports that the situation at ICASA is chaotic

1 May 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi tells parliament that she is troubled by the fact the the SABC’s audience share has remained stagnant at 53%.

8 May 2015: The Democratic Alliance files papers in the South Gauteng High Court against the SABC over its failure to provide live coverage of the party’s federal congress in Port Elizabeth this weekend.

The DA alleged that the SABC withdrawal of its live coverage on public television is both contrary to the public interest and contrary to the SABC’s own editorial policy the party said in a statement.

8 May 2015: Jackson Mthembu‚ the spokesman for the African National Congress‚ tweeted: “#DACongress. The failure to cover the #DACongress by #SABC on the free to air channel‚ is so unfortunate‚ stupid and nothing to do with ANC”.

Mthembu tweeted: “#DACongress is in the public interest‚ they are the second biggest party in our country it’s only a fool that will not know that!#SABC”.

He distanced himself from the SABC‚ saying: “The more we #ANC members are not open about #SABC blunders‚ the more we are seen to be working with them.”

8 May 2015: The High Court in Johannesburg orders the SABC to provide live coverage of the DA’s federal congress in Port Elizabeth.

“The SABC conceded before Judge Carelse that it had no case, by agreeing to the order sought by the DA,” Democratic Alliance federal executive chairperson James Selfe said in a statement late on Friday night.

17 May 2015: The Sunday Times reveals that the legal opinion canvassed by broadcast minister Faith Muthambi makes it clear that she was not legally empowered to to dismiss three board members, Rachel Kalidass, Hope Zinde and Ronnie Lubisi in February.

20 May 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says the SABC is both a state-owned company and a public broadcaster.

21 May 2015: The Democratic Alliance spokesman on communication, Gavin Davis, says that the SABC is in crisis and facing financial ruin.

22 May 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reveals that the SABC is spending R3m annually on a choir which sings the praises of Hlaudi Motsoeneng at staff meetings.

25 May 2015: At a gala function celebrating the the expansion of the footprint of the public broadcaster's 24-hour TV news channel SABC News (DStv 404) into the rest of Africa, Hlaudi Motsoeneng launches into a bizarre tirade against South African journalists. With President Jacob Zuma and several cabinet ministers listening he threatened that dissenting and disloyal SABC workers would be rooted out, saying that the SABC is doing very well and that the SABC is committed to "positive stories."

Speaking in broken English, Motsoeneng said: "Our own journalists, they deal with propaganda. When you go abroad, most journalists they don't write bad about their country. But when you come to South Africa, and some of the African countries, our own journalists talk very bad about their own country.

"They don't educate and inform people. If you read, they are always misleading.

"Sometimes you need brain. It's good to have all those qualifications, but you need brain to think. If you analyse when people write - and those people are having all these diplomas and degrees - I'm going to give you example.

“"One of the papers said SABC has hide R500 million. If you analyse that what they mean is the CFO of the SABC has hide R5 million [sic], but if you check the books of the SABC, the reality is when we write off all those policies that are not relevant to the business, technically, the auditor-general they will pitch that equals to R500 million.

"But when people talk it seems as if SABC has really hide money. But these are people who are very educated. I wonder, whether they think before they do, whatever they do. That is misleading the country".

26 May 2015: Legal opinion presented to the parliamentary Communications Portfolio Committee confirms that the removal of three SABC Board Members by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi was unlawful.

28 May 2015: "The thing is it is surprising that a big corporation like the SABC is being run by somebody who talks as if he has smoked nyaope, with no respect. He just talks. He must stop his reckless statements. We are warning him, we are not one of those people he can just trample all over."

Incensed Siyaya TV founder Aubrey Tau accused SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng of being "reckless" after he went on SABC 2's Morning Live and announced that the SABC had reached a three-year agreement with Safa to televise matches of all the country's national teams.

Tau said he was stunned as he watched the television show and he threatened to sue the SABC if the public broadcaster televised the 2016 Olympic qualifier between Banyana Banyana and Gabon on Sunday.

Siyaya owns the rights to all of SA's national teams after signing a six-year broadcast deal worth more than R1-billion with Safa a few months ago.

2 June 2015: The ANC prevents DA M, Gavin Davis, from discussing a legal opinion that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi did not adhere to the law regarding the SABC board, Netwerk 24 reported.

The sub-committee of Parliament’s communications portfolio met to discuss the shortlist for three vacancies on the SABC’s board.

5 June 2015: Is the SABC back to blacklisting press and commentators? That’s what South Africa's media is wondering yet again after the SABC withdrew an invitation to commentator Eusebius McKaiser to appear on a talk show after a newspaper column of his this week was critical of ANC leaders. McKaiser said: “A producer of AM Live's debate slot called me to uninvite me because he was instructed from higher up that my criticism of senior ANC leaders remaining silent about Nkandlagate should not be discussed on Sakina Kamwendo's show".

7 June 2015: City Press reveals that two major unions at the SABC, BEMAWU and CWU, have declared disputes over annual wage negotiations after the corporation’s chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, told staff to accept his 8% increase offer, or they would be “load shed”.

19 June 2015: President Jacob Zuma appoints Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe as the chair and Leah Thabisile Khumalo as deputy chairperson of the SABC with immediate effect.

20 June 2015: The appointments are criticised by the Democratic Alliance and the IFP

21 June 2015: The Sunday Times reveals that the SABC’s financial situation is very troubling

As Motsoeneng rises, the SABC’s finances falter

  • 21 Jun 2015
  • Sunday Times

THE SABC’s financial fortunes have plummeted since its embattled chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, effectively took the helm at the broadcaster just over a year ago.

Last month, the Sunday Times revealed the SABC faced massive losses this year despite telling parliament it was financially stable.

Now, financial statements finalised on May 27 and submitted to the auditor general four days later reveal the broadcaster’s parlous financial state is even worse than previously thought.

The unaudited statements seen by the Sunday Times reveal that on Motsoeneng’s watch the SABC has a projected loss of almost R400million and a drop in cash and equivalents of R405-million.

They also show the SABC spent almost R420-million on freelancers, up from R334million last year, and R3.2billion on permanent staff, up from R2.3-billion last year.

The final audited statements will be made public only in September.

The unaudited statements reveal the broadcaster made a litany of accounting errors, forcing it to restate past performance. The most dramatic change is that the SABC actually made a profit of more than R1-billion in the year before Motsoeneng took over from Lulama Mokhobo in February 2014. Up to now the SABC’s financials reflected a profit of only R651million for the past year under Mokhobo’s tenure.

This suggests the SABC faces a plunge in financial fortunes of almost R1.4-billion since Motsoeneng took over, rather than just R1-billion as previously thought.

The SABC’s chief financial officer, James Aguma, who has controlled finances since March last year, said errors listed in the statements reflected his determination to correct past accounting mistakes. “The current regime is making sure it detects what was not done properly before,” he said. He insisted the SABC was “marching towards an unqualified audit”.

Motsoeneng declined to discuss any of the figures in the statements submitted to the auditor-general. “It’s still a working document,” he said. “We need to respect the rules and the law. We can only talk about it in September.” ’HAS A PLAN’: Chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng

He claims to have implemented measures to make the SABC more viable. “Our strategy is to grow revenues by growing audiences and improving technology,” he said.

24 June 2015: The SABC board is left without a quorum and unable to function

1 July 2015: The SABC announces that it has appointed Frans Matlala as CEO.

2 July 2015: Concerns are raised about the legality of Matlala’s appointment

29 July 2015: Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis reveals letters from axed SABC board member Hope Zinde which contradict statements made in parliament by the ANC.

Also revealed is correspondence between Zinde and ANC communications minister Faith Muthambi in which Muthambi says all possible support must be given to Hlaudi Motsoeneng simply because Jacob Zuma likes him

Shocking correspondence between the minister of communications,Faith Muthambi and an axed SABC board member shows how Faith Muthambi allegedly directly interfered in the purging of SABC board members who were against the appointment of the SABC's famously matricless boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with ousted former SABC board member Hope Zinde writing that Faith Muthambi told her "But baba loves Hlaudi".

Faith Muthambi's reference "baba" is a reference to president Jacob Zuma.

Faith Muthambi told SABC board member Hope Zinde - who got axed because she voiced opposition to Hlaudi Motsoeneng: "but baba loves Hlaudi. He loves him so much. We must support him."

30 July 2015: Cope lays a charge of fraud against Ellen Tshabalala

11 August 2015: In a combination of its renowned political sycophancy and its renowned professional inepititude, the state broadcaster interrupts scheduled broadcasting without warning to show President Jacob Zuma.

17 August 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng tells a New Age breakfast that journalism lecturers “poison” the minds of students.

17 August 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng repeats his call for journalists to be licenced

18 August 2015: Parliament is told that the SABC has missed its deadline to review its editorial policy by six years.

It is cause for concern that Hlaudi Motsoeneng appears to be dictating SABC editorial policy. This is particularly so in the light of the SABC missing the deadline to review its editorial policy by six years.

The SABC was supposed to have reviewed its editorial policy – with input from the public – by 2009. In a recent reply to a parliamentary question, the Minister conceded that the deadline had been missed due to “leadership instability.”

In the reply, the Minister promised to “complete the Editorial Policy review by the end of the first quarter of 2015.” Well, it is now August and a new Editorial Policy is conspicuous by its absence.

23 August 2015: The Sunday Times makes Hlaudi Motsoeneng its Mampara of the Week.

Ready for the Big School

For a mampara who has never seen the inside of a lecture hall, the SABC’s chief operationg officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, has a lot to say about the training of young journalists. Without the slightest sense of irony, this mampara – speaking at a media debate on Monday – said: “Lecturers at a tertiary level is where they poison the mind-set of young people. When they lecture – they mislead them about their own country. So we need to check who are these lecturers.”

Actually, the last part is not such a bad idea and Hlaudi should be encouraged to enrol at a tertiary institution to assess the quality of the curriculum first hand. Then again, he would have to get his matric first. Until then, he’s better qualified talking about what mamparas do in a grade 11 classroom.

24 August 2015: Corruption Watch admitted as ‘friend of court’ in Motsoeneng appeal case


26 August 2015: Hannes du Buisson of BEMAWU reveals that SABC staff in Durban were told to vacate their offices to allow an investigation by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Staff fear that the opportunity was used to install bugging devices to spy on them.

28 August 2015: SANEF expresses outrage at the NIA invasion of the SABC offices in Durban to spy on staff.

28 August 2015: Without apology or explanation SABC3 repeats the same Minute to Win It episode from the previous Friday, 21 August. The episode was already a rebroadcast from the season which was shown before and was being repeated.

29 August 2015: The SABC admits that the NIA was called in to bug the SABC offices in Durban to spy on staff.

30 August 2015: Gavin Davis of the Democratic Alliance asks Intelligence Inspector General Faith Radebe to investigate allegations that the State Security Agency (SSA) is being used to spyson SABC journalists and support staff.

The allegations were made by Broadcast, Electronic Media, and Allied Workers’ Union (Bemawu) president Hannes Du Buisson.

2 September 2015: Interviewed by Waldimer Pelser on Kyknet, Hlaudi Motsoeneng calls for journalists to be regulated. He says that the media by reporting on crime, simply encourages by crime. When asked, in the light of that statement, whether the same holds true for reporting on coruption, he is unable to answer. At 8:03 in the interview he says: “The role of the media is to influence the mindset of people you and old.”

3 September 2015: Questioned in Parliament about Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s call for media regulation on Kyknet, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi distances herself from these remarks.

9 September 2015: City Press reveals that the SABC intends to suspend four assignment editors who were part of a group that are fighting their bosses for promotions and better benefits equal to their workload at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.

Crosby Amos, Ronel van Zyl, Faith Daniels and Clive Govender, who are based in the public broadcaster’s Johannesburg offices, were this week slapped with letters of intention to suspend them for allegedly disclosing information to the media in relation to their unfair labour practice dispute, which was reported on in the City Press over the weekend.

The letters are said to have been signed by the organisation’s head of news, Jimi Matthews.

14 September 2015: The SOS coalition slams Parliament for the SABC’s failure to appoint people where there are important strategic vacancies.

17 September 2015: Communications Minister Faith Muthambi reveals that the SABC paid out R42 million in golden handshakes in just six years. The purges alone are costing the SABC R7 million annually.

17 September 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng announces the new studio which will be used for the broadcast of the Rugy World Cup. This turns out to be a typically-corrupt tenderpreneur endeavour

21 September 2015: Parliament reveals – in response to Democratic Alliance questions - that the tax payer is funding the court costs of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Ellen Tshabalala.

23 September 2015: The SABC’s Annual Report tabled in Parliament reveals that the salary of its Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, increased from R 2 872 000 to R 3 784 000 in this financial year.

This R 912 000 pay rise included a bonus of R 279 000.

23 September 2015: Business Day headlines its article on the tabling in parliament of the SABC’s financial report: SABC turns R358m profit into almost R400m loss as advertisers walk

23 September 2015: Bemawu reveals that staff have been threatened if they do not wear Bok tee shirts which were dished out as freebies

25 September 2015: ANC expresses concern about Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s salary increase

6 October 2015: William Bird of Media Monitoring Africa says the SABC-Multichoice deal is effectively a merger.

3 October 2015: “It has, indisputably, been hijacked by a tiny cabal of self-promoting individuals, abusing political access to materially advance themselves, at the expense of the SABC itself, and of the millions of people it should serve,”

Blade Nzimande speaking at the SACP’s Media Transformation Summit 3/10/2015

8 October 2015: The Supreme Court of Appeal rules that SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng must face disciplinary charges and must be suspended from this post pending the outcome of that process. This confirms the previous ruling by the Public Protector .The court said that given his position at the public broadcaster, the disciplinary process risked being compromised if he remained in his position while it unfolded. The DA hails the ruling as does the media in general. Motsoeneng says he will appeal to the Constitutional Court

9 October 2015: SABC announces that will take the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) ruling on its COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng to the Constitutional Court.

12 October 2015: When viewed in its entirety, the 11-minute interview constitutes a staggering display of ineptitude. Gareth van Onselen’s Business Day article, ‘Inside the confused mind of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’ sums up the SABC dilemma

12 October 2015: ANC announces it wishes to meet with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on digital migration.

14 October 2015: Faith Muthambi is castigated by ANC for her blatant lies about digital migration:

Muthambi came under heavy fire from the ruling party over her “unmandated” comments on criticism by the ANC’s national general council (NGC) of her handling of the digital migration project and instability at the SABC.

The party has slammed Muthambi for effectively calling ANC communications subcommittee chairman Jackson Mthembu a liar.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Muthambi disputed Mthembu’s comments that the ANC was unhappy about the country missing the digital migration deadline, the encryption component of the process and instability at the public broadcaster, claiming these were never discussed at the NGC.

But the ANC has hit back hard at Muthambi in a stinging and rare public rebuttal of a cabinet minister.

It said her comments had inaccuracies, and that she was not mandated to communicate decisions and discussions of its mid-term assessment meeting.

“It is unfortunate that in her statement there are a number of inaccuracies relating to matters discussed by the communications commission and subsequently adopted by the NGC.

“We want to place on record that the issues of digital migration and the SABC were discussed extensively by the commission, which resulted in the decisions that were taken,” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement on Tuesday night.

15 October 2015: The Democratic Alliance files an answering affidavit to Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appeal to the Consitutional Court saying that his taxpayer-funded bid was without legal basis.

15 October 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he wants his disciplinary hearing broadcast live on televsion.

16 October 2015: News 24 publishes the disciplinary charges that Hlaudi Motsoeneng faces.

16 October 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng places himself on ‘voluntary leave’ a category which does not exist within HR policies at the SABC but fails to inform his employer of this.

18 October 2015: In an article in the Sunday Independent, Mcebisi Ndletyana, associate professor of political science at the University of Johannesburg, alleges that Hlaudi Motsoeneng offered a R2m bribe to Marie Swanepoel, a clerical assistant in the Bloemfontein office of the SABC to forge his matric certificate – an offer she refused.

The SABC saga is yet another test for the party. Not only has the ANC reiterated its disapproval of the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s chief operating officer, but the Supreme Court of Appeal concurs with the public protector that he must be suspended and face a disciplinary hearing.

Motsoeneng’s claim that he was encouraged by a senior employee, Marie Swanepoel, to falsify his qualifications, was shown to be false. In her affidavit, Swanepoel said she had insisted Motsoeneng write down his real qualifications and bring a certificate as proof.

She said he had phoned her, pleading with her to confirm, in her affidavit, his false version, but she had refused. On learning that she had a sexual harassment case against the SABC, Motsoeneng phoned her again, offering her R2 million in compensation, on condition she lied for him. She refused.

More than the ANC, Motsoeneng’s case is a test for President Jacob Zuma to show us he is leading his party on to a new path. He spent almost two hours telling us how much he detested corruption and that he would make sure things changed soon after the NGC.

The ANC’s subcommittee on communications, Mantashe, and the portfolio committee in Parliament have all expressed uneasiness about Motsoeneng’s appointment.

Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi, aided by a sycophantic SABC board, has been the sole advocate for Motsoeneng’s appointment.

Behind the scenes, Muthambi is supported by Zuma. No rookie minister and activist could defy the entire party if she didn’t have the support of the president himself. Her continued stay in cabinet is further proof of presidential backing.

Muthambi hasn’t particularly distinguished herself in her portfolio. She proved incapable of communicating on behalf of the government, leading to Jeff Radebe’s taking over that responsibility; and South Africa failed to meet the deadline for migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Zuma didn’t deem it proper to remove her in his latest cabinet reshuffle, suggesting he approved of her dismal performance and defiance of the party. Did you believe all you said at the NGC, Mr President?

25 October 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng spends R40 million on a new studio, which amounts to little more than a hi-tech presenter’s desk and video monitors.

30 October 2015: In an article by Glynnis Underhill in the Mail & Guardian, ‘Hlaudi did not get majority vote from SABC board’ the illegally removed SABC board member, Hope Zinde, reveals that the SABC company secretary has ignored repeated requets for the voice recording of the meeting in July 2014 in which Hlaudi Motsoeneng was given a permanent post: ‘It is sad that the mintes do not reflect the true version of how the meeting went, thus my request for the voice recording, which the company secretary to date has not issued to me, as per my numerous requests last year.’

13 November 2015: The Times reveals that a complaint by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has pulled the plug on a segment of the hard-hitting rugby segment nicknamed Room Dividers that aired during Robert Marawa’s 083Sports@6 show on Metro FM.

The show ran each Tuesday during the Rugby World Cup that ended in the UK in October and featured three former players — Kaunda Ntunja‚ Lawrence Sephaka and Thando Manana.

The trio were scathing in their criticism of Mbalula and his stance on the lack of transformation in rugby during the November 3 edition of the show — which aired the day the Springboks came home from the World Cup.

Suspicions of political interference at the public broadcaster arose when host Marawa tweeted on Tuesday that "that decision is in the hands of other human beings" after being asked by an avid listener if Room Dividers would continue.

16 November 2015: The Democratic Alliance indicates it will request an ICASA investigation into the cancellation of the Room Dividers rugby programme after complaints by sports minister Fikile Mbalula.

18 November 2015: The SABC suspends CEO Frans Matlala barely five months after after he was appointed.

Business Day writes: Mr Matlala’s appointment in July came a year-and-a-half after former CEO Lulama Mokhobo quit just 14 months into her five-year contract. Speculation had been that Ms Mokhobo had a difficult working relationship with now suspended SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Both Mr Motsoeneng and former chairwoman Zandile Tshabalala are believed to have pushed for the appointment of Mr Matlala, who is a banking executive and a former SABC consultant.

"The board of the SABC, today suspended with immediate effect the group CEO Frans Matlala pending an investigation," the broadcaster said in a statement on Wednesday. It said the SABC’s group executive for news and current affairs, Jimi Matthews, had been appointed acting CEO.

19 November 2015: Suspended SABC chief executive Frans Matlala claims he was targeted in “retaliation” for co-operating with a Treasury investigation into the broadcaster.

19 November 2015: The SABC's suspended chief executive officer Frans Matlala has warned that he is ready to take the public broadcaster to court if his suspension is not lifted by Tuesday.

20 November 2015: Glynnis Underhill reveals in the Mail & Guardian that the lawyer appointed by Faith Muthambi the SABC board to preside at the disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Sandile July of Werksmans, has been dimissed by the board. This was because he had indicated that should the disciplinary go against Motsoeneng, he would call for his dismissal. He received his dismissal letter from the chairman of the board, Prof Obert Maghuve.

22 November 2015: A CEO timeline is published by the SOS coalition

23 November 2015: City Press reveals that the suspension of Frans Matlala is linked to corruption claims about the broadcaster’s procurement of a rugby World Cup studio for R42.3 million. A Timeline of SABC CEOs is provided

23 November 2015: City Press reveals that a wave of suspensions in the division that processes payments the SABC makes to its suppliers has followed last week’s suspension of group CEO Frans Matlala.

Eight senior SABC staff and insiders with close knowledge of developments in the procurement division told City Press the suspensions were in part linked to the broadcaster’s procurement of a much-heralded rugby World Cup studio for R42.3 million.

24 November 2015: Business Day speculates that that the decision to suspend SABC CE Frans Matlala was illegal as it flouted the broadcaster’s memorandum of incorporation.

SABC insiders told Business Day on Monday that the board, which has effected his suspension, did not have a quorum when it took its decision.

27 November 2015: The Western Cape High Court sets aside the COO appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

3 December 2015: Legal expert Pierre de Vos says that the disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng is fast descending into farce

5 December 2015: SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng is back at work, barely a month after taking a leave of absence to await the outcome of his disciplinary hearing.

The SABC cancels his disciplinary hearing

6 December 2015: The Sunday Times front page lead is that Faith Muthambi is seeking to introduce legislation which will give the ANC sole power to elect members of the SABC board.

Minister in shock move to ‘hijack’ SABC

Muthambi wants state to have total control of broadcaster

CONTROVERSIAL Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has launched an audacious bid to take command of the SABC in a move that would put the public broadcaster under direct state control.

With cabinet backing, Muthambi, who is known to be very close to President Jacob Zuma, has introduced legislation that would give her the sole power to appoint the SABC board.

The Broadcasting Amendment Bill, tabled on Friday, would wipe out the carefully crafted consensus reached after 1994 to turn the institution, once notorious as a mouthpiece of the apartheid government, into a public broadcaster.

In effect, Muthambi is pushing to turn the SABC into a state broadcaster, usurping the power of parliament to have a say over who sits on the board.

As matters stand, members of the National Assembly interview candidates for the board and recommend names to the president.

But the bill proposes that: “The role of the National Assembly with regard to the appointment of nonexecutive members of the board is replaced by the minister.”

It also allows for a “nomination committee” to be set up by Muthambi to recommend candidates.

“In appointing the members of the committee, the minister must ensure that the committee is broadly representative . . . and have the necessary skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience to serve on the committee,” says the bill.

If the bill is passed, it will reduce the number of nonexecutive board members from 12 to nine. It also proposes that the number of board members required to obtain a quorum be reduced from nine to seven.

Muthambi is already unpopular within the ANC, with some leaders becoming increasingly impatient with her behaviour and her apparent disregard for the party’s sub-committee on communication.

Party sources said this week that she would meet ANC opposition on the bill.

The Save Our SABC, or SOS, coalition has threatened to go as far as the Constitutional Court to challenge the proposed amendments, SOS co-ordinator Sekoetlane Phamodi said, adding that giving the minister full control over the SABC was contrary to what was envisaged in the current Broadcasting Act.

“The SABC will shift from a public broadcaster to a state broadcaster if this bill is passed . . . and it is quite possible it will be passed as is.

“The public broadcaster needs to be distinguished from the state and the government of the day. It needs to be independent of government and the executive. This was in the preliminary constitution and it was agreed to when the Broadcasting Act was passed,” said Phamodi.

Franz Kruger, who was part of the first post-apartheid management team of the SABC, said the amendment bill was a real problem.

“We have fought long and hard so that we are where we have public broadcasting. This takes us back to a situation where the SABC would be a state broadcaster,” he said. Earlier this year, Muthambi amended the SABC’s memorandum of incorporation to give herself the power to appoint its chief executive, chief operations and financial officers. She also increased her powers to approve all the board’s business and strategic plans.

Since her appointment, Muthambi has stumbled from crisis to crisis — most notably those arising from the questionable appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer.

The High Court in Cape Town declared the appointment “unlawful and irrational”. Her appointment of Motsoeneng angered Luthuli House, too, and was publicly slammed by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

But she has continued to take unpopular decisions — leading observers to conclude that she has Zuma’s protection.

The SABC board has been dysfunctional since the departure of six board members.

Professor Bongani Khumalo, Thembinkosi Bonakele and Ellen Tshabalala resigned from the board, with the latter doing so under a cloud after her claimed qualifications were brought into question.

Muthambi removed Hope Zinde, Rachel Kalidass and Ronnie Lubisi — a decision widely regarded as irregular.

The Sunday Times reported last week that some of the remaining board members were furious about Muthambi’s constant interference in the broadcaster’s operational matters.

She is also accused of appointing television head of news Jimi Matthews as acting CEO without consulting the board.

Muthambi’s bill is likely to face resistance from parliamentarians, with the DA vowing to oppose it.

The party’s communications spokeswoman, Phumzile van Damme, said the amendments would pave the way for the SABC to become an ANC propaganda tool, directed by Muthambi.

“The amendments would see the last vestige of independence removed from the SABC. The DA will use all available mechanisms to prevent the bill from passing. We encourage civil society and the public to express their opposition to this bill,” said Van Damme.

Communications Portfolio Committee chairwoman Joyce Moloi-Moropa said she could only comment after she had discussed the proposed amendments with other members of the committee when parliament resumes next year.

A member of the ANC’s subcommittee on communications told the Sunday Times that Muthambi had defied the party once again in pushing through the new amendment.

“We don’t all agree on this . . . there is going to be a fight,” said the source.

The bill has already been approved by the cabinet, with Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announcing the submission of the bill to parliament in what he said was an effort to “implement a stable corporate governance model that ensures long-term stability and sustainability of the SABC”.

9 December 2015: Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing turns into a farce as the media is excluded.

9 December 2015: Kate Skinner of SOS and Prof Tawana Kupe says the recently-tabled 2015 Broadcasting Amendment Bill takes the SABC back to apartheid days.

12 December 2015: An SABC disciplinary hearing clears Hlaudi Motsoeneng of all charges. There is applause when the result of the rigged hearing is announced.

Motsoeneng then responds:

"I am still the COO of the SABC and I know that people want to ‘outset’ (sic) me and I know their motives.

"Some are business, some are political, some are to influence which people should be appointed within the organisation. I have been rejecting that because I am an independent person. I can't be influenced by an outsider.

"No one but God can stop me. I'm an intellectual strategist. No one can take that away from me except God. No one can stop me to go up and up because I have brain in me. I am a visionary. I am a born leader."

20 December 2015: In a Sunday Independent article Don Makatile says the disciplinary hearing for SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng was a comedy of errors that culminated in a farce.