Controversial former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng was swamped by ANC supporters who hugged him and shook his hand when he arrived at parliament on Wednesday.
As soon he got out of his car, supporters rushed towards him singing. Smiling a little nervously, he allowed himself to be swept up by the crowd towards the entrance.
“I am feeling good. I always feel good,” was his reply to a quick question about the day ahead as he disappeared past the police cordon into the precinct.
Protesters were spoilt for choice in pickets for and against Motsoeneng outside parliament on Wednesday morning
Strains of the anthemic “uSolomon” rang out on one side near the visitor’s entrance from picketers in ANC t-shirts from a Khayelitsha branch.
“We are saying that Hlaudi is going nowhere,” said Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement leader Andile Lili at the ANC picket.
On the other side under the statue of General Louis Botha, Right to Know picketed for Hlaudi to go.
“Today the SABC board is coming to parliament,” explained R2K communicator Busi Mtabane. “We feel that the board must be dissolved and a new board formed in an open and transparent manner. We are also calling for the firing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.”
Their numbers were kept low to avoid getting a permit for the picket.
Ses’khona on the other hand had police reaching for their two-way radios when they could not produce a permit.
“It is illegal. This gathering is illegal,” a police officer said hurriedly into his radio.
This was after Lili explained that their permit was supposed to have been for Tuesday but was postponed to Wednesday. He did not have the paperwork, however, and a commander who has become a familiar face at protests at parliament stood at a distance to assess the situation.
And in the middle of it all was a large group of dressed-up Tshwane University of Technology students waiting in stilettos and hats for a tour of parliament they came all the way from Pretoria for.
They took selfies and watched the singing as they started making their way inside.
MPs will hear the reasons behind and the processes followed in reappointing Motsoeneng as group executive for corporate affairs.
This followed the supreme court of appeal rejecting his bid to appeal a November 2015 Western Cape high court ruling declaring his appointment as chief operating officer irrational and setting it aside.
ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu said last week that the current board would likely be dissolved because of its decision to reappoint Motsoeneng in an executive post.