SABC acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng will act on public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report as soon his employers decide on his fate, his lawyer said on Thursday.
“We will wait for the SABC board and communications minister [Yunus Carrim] to make a decision on the report, and we will act if their decision has a bearing on my client,” Zola Majavu told reporters in Johannesburg.
“We are going to confront this head on in a responsible manner and within the ambit of the law. We will go all the way to the constitutional court if possible to defend my client’s integrity.”
The SABC said it was awaiting legal advice on the report, he said.
On Monday, Madonsela released the report and found Motsoeneng’s appointment was irregular, as was his salary progression. She found his salary increased from R1,5m to R2,4m in one year.
Motsoeneng rapidly increased the salaries of various staff members, resulting in the broadcaster footing an unprecedented salary bill escalation of R29m, Madonsela found.
According to her report, Motsoeneng committed fraud by stating in his application form that he completed matric at Metsimantsho High School in QwaQwa. Majavu said Madonsela’s report was “not gospel” and it was unfair to label him a fraud and say he did not have matric.
“Now that the report is out, people rush to police to lay charges against my client as if the public protector’s report is gospel… It is their right to open a case but they should also respect my client’s rights.”
On Wednesday, a group of opposition parties said they would lay criminal charges against Motsoeneng for misrepresenting his qualifications to the SABC when applying for employment.
The Collective for Democracy comprises the Pan Africanist Congress, the Freedom Front Plus, the African Christian Democratic Party, the Congress of the People and the United Christian Democratic Party.
Majavu said Motsoeneng never claimed to have a matric certificate when he was employed by the public broadcaster 19 years ago. “He was head-hunted by Lesedi FM in the Free State and did not respond to an advert … and he was clear about his record.”
Three different SABC boards and three CEOs never asked for a matric certificate from him, he said.
Through the years, Motsoeneng attained certificates, which included a National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level five, which was better than matric, he said. “You will find that the NQF level five is higher than matric,” Majavu said.
In her report, Madonsela said Motsoeneng would never have been appointed in 1995 had he not lied about his qualifications.
Madonsela said it was worrying that Motsoeneng’s file had “disappeared” at the SABC amid his denial of falsifying his qualifications.
“At one point he used the absence of evidence to support his contention that there was no evidence of his alleged fraudulent misrepresentation,” she said.
“The circumstantial evidence points to a motive on his part, although incontrovertible evidence to allow a definite conclusion that he did in fact cause the disappearance of his employment records, particularly his application forms and CV, could not be found.” — Sapa