Tue Sep 16 19:29:37 SAST 2014

One year, three bizarre promotions

Apr 8, 2012 | Mduduzi Dlamini |

IN one of the most bizarre fashions and despite his lack of academic qualifications to run a complex organisation like the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng was promoted three times in one financial year!

'HELPER': Robin Nicholson seems to be one of the people responsible for Motsoeneng's meteoric rise. Picture by Elizabeth Sejake

SABC executives who were responsible for his meteoric rise to executive positions at Auckland Park are many, but fingers point at the departed group CEO Solly Mokoetle and later at the then acting CEO, Robin Nicholson.

Sunday World has traced Motsoeneng's meteoric rise to back in 2009 when he was appointed executive producer of Lesedi FM Current Affairs.

In 2010 he became acting regional editor in the Free State.

In June 2010 he became GM in the office of the CEO (Mokoetle).

In November 2011 he was appointed acting COO, which catapulted him into the No2 position at the SABC.

In February 2012 a dubious attempt was made to appoint him permanently to the job when it was advertised internally for three days only. Curiously, the ad stated that matric was not a requirement for the position.

After ascending to the COO position, Motsoeneng is alleged to have ordered human resources to pay him the salary of a fully-fledged COO at R1,7m a year.

This flouts SABC policy, which stipulates that acting personnel be paid R5000 a month over and above their regular salaries.

In a letter marked "confidential" to SABC board chairman Dr Ben Ngubane on January 19 last year, Ron Morobe said: "I'm also concerned by the new contract offered to Motsoeneng without following human resource processes as laid down in the recruitment policy and delegation of authority framework.

"Motsoeneng was appointed executive manager by the suspended group CEO Mokoetle without following due process.

"This matter was raised as a concern by the chairman of the turnaround committee. I was surprised to also receive a new contract effective from November 1 2011 with an increased salary," wrote Morobe.

"What is this gentleman being rewarded for? Surprisingly, the note from Nicholson claims this contract has also been approved by the SABC board."

Before he was brought to SABC in-house, Motsoeneng had been a Qwa Qwa stringer between 1993 and 1994 and he is said to have been deeply embedded with the former Bantustan Dikwankwentla Party. He chiefly covered its president's itinerary for Lesedi FM, which was then known as Radio Sesotho.

"Given his background, we are now surprised to learn that he has charmed his way to President [Jacob] Zuma. He also claimed to have been close to former President [Thabo] Mbeki," says a source who wanted to remain anonymous.

Our informer is one of the 14 former and current SABC staffers who have lodged a formal complaint with the public protector after the failure of various institutional bodies to heed their complaints.

Motsoeneng lists proudly in his CV the "special recognition certificate" from the now defunct University of QwaQwa, which he claims was presented by Mbeki.

"What does South Africa owe this guy? So much that even the minister and the board must turn a blind eye to processes and procedures?" asked a SABC senior executive this week.

The executive said he was surprised that Motsoeneng had been left to continue in his current role and to make major decisions, despite controversy about him.

"They are guilty of complicity," he said.

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