Motsoeneng ‘headhunted’ by the SABC

The SABC COO is embroiled in a legal battle with the DA which has accused him of abusing his position.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The lawyer representing South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng says his client was headhunted by the public broadcaster.

Motsoeneng is embroiled in a legal battle with the Democratic Alliance (DA), which has accused him of abusing his position.

Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi permanently appointed Motsoeneng in July despite Public Protector Thuli Madonsela releasing a damning report against him in February.

Madonsela recommended a new COO be appointed within 90 days.

The party says Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications when he started working at the SABC in 1995.

But Motsoeneng's advocate, Norman Arendse, says his client never applied for a job at the SABC. He maintains Motsoeneng was headhunted before being offered a position at Lesedi FM in 1995.

Arendse further defended the now SABC COO, telling the Western Cape High Court that Motsoeneng not having a matric certificate was not an issue at the time.

Motsoeneng did a Radio Journalism course when he started at the SABC before obtaining a certificate in general management.

Arendse maintained Motsoeneng did not misrepresent his qualifications and called the claims made by the DA defamatory.

Earlier on, the DA said it wants Motsoeneng removed pending a full investigation into his appointment.

The party's advocate Anton Katz lambasted Motsoeneng's permanent appointment, saying it was made without any other candidates being short-listed or interviews recorded.

Katz earlier described Motsoeneng as a toxic element.

The DA quoted from Madonsela's report which stated that Motsoeneng committed fraud by lying about his matric qualification.

Her investigation also showed that Motsoeneng received three appraisals which increased his salary from R1.5 million to R2.4 million a year.

But the Ses'Khona People's Rights Movement says they don't care whether Motsoeneng has a matric or not as he's been with the public broadcaster since 1995.

Arendse however, said the case is nothing more than an opportunity by the DA to humiliate and embarrass his client.

Meanwhile, dozens of protesters, mostly from the Ses'Khona People's Rights Movement, demonstrated outside the Western Cape High Court earlier today holding placards that read, "Hands off our Hlaudi".

Pictures by Siyabonga Sesant