SABC’s financial standing under scrutiny

The public broadcaster’s annual report shows Motsoeneng received a salary increase of almost R1 million.

FILE: The SABC's Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Broadcasting Corporation's (SABC) financial standing has once again come under scrutiny after Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng defended his R3,7 million yearly salary by saying the public broadcaster is "doing well".

It was revealed this week that Motsoeneng has been given a salary hike of almost R1 million despite the Public Protector's finding last year that he should face a disciplinary action.

Yesterday, Motsoeneng said he's worth his salary and denied claims that taxpayer's money is being used to pay it.

But Media Monitoring Africa's William Bird says the public is right to questions his salary bump.

"There are court cases looming. One of the key issues that were raised in the Public Protector's report was the exponential increase that he received less than a year ago. And now we see another significant increase."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance' s Gavin Davis has accused Motsoeneng of lying to Parliament by saying the SABC is financially stable.

"The SABC's financials were stable. He neglected to mention that the SABC faced a R400 million loss which is now being revealed in the annual report. For this reason we would like him to come back and explain why he lied to Parliament."

The African National Congress (ANC) says any adjustment of salary has to be based on justifiable grounds like the rate of inflation.

The party's Zizi Kodwa said, "Our government has committed itself to tightening the belt including prudence within the public service broadly. Our failure to follow through with these commitments can only set a dangerous precedence that can't be sustained and justified."

Kodwa said the SABC board should not operate outside the framework of commitments provided by the National Treasury.

"It is our view that economic trends should dictate decisions including remuneration for public servants."

The ANC says its subcommittee on communication will meet with the board of the SABC to seek an explanation of the salary increase.

'I'M PAID ACCORDING TO SABC BENCHMARK'

Motsoeneng said he was being paid according to a benchmark set by the public broadcaster and that he had no hand in deciding how much that would be.

The public broadcaster's annual report shows Motsoeneng received R3,7 million, up from R2,8 million.

Last year, Thuli Madonsela found Motsoeneng's salary increased three times in the space of one year, he lied about his qualifications and there were claims of alleged abuse of power.

But he said just how much he was paid was not his decision to make.

"There is nowhere where Hlaudi can decide to pay himself. There are processes and policies within the organisation. Senior people in this case will decide, and in HR, how much the COO should be paid."

Motsoeneng said there are other senior managers in the public broadcaster receiving higher salaries than him and he should not be singled out for receiving what was due to him.

"I am not the only person who is being paid very well within the organisation, if that is what people believe. There are people who are getting more than Hlaudi, but people are not talking about such people within the organisation."

The SABC board defended the increase saying he was simply receiving the pay grade of a full-time COO as his position has now been finalised.

He said the SABC is doing well and senior managers are receiving salaries according to the benchmarks set by company policy.