‘We should probe why so many people are interested in SABC matters’

Hlaudi Motsoeneng says there should be a probe into why so many people are interested in SABC matters.

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

CAPE TOWN - South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng says there's no need for an inquiry into the public broadcaster.

A defiant Motsoeneng today told Members of Parliament (MPs) there should rather be an investigation into why so many people are interested in what is happening at the organisation.

Parliament's communications committee today decided against any inquiry into the SABC after hearing from Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, Motsoeneng and other board members.

During the meeting, a picture was painted of mainstream print and broadcast media working in cahoots with NGOs and opposition parties to take down the SABC because of its transformation agenda, with the help of some of its own employees "unethical conduct".

Motsoeneng said, "I want to tell honourable members… we as SABC, we're not apologetic on transformation of the organisation, we're not going to stop by the noise (sic)."

Motsoeneng told MPs an inquiry into the SABC was misplaced.

"Maybe the inquiry should be, why are these people having so much interest - maybe we should start with them and inquire about them (sic)."

The Democratic Alliance has accused African National Congress MPs of turning a blind eye to what it says is a "rapidly degenerating" state of affairs at the SABC.

At the same time, the COO says it's misleading to say that TV licence fees can be described as "taxpayers' money".

Motsoeneng has told opposition MPs he sees no need to account to them because the SABC has to operate without adequate funding from the government.

"And sometimes I ask myself why I should account to these people, when they don't give us money. Why should I account to you, when you don't contribute?"

Motsoeneng included not only MPs but also taxpayers in his question.

"[Having a] TV licence is like paying your electricity and water - so it can't be taxpayers' money. It is misleading to say when you pay your TV licence it is taxpayers' money."

He says the SABC's transformation agenda will continue.