Mabaso: Muthambi gave Motsoeneng ‘enormous powers’

Former SABC executive Jabulani Mabaso says the changes to the memorandum shifted power over disciplining staff away from the board.

FILE: The SABC's Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) inquiry has heard that the memorandum of incorporation that was controversially amended by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi gave Hlaudi Motsoeneng enormous powers.

Former group executive in charge of human resources Jabulani Mabaso says it was a “game-changer” in terms of power-relations at the public broadcaster.

Mabaso has been testifying at the parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of the SABC board to hold office.

Earlier Mandiwe Nkosi, former general manager of labour relations, told the inquiry that state security agents were called in to investigate another top executive suspected of leaking information to the media about the SABC’s finances.

Minister Muthambi’s contested changes to the SABC’s memorandum of incorporation made her the “sole shareholder of the state” and delegated power to Motsoeneng.

Mabaso said: “For us it was going to be a game-changer, around the issues of disciplining and around the issues of power.”

He says the changes to the memorandum shifted power over disciplining staff away from the board.

“So purging was very easy now, when it goes down to that level.”

Mabaso says people were axed or sidelined for failing to toe Motsoeneng’s line and not because they were not doing their jobs properly, creating a climate of fear in the public broadcaster.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)