Lesedi FM news producer fired at hearing he boycotted

Mpikeleni Duma

Mpikeleni Duma

Hlauli Motsoeneng, SABC's executive news producer for current affairs at Lesedi FM in the Free State, has been dismissed after a disciplinary hearing.

Motsoeneng said yesterday that he had received correspondence from the SABC's human resources department informing him of the decision.

Motsoeneng and James Barkhuizen, SABC's Free State and Northern Cape regional editor, were suspended indefinitely in June after allegations of mismanagement and after problems in the news office were reported to the top management.

Motsoeneng said: "It is too early to say it is over between me and the SABC as I still have a chance to appeal against their decision and even approach the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for recourse. I am told that I was fired last Thursday."

Motsoeneng allegedly approached the CCMA earlier, but was told the hearing had to first take place.

Kaizer Kganyago, SABC spokesman, confirmed Motsoeneng's dismissal, but refused to elaborate.

Insiders at the SABC said Motsoeneng was fired in absentia after he allegedly boycotted an SABC disciplinary hearing.

They said the SABC went ahead with the charges and called witnesses to testify against Motsoeneng.

Sources said Barkhuizen pleaded with the management not to fire him because he was prepared to work anywhere, irrespective of his position.

A person who answered the phone on behalf of Barkhuizen said: "He cannot say anything as his case is still proceeding. He might say something after the case is finished and it would depend on the circumstances."

Motsoeneng, a former stringer for Radio Sesotho, was appointed senior executive producer ahead of seasoned producers in the office. This led to senior journalists at the SABC in Bloemfontein to ask questions.

The Media Workers Association of South Africa also protested his appointment.

People in government circles have attributed the rise of Motsoeneng to his then association with the powerful ANC leader in the province, Pat Matosa.