Alleged SABC fraudster 'was following orders'

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

SABC personality Thuso Motaung could be in the dock for doing what his bosses instructed him to do.

According to sworn statements in possession of Sowetan, station manager Pula Pula Mothibi and programme manager Mohlalefi Khoali fully supported Motaung and his co-presenters in punting a health product, Power Mix, on his Lesedi FM radio slot.

The hotshot presenter, Motaung, is being charged by the National Prosecuting Authority for defrauding the SABC of about R32million by punting the product.

Several Lesedi FM presenters say in their affidavits to a private investigator that they were instructed at several meetings and workshops by the SABC to punt Power Mix on air.

Key state witness Chomane Chomane admits in his affidavit the station manager had encouraged presenters to promote Power Mix "vigorously" because it would benefit the station.

Chomane said he also told listeners where and how they could buy the product.

"I admit these individuals sold Power Mix on behalf of my son and I," said Chomane.

"My son heard Power Mix being punted on air and asked me whether he could also make money for his studies by selling Power Mix," Chomane says.

He said he approached agents and negotiated with them to sell the product for his son. He received R5 for each packet sold by these agents.

"I also invited listeners to visit my house or my son, John, in Naledi in Soweto if they wanted to buy Power Mix."

Another presenter, Mosolodi Mohapi, told the investigator he first knew of the product when it was introduced at a staff meeting by Mothibi.

"At that meeting, Mothibi informed staff he had entered into a deal with JR Business Analysts to promote the product on radio and in return the radio would receive calendars," he said.

Mohapi stated there had been a separate schedule for Power Mix from the normal advertisement log sheet.

He said he never personally sold the product and had only bought it for personal consumption.

A probe by independent investigator Andre Bouwer raised questions about the procedure followed in a contract between Lesedi FM and the makers of the product.

According to the contract, there was no time limit agreed on in the promotion of the product on air. Lesedi FM was also to get R1 for each packet of Power Mix sold.