'Motsoeneng must account for lying to Parliament'

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday requested that SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng be summoned to appear before the Communications Portfolio Committee for lying to Parliament about the SABC’s finances.

“The problem for Motsoeneng is that lying to Parliament constitutes fraud and‚ as such‚ is a criminal offence‚” Gavin Davis‚ DA shadow minister of communications‚ said.

The SABC annual report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday indicated that the SABC had suffered a R395-million loss in the 2014/15 financial year.

“This contradicts Motsoeneng’s statement before the Communications Portfolio Committee on 22 April 2015. He said‚ ‘The SABC‚ financially‚ we are sustainable.’

“(Communications) Minister (Faith) Muthambi agreed. ‘The SABC is on a sound financial footing‚’ the minister of communications told the committee.

“Significantly‚ neither Muthambi nor Motsoeneng mentioned the SABC’s projected loss for this financial year. This was despite the existence of internal SABC financial documents dated March 2015 (later exposed by the Sunday Times) that indicated the SABC was due to make a massive loss.

“The loss of R395-million in the 2014/15 financial year‚ compares with the R358-million the SABC recorded as profit in the previous financial year.

“This means that‚ under Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s watch‚ the SABC’s finances have taken a R753-million nose-dive.

“Yet‚ in the same period‚ Motsoeneng received a R916‚000 pay rise to R3.7-million. No wonder Motsoeneng was so keen to paint a rosy picture of the SABC’s finances before Parliament – he needed to lie to justify his multi-million rand pay cheque‚” Davis said.

“The problem for Motsoeneng is that lying to Parliament constitutes fraud and‚ as such‚ is a criminal offence.

“According to Section 17 of the Powers‚ Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act of 2004: ‘A person who willfully furnishes a House or committee with information‚ or makes a statement before it‚ which is false or misleading‚ commits an offence and is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years…’

“I have today (Thursday) written to the chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee‚ Joyce Moloi-Moropa‚ to request that Hlaudi Motsoeneng be summoned to account for misleading Parliament.

“In the meantime‚ I have also written to the Public Protector to request an investigation into Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s salary increase‚ as revealed in the SABC’s annual report yesterday.

“The fact is that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is being handsomely rewarded while the SABC lurches from one crisis to the next.

“Motsoeneng must be held to account for his exorbitant salary increases‚ the SABC’s financial losses under his watch‚ and the lies that he has told in Parliament‚” Davis said.




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