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'Matric does not define me' - Hlaudi Motsoeneng

Hlaudi Motsoeneng is challenging his dismissal from the SABC at the CCMA.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng is challenging his dismissal from the SABC at the CCMA.
Image: Ruvan Boshoff

Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has defended his lack of a matriculation qualification‚ questioning why an SABC board member referred to him as a "matric dropout".

Motsoeneng was being cross-examined by the SABC at the Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Friday where he is challenging his dismissal from the public broadcaster.

Motsoeneng was dismissed in June 2017 after being found guilty of bringing the SABC into disrepute when he held a press conference.

Motsoeneng‚ during cross examination on Friday‚ took issue with a statement made by former SABC board member Krish Naidoo on December 9‚ 2016 when‚ accusing Motsoeneng of squatting at the broadcaster‚ said he could not understand how so many professionals were are afraid of a "high school dropout".

Motsoeneng told the commission that Naidoo knew very well that after 1994 the government recognised that experience counted as part of a person's qualifications.

"If you advertise for a post‚ you say a diploma or equivalent experience. I have achieved a lot in my life without matric. Matric does not define me‚" Motsoeneng said.

Motsoeneng said that Naidoo had even approved the SABC's annual report which contained his qualifications. "How can I then be a dropout‚" he asked.

During his testimony earlier this week‚ Naidoo said he was considering suing Motsoeneng for defamation for referring to him as a sell-out.

Motsoeneng said the meaning of the word "sell-out" did not have the meaning it had in the past.

"Mr Motsoeneng called me a sell-out when he did a public address in April last year‚ and in political terms a sell-out has a very particular connotation.

"It means that someone sold out‚ can't be trusted and you're a traitor‚ so I have been contemplating over the last few months whether I shouldn't sue him for this‚" Naidoo told the commission on Tuesday.

On Friday‚ Motsoeneng explained that a "sell-out" in the present context meant a person with whom you had agreed with on something at a meeting‚ who then went out and said something different in public.

Although Motsoeneng did not want to answer the question of whether the sanction of dismissal recommended by the chairman of his disciplinary hearing was unfair‚ he said the SABC knew that he had performed his duties.

"People who know what I stand for want me back at the SABC to continue with transformation‚" said Motsoeneng.

Explaining how qualified he was‚ Motsoeneng said even board members had asked him to train executive committee members. Nowhere‚ he added‚ did the Broadcasting Act talk about qualifications.

"Talent is recognised at SABC. You can have your qualifications‚ but if you can't sing you can't sing‚" Motsoeneng said.

Motsoeneng said most people at the SABC did not have qualifications: "They are the ones who attract more audience. We should accept that talent is talent."

The matter will continue on August 7 when lawyers for Motsoeneng and the SABC will present closing arguments.

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