Hlaudi feels SABC was heavy-handed on Maroleng

Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Former SABC chief operating officer and now president of the African Content Movement (ACM) Hlaudi Motsoeneng says the SABC board may have erred in firing his successor Chris Maroleng.

Motsoeneng argued that the decision had left the SABC exposed with no clear direction. 

This, he said, was because none of the remaining two executives, CEO Madoda Mxakwe and CFO Yolande van Biljon, have broadcasting experience and don't have the know-how to take the SABC out of its current position.

Motsoeneng was responding to the decision by the SABC board to fire Maroleng following the findings of its disciplinary hearing over his alleged misdemeanours.

The ACM president, who was also fired by the SABC two years ago for bringing the broadcaster into disrepute, said the decision may not have been well thought-out despite the transgressions committed by Maroleng.

"If Chris did not follow policies, of course there should be consequences. But he was the only one who understands the SABC because he had broadcasting experience," said Motsoeneng.

He said though he had nothing against the new board, they will find it difficult to steer the SABC ship out of the choppy waters because only one of them had a clear understanding of the institution.

Motsoeneng had good things to say about the new deputy chairperson of the board Mamodupi Mohlala-Mulaudzi whom he said was the only one with the know-how and understanding of the broadcasting industry at board level.

"She knows the broadcasting industry very well from her time as the director-general of communications department. She is good," he said.

He warned the current board not to allow politics to influence their decisions as that would be a recipe for disaster.

"What the SABC needs is people with integrity; people who understand broadcasting and how to generate revenue. You can't run the SABC through books," he said.

The broadcaster-turned-politician boasted that it would take the SABC a long time to find a proper replacement for him after firing Maroleng.

"I'm the only one who lasted for more than five years in that position. Nobody has lasted more than a year except me. It's a critical position and it's more powerful than the position of group chief executive," he said.

Motsoeneng said the decision to fire Maroleng could have been informed by a power struggle between the two most senior SABC bosses.

"If you don't know what you are doing, you'll fight each other. I did not fight with my GCEOs because they knew that I was running the SABC. They allowed me to do my job," he said.

Motsoeneng advised the SABC board that when finding Maroleng's replacement, they should look internally instead of going outside to fill the COO position.

SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said: "The SABC will not take employment advice from someone who was himself dismissed by the SABC and has been deeply implicated in the collapse of the corporation, including the irregular appointment of executives, the unlawful payment of salary increases and bonuses and is currently under investigation for numerous breaches of governance.

"The SABC will ensure that our skilled leadership at all levels adhere to strict governance principles. The public broadcaster has the necessary skills and experience to steer the corporation to sustainability."

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