CWU calls for protector to resign after Motsoeneng report

Public protector Thuli Madonsela found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment was irregular, as were the three salary increases he received in one year. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Public protector Thuli Madonsela found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointment was irregular, as were the three salary increases he received in one year. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) has called for the resignation of the public protector, following her damning report regarding acting SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The union on Tuesday promised to organise "massive" marches across the country to call for Madonsela's immediate dismissal from her office.

The union and controversial Bara TV founder, "Dr Love" Mveleli Gqwede, calling itself the Hlaudi Motsoeneng Coalition, called a press conference on Tuesday in an effort to defend Motsoeneng. The union said its interest in the matter were twofold – firstly, Motsoeneng is a CWU member, and secondly, it feels Madonsela's report is the latest in a series of reports "which seek to undermine the working class". Motsoeneng was not present on Tuesday, although his office confirmed he was aware of the briefing.

Madonsela found that Motsoeneng's appointment was irregular, as were the three salary increases he received in one year. She also found he had systematically purged dissenting staff members at the SABC and recommended that the board take action against him.

The SABC board said it was studying Madonsela's report. On Friday, the Mail & Guardian reported that the board's chairperson, Ellen Tshabalala, did not want Motsoeneng to go.

CWU provincial secretary in KwaZulu-Natal, Thami Mzileni, told the media that the union's real concern was with Madonsela and not with her office. He accused Madonsela of "subjective" investigations that trumpeted the Democratic Alliance's (DA) sentiments on issues.

"We just want justice in the interests of the working class. This is not about Hlaudi as an individual. This is about the extreme abuse of power to deliver a certain agenda," said Mzileni.

He accused Madonsela of being a mouthpiece for the DA.

"It is Madonsela who is discrediting her office. We have never said we have no confidence in her office. Madonsela is bringing down the office [of the public protector] and the trust that the community has to report matters.

"It is clear that her investigations are subjective. She must prove what I'm saying is wrong. Her views are Helen Zille's views – the views of the white monopoly capital who ensure they maximise profits at our expense."

He denied that the union was politicising the issue. "There's no politics in saying her office must be neutral," said Mzileni.

"I am implying that – go and check the DA’s reports around the SABC and look at public protector's recommendations."

He added that the CWU rejected the report because "it doesn't mean Hlaudi is wrong".

"The public protector speaks as if she is the voice of the voiceless and whatever she says, goes. But her office doesn't have power over anybody. She makes recommendations," said Mzileni.

'Action plan'
The coalition said it would announce an "action plan" soon, which would involve plans to hold mass marches calling for Madonsela's resignation.

"We are meeting constantly with our brothers and sisters, cousins and relatives who speak with one voice. We are planning action and full details will be released.

"For now, we will organise massive marches against her. Rest assured, this is the year for her to vacate office. It's just a question of which month. This year we will also prepare a farewell party for her."

Madonsela's office was not immediately available for comment.

Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans

Sarah Evans is a Mail & Guardian news reporter.She's a recovering musician who became a journalist while interning for the Diamond Fields Advertiser in Kimberley.She spent three years reporting there before completing an internship at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane).Her areas of interest include crime, law, governance, and the nexus between business and politics.Her areas of disinterest include skyscrapers. Read more from Sarah Evans


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