SABC: From Snuki to Hlaudi

It is almost amusing to look back now and remember how, decades ago, concerns were raised about the way Snuki Zikalala attempted to control how the news was presented on the national broadcaster. Jokes were made about his Bulgarian doctorate and his role as the ruling party's commissar at the SABC.

Compared with the catastrophes visited upon the corporation since then, the Zikalala regime seems halfway benign, but his name has become a byword for attempted state control of the news – a process that continues, and continues to destroy both the SABC's credibility as a news provider and its future as a commercially sound operation.

The new Zikalala is Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and his tenure as the SABC's acting chief operating officer has become a bad parody of the kind of transformation everyone wants to see take place there. The SABC board has had so many resignations and returns over the past few years that it is beginning to look like a very dour version of a bedroom farce. Round and round they go, and round and round the SABC goes, consuming itself; soon there will be nothing left for the state to bail out with more taxpayers' billions.

As we report, the board's chair has defended Motsoeneng against the public protector's devastating report, which confirms that he falsified his qualifications (he doesn't even have a Bulgarian matric). These are mere "historic[al] matters", says the chairperson, arguing Motsoeneng should stay on because he has done so much good at the SABC. She is presumably not worried that he nearly doubled his own salary within a year, so that the taxpayer is now giving him R2.4-million a year to help to destroy the national broadcaster. Isn't that a little too much? Dali Mpofu did it for a mere million or so, didn't he?

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