Zuma played no role in SABC appointment, says presidency

SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The presidency has denied any involvement on the part of President Jacob Zuma in Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment at the SABC, after media reports in recent days said Zuma may have had a hand in the SABC board’s controversial appointment of Motsoeneng to the permanent position of chief operating officer.

The media statement released by the presidency on Saturday afternoon said it had “noted with great concern, statements in the media, alleging the involvement of President Jacob Zuma in the appointment of the chief operating officer of the SABC.

“The president has no role to play in the appointment of SABC management or staff and did not play any role in the said appointment. Reports to the contrary are inaccurate and unfortunate.”

This week, reliable sources in government and the tripartite alliance told the Mail & Guardian that a minister who is a senior member of the South African Communist Party tried to raise the issue at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, only to be told that the matter was not on the agenda.

Cabinet apparently being told that Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment as chief operating officer was not up for discussion revealed the magnitude of his power and added to questions about links to the president.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi confirmed on Thursday that the matter was not discussed by Cabinet and was evasive when answering questions relating to the decision to appoint Motsoeneng on a permanent basis.

She said Motsoeneng had been cleared by a law firm hired by the SABC, which has sparked further indignation among the media and general public. 

Public protector Thuli Madonsela is launching a new investigation into Motsoeneng following his permanent appointment to the post, according to her spokesperson, Kgalalelo Masibi.

“The investigation will focus on the process followed in the appointment of Mr Motsoeneng, which is at odds with the SABC’s Articles of Association,” Masibi wrote in an email to the South African Press Association on Friday.


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