SACP calls for immediate dismissal of SABC's 'dying horse', Hlaudi Motsoeneng
The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Western Cape on Wednesday, demanded the immediate dismissal of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
“We demand that [Motsoeneng] be dismissed from the SABC entirely,” said SACP deputy general-secretary Solly Mapaila.
This is one of the demands in the SACP’s memorandum which was handed over at the public broadcaster’s Sea Point office.
Mapaila addressed the picket of communist supporters, listing the party’s demands which included reversing the dismissal of the so-called #SABC8. The eight – Vuyo Mvoko (whose freelance contract was terminated)‚ Thandeka Gqubule‚ Busisiwe Ntuli, Lukhanyo Calata, Krivani Pillay‚ Jacques Steenkamp‚ Foeta Krige, and Suna Venter – were all fired on Monday and Tuesday, without a disciplinary hearing by the SABC.
In addition, the SACP called for the “immediate scrapping of the SABC’s illegally revised editorial policy” and said Motsoeneng should be removed as COO after “courts have said [he] was illegally, irrationally, and improperly appointed”.
The SACP’s castigation of the controversial SABC COO continued: “He is defiant because he doesn’t understand that he is wrong, he thinks that he is the so-called boss. The boss is the citizen, the boss is the Constitution.”
Mapaila added that Motsoeneng’s tenure was almost over, saying now, Motsoeneng was was doing all he could before he was out.
“He is just buying time,” said Mapaila. “These are the last kicks of a dying horse.”
He was however adamant that Motsoeneng be removed constitutionally, as it was this duty the COO had defied and contravened, along with orders made by two Chapter 9 institutions and the Western Cape High Court.
He called on the rest of the SABC’s staff to rally behind their eight dismissed colleagues, whom Mapaila referred to as having acted with courage and integrity. He said that if they did not, they risked facing the same fate.
Mapaila said that the labour-related process could not be allowed to begin with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) — as was recommended by the SABC in their dismissal letters.
“We know that SABC will further appeal the CCMA process to the Labour Court which can take a year or even up to three years. We cannot accept that.”
He called on trade unions, particularly the Communications Workers Union, to show support by calling for mass action against the public broadcaster’s management and board and to not “imply collusion by inaction”.
“The time has come to act decisively against the destruction of a national asset — the SABC — and the persecution of those inside it fighting to retain what little remains of its integrity,” said Mapaila.
The SABC board and the SACP’s alliance partner the African National Congress (ANC) were also brought into the communist fold.
“This board has effectively colluded with management to destroy the institution,” said Mapaila.
The board to which Mapaila referred is — according to the SABC website — comprised of 10 members: Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe, Leah Thabisile Khumalo, Vusi Mavuso, Nomvuyo Memory Mhlakaza, Krish Naidoo, Ndivhoniswani Aaron Tshidzumba, Theresa Geldenhuys (company secretary), Frans Matlala, James Aguma, and Motsoeneng.
“It’s now clear that they act in collusion with management,” said Mapaila.
While the SACP said they were pleased with the ANC openly condemning recent controversy at the SABC, Mapaila added that he thought “active solidarity” with the dismissed workers and those still employed was missing.
“They must match theory with practice. They must be with us here and going forward, they must call on members of the board, who the ANC majority in Parliament voted for, to reverse this decision,” he said.
Acting ANC chairperson in the Western Cape Khaya Magaxa was present and supporting at the protest. He commented: “The ANC is sick and tired with the undermining of the role of the workers here”.
Magaxa added that the ANC was concerned with the SABC’s undermining human rights fought for by the party such as freedom of speech.
“We are gatvol!” he said. – African News Agency (ANA)