Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

THE Broadcasting, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (Bemawu) has vowed to challenge any decision to keep Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC as the board of the public broadcaster scrambles to keep him in his position.

A highly placed source at the SABC on Thursday said chairman Obert Maguvhe was leading the campaign to keep Motsoeneng at the SABC. "Most of the board members seem intent to do everything within their power to retain Hlaudi in whatever senior position.

"Even if it’s not CEO, Maguvhe and others want him at the SABC … They are prepared to create a post for him," the source said.

Business Day is in possession of a copy of a memo from group company secretary Theresa Geldenhuys to board members proposing that Motsoeneng be appointed acting chief operating officer until December 2016.

Maguvhe refused to comment on Thursday and hung up the phone.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago would not comment on the issues surrounding Motsoeneng until he had received instructions from the board.

"My hands are very much tied … This is a board matter," he said.

Motsoeneng’s lawyer, Zola Majavu, reportedly sent a letter to the SABC board demanding an explanation about his client’s role at the state broadcaster.

Motsoeneng was suffering from emotional stress, Majavu wrote in the letter.

According to the source with knowledge of the SABC board deliberations, Motsoeneng could land himself a "cushy job" at the broadcaster if the board members had their way.

Motsoeneng is effectively without a job after the Supreme Court of Appeal earlier this week dismissed his application for leave to appeal a ruling by the High Court in Cape Town, which set aside his permanent appointment.

Bemawu president Hannes du Buisson said on Thursday that Motsoeneng was not eligible for any acting position at the SABC because he was no longer an employee. The union would consider approaching the courts should Motsoeneng be appointed in any capacity.

"Any acting position should be occupied by an SABC employee … and should he be appointed to any new post, that post has to be advertised … we are seeking legal advice on the matter," Du Buisson said.

Bemawu claims to represent more than 1,000 workers at the public broadcaster.

Motsoeneng’s troubles stem from the public protector’s report, When Governance and Ethics Fail, which found he fabricated his matric qualification and increased his salary irregularly, from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year.

James Selfe, chairman of the DA’s federal executive, said on Thursday that his party had written to the SABC to request the details of Motsoeneng’s employment status.

"Hlaudi Motsoeneng and the SABC must now comply with the judgment of the Western Cape High Court.

"Failure to do so will leave the DA with no other option but to pursue the matter further," Selfe said.

With Genevieve Quintal