Special Investigating Unit delivers R21m blow to Hlaudi Motsoeneng
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has issued former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng with summonses amounting to R21m.
Updating Parliament’s communications portfolio committee, SIU head Lekhoa Mothibi said summonses were issued earlier in February.
The summonses issued were to recover the R11m bonus Motsoeneng received in 2016 for “successfully” negotiating the controversial R533m deal with MultiChoice.
The SIU also wanted to recover R10.7m in damages from the former SABC executive related to irregular appointments and dismissals of staff on his watch.
The R533m deal, signed in 2013, gave MultiChoice access to the SABC’s entire archive.
In terms of the deal, the SABC agreed to supply two new channels to MultiChoice — a 24-hour news channel and an entertainment channel called SABC Encore.
A condition of the deal was that the SABC support MultiChoice’s proposal for the set-top boxes to be introduced as part of the government’s digital migration programme should be encryption-free.
Free-to-air service provider eSat TV wants set-top boxes encoded to fight MultiChoice’s monopoly on pay television.
A report by Parliament’s ad-hoc committee on the SABC recommended probes into and possibly invalidation of the public broadcaster’s deals with, among others, MultiChoice and ANN7, the TV station previously owned by the Guptas.
In 2017, President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation mandating the SIU to investigate the “questionable contracts” at the SABC.
Mothibi said investigations of various alleged irregularities were continuing in a phased manner, given the volume of matters to be investigated.
In terms of the MultiChoice deal, the SIU would investigate the legality of the agreement and subsequent amendments to it, including whether any provisions were contravened or not complied with; the roles played by individuals involved in the process and whether any of them benefited unduly; whether the agreement was viable and/or in the best interests of the SABC; and whether the SABC had in fact received all payments due to it.
DA MP and communications spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said individuals who looted public institutions should not be allowed to resign or be dismissed with no further action.
“Motsoeneng is, however, not the only person implicated in the SABC ad-hoc inquiry report,” she said.
“Compromised individuals such as [former acting CEO and chief financial officer] James Aguma and especially Minister Faith Muthambi [the former communications minister] must also be prosecuted for any wrongdoing.”