Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: ALON SKUY
Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: ALON SKUY

Another clown has bitten the dust. Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s sacking this week as the chief operating officer of the SABC is a sign that all may not be lost in the tragicomedy that has defined SA’s political economy in recent years.

In many corporate upheavals, something is lost, as well as gained, when someone is shown the door. In the case of Motsoeneng, there’s no discernible downside to the finding of an SABC disciplinary hearing, which decided this week he had been guilty of misconduct.

Motsoeneng has campaigned against a free press, a core tenet of the constitution, and sought to act as a de facto propaganda chief, issuing diktats to censor the news of images harmful to the ruling party, such as service delivery protests.

During his tenure the SABC budget ballooned out of control as he dished out extravagant salaries to ensure loyalty and unilaterally imposed new policies, such as the 90% local content rule. The result: internal budgets show the SABC expects to make a R1.1bn loss for 2018.

But perhaps the most positive aspect of Motsoeneng’s departure is that until now, as a consigliere to President Jacob Zuma, he was seen as untouchable.

That myth has now been bust — testament to Zuma’s diminished political capital, and a sign that the president’s shadow state may be unravelling.

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