There was drama inside and outside of Parliament yesterday as the portfolio committee on communications grilled the SABC on the reappointment of controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, defying a court ruling.
Pro and anti-Hlaudi groups clashed outside; inside two SABC board members resigned before MPs in Parly, and called for the dissolution of the board which defended the reappointment Motsoeneng.
The Ses’Khona’s People’s Movement and Friends of Hlaudi came to support the man who they believe is being victimised.
Protesters wore ANC T-shirts and carried placards, with one reading: “Hlaudi is simply the best”.
Ses’Khona’s Andile Lili said: “Hlaudi is being victimised by the ANC on the basis of their dismal loss of the local elections. They want to dismiss Hlaudi to regain supporters and followers. It is unfair to sacrifice Hlaudi.”
Members of COPE (Congress of the People) said Hlaudi should be fired.
A scuffle broke out between the two camps when COPE member Nompumelelo Guza walked up with a placard reading: “The SABC is not a Spaza Shop”.
Guza said: “We don’t like Hlaudi. We all need to listen to others, he must not try to be higher than the rule of law.”
Earlier, board member Krish Naidoo said he was embarrassed to be associated with the SABC: “I have come to the conclusion that this board is dysfunctional. It should be scrapped and personally I would be resigning today as a board member.”
Naidoo has been vocal about voting against the move to reinstate Motsoeneng after the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) refused the SABC leave to appeal a high court ruling that the former chief operating officer was illegally appointed to his position.
“The point that the SCA decision had nothing to do with Motsoeneng as an employee, I mean that is absolute nonsense. Whoever gave the SABC that advice should be shot,” Naidoo said.
SABC board member Vusi Mavuso said, like Naidoo, he had been ostracised when key decisions were being made at board level.
He said the board was dysfunctional and he too would quit his job.
The SABC board said it was challenging the Public Protector’s adverse findings against Motsoeneng.
“At no time did any of the judgements state that Mr Motsoeneng had to be dismissed as an employee,” said acting SABC chairman Obert Maguvhe.
MPs resolved to ask SABC non-executive directors to resign, failing which they would institute a parliamentary inquiry into fitness of the board to hold office.