NATIONAL NEWS - 'We did nothing wrong,” Hlaudi Motsoeneng, former chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC said of a report detailing how he and several others abused their power over journalists and the newsroom at the the state broadcaster.
He was referring to himself, as well as former communications minister Faith Muthambi, who was found to have abused her power as minister to influence editorial decisions by intimidating journalists and insisting on being followed by them while conducting ANC campaign work.
“You can’t just be given instructions by someone you don’t report to,” said Motsoeneng of the findings against Muthambi. “If people acted on wrong instructions then they are the ones who took those decisions.”
Defending himself, Motsoeneng said he stood by all decisions he took during his reign.
“Dating back to the time I was there these issues are not new. I stand by my decisions that I took at the time and there was nothing wrong. We did nothing wrong. It is all public knowledge,” he said. “I think what is more important is that they are now hiding behind unlawful decisions and using this report as a distraction.”
He was referring to the current stand-off between the SABC and sports broadcaster SuperSport, which has led to a blackout on key soccer events.
He claimed the report should not be taken seriously.
This week, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen said he would write to Speaker Thandi Modise to request that the findings of the report be referred to parliament’s ethics committee. He also intended opening a criminal case against Muthambi.
While the ANC remains mum on whether the parliamentarian could face any disciplinary action, tripartite alliance partner and union federation Cosatu have called upon the ANC to act against Muthambi.
“We welcome the fact that management and the board have begun implementing the recommendations and taking on some of those accused of wrongdoing,” Matthew Parks, the union’s parliamentary coordinator said.
“But with Muthambi it’s clear that the ANC and parliament should be taking action against what was clearly an abuse of power as a minister and as a representative of the shareholders of the SABC.
“We call upon the ANC to institute a disciplinary process for what she is said to have done as a minister and having allegedly misled parliament.
“If the ANC does not take action it will be seen as weak in terms of taking action against those within the party who have been found wanting,” Parks said.