SABC defends chief’s bonus, R1m pay hike despite annual loss topping R390m

The lunacy at Auckland Park’s version of Fawlty Towers, home to the national broadcaster, appears to have no limit. First the SABC’s chief operating officer lies about his qualifications (which do not include an entry level matriculation certificate). Then he engineers numerous nights of long knives dispatching many with scarce skills. He survives public censure from the Public Protector. And now despite well documented and very public criticism over his managerial deficiencies, this fellow – one Hlaudi Motsoeneng – receives a R1m a year pay hike to an already generous package of R3.7m, despite the broadcaster slumping to a R395m annual loss. The worthy’s considered response: It’s not a sin for a black man to earn a decent salary. Who needs ingenuity when you possess powerful friends? – Alec Hogg 

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by Naledi Shange, News24

Johannesburg – The ANC on Thursday issued a warning to the SABC to ensure that it paid all its executives according to the budget stipulated by the National Treasury.

“The SABC board should not operate outside the framework of commitments provided by the National Treasury. It is our view that economic trends should dictate decisions including remuneration for public servants,” said ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

This was after the public broadcaster revealed that its Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng had received a salary hike of almost a million rand since he was promoted from the acting position. Motsoeneng was now earning around R3.7m, including a bonus of R279 000 and R916 000 in expenses and allowances. Kodwa however, called for prudence in using public funds.

Read also: TV licences? SABC’s R43m on ‘Golden Handshakes’

“We believe that any adjustment of salary has to be based on justifiable grounds like the rate of inflation which is largely used by both the state and the private sector as a standard criteria,” he said. Kodwa said government had committed itself to using public funds sparingly and failure to follow through with these commitments set a dangerous precedence. The SABC, however, has come out in defence of Motsoeneng’s pay cheque. “We haven’t just decided to give him another million. It is within the SABC benchmark that the COO gets what he is getting at the moment,” SABC Mbulaheni Maguvhe said in an interview on broadcaster 702. “What you have to understand is that while he was acting [chief operating officer] he was receiving the salary of the GE [group executive], a percentage of acting [COO], not the salary of a COO so when he was appointed as the [permanent] COO that’s when he started receiving what he is getting at the moment.”

Call for Madonsela to investigate salary increase

Addressing journalists at the SABC’s offices in Johannesburg on Wednesday, Motsoeneng said it was not a sin for a black man to earn a decent salary, adding that the SABC was willing to pay any employee who added value to the company “Anyone who is able to generate revenue for the SABC should be rewarded accordingly, even if those people are cleaners,” Motsoeneng said.

Last year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report where she recommended action against Motsoeneng for receiving exorbitant salary increases and forging his matric certificate.

However, he has stayed in his job and challenged Madonsela’s powers before the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

The matter was heard in court last week and judgment reserved.

Read also: “Do you or do you not have the qualifications?”, MP’s ask SABC chair

The Democratic Alliance has called for Madonsela to investigate Motsoeneng’s latest pay hike.

Meanwhile, the SABC reported a loss of R395m during the last financial year.

It attributed the losses to load shedding, downsizing from advertisers and the failure of consumers to pay TV licenses.

The auditor general also found that the company had lost over R500 000 to wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

Despite the losses, the SABC bosses said the station was “doing well” and had a “good story to tell” having secured more local content and taking on more skilled staff on permanent contracts.

The SABC said it closed the financial year with a cash balance of R1.017bn. – News24