Embattled former SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng is known for his long-winded press conferences in which he talks about himself for hours. Last year, I attended one of his pressers (which started over an hour late) at the SABC’s head office in Auckland Park. After that particular briefing, I interviewed Hlaudi and what struck me about him was his unending energy in talking up himself. Of course, the situation has since changed with a new SABC board undoing some of the damage that he’s inflicted, including his controversial 90% local content policy. And with President Jacob Zuma last month shifting Faith Muthambi from her position as Minister of Communications, Hlaudi has also lost his biggest political supporter and backer. So, it was no surprise that yesterday he decided to rally up some support by hosting, for over three hours, a ‘Hands off Hlaudi’ press conference, accompanied by praise singers and music CDs packed with songs dedicated to him… – Gareth van Zyl
By Lizeka Tandwa
Johannesburg – The Hlaudi Motsoeneng show began at the Milpark Garden Court hotel at 11:00 on Wednesday with loyal supporters singing his praises.
Local musicians and artists took turns at the podium to defend him and berate SABC interim board member Krish Naidoo.
Naidoo was one of two board members who resigned in October 2016 during a Parliamentary portfolio committee meeting to discuss the public broadcaster. He was appointed to the interim board earlier this year.
During the former SABC COO’s five-hour long press conference, his supporters showered him with tributes and called him the people’s chief operating officer.
His supporters crammed themselves into the small press room to await the arrival of their “saviour”. Sharply dressed in a tailored blue suit, he arrived to a chorus of tribute songs. According to one, he was a “rose that grew from the concrete”.
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) April 19, 2017
After the foundation had been laid, he took to the podium and spoke about himself in the third person for over three hours. Here is a summary of what he said:
- I will not review the remedial actions of the Public Protector;
- Whites and blacks should support each other. The SABC’s 90% local content quota is for blacks and whites;
- Lawyers said there is nothing wrong with the MultiChoice deal;
- The so-called SABC 8 journalists have not won the battle;
- Who is working for the Guptas? South Africans. If you chase them away then what happens to their jobs?;
- People are calling me to politics. Politicians would be shocked at the numbers that would vote for me;
- I won’t contest for president of the country because I support a woman president;
- You may say you don’t want Hlaudi, it’s fine. But Hlaudi is going to lead you on another platform;
- I meet so many white people and they say Mr Hlaudi, we support what you do, we are with you;
- I have the power to turn South Africa around.
For some weary journalists, it was too much and they left midway. He concluded by saying that he would survive the SABC, but threatened to pursue a career in politics should his upcoming disciplinary hearing not go in his favour. – News24
Hlaudi’s grandstanding raises questions of motive
OUTA media statement:
Wednesday’s press conference by Hlaudi Motsoeneng was nothing more than a grandstanding charade of self-glorification that raises questions about the real motive of the event.
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) April 19, 2017
“To us, it is clear Mr Motsoeneng accepts no responsibility for the plight and poor performance the SABC has suffered during his tenure as COO,” says Dominique Msibi, OUTA’s Portfolio Director. “His staged performance, along with those singing his praises for the SABC 90% local content policy, ignores the fact the SABC has suffered immensely as a direct result of his decisions.”
In his hour-long speech, he self-praised his perceived single-handed successes, whilst taking swipes at members of the Interim SABC Board and singling out Krish Naidoo in a personal attack.
“We must not forget this is the Hlaudi who self-proclaimed he performs miracles wherever he goes,” adds Msibi. “We however are reminded by the Western Cape High Court ruling of December 2016, that Motsoeneng’s appointment as the SABC’s group executive of corporate affairs was unlawful and irrational and the reason we laid criminal charges against him in December last year – a matter which we are still awaiting a progress report from the SA Police Services.”
We believe that Mr Motsoeneng press charade is an attempt to derail the Interim Board’s work to investigate and correct the wrongdoing under his leadership. OUTA is impressed at the Interim Board’s swift action to address damage caused by Mr Motsoeneng’s conduct and will assist by providing facts and input on questionable decisions and contracts entered into by the SABC over the past few years.
“It will take years to undo the destruction caused by Mr Motsoeneng and lift the state broadcaster up to the credible status it once enjoyed,” says Msibi.