The DA on Friday accused the SABC of imposing a “blackout” on a news report involving one of the broadcaster’s senior officials.
“An analysis of media reports indicates an SABC news blackout on the issue of SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s salary,” Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis said in statement.
In a separate statement on Tuesday this week, the DA said a reply it received to a parliamentary question had revealed that Motsoeneng’s annual salary rose from R334,167.72 in 2010 to R2.8 million last year.
On Friday, Davis said an analysis of news reports over the past two days, following the party’s earlier statement, showed the story had been covered by 30 radio stations, one television channel and 11 newspapers, but not by the SABC.
“The story did not feature on any of the SABC’s 20 radio stations and various TV news bulletins. The ‘radio silence’ from the SABC on Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s inflated salary is deafening,” he said.
SABC communications head Kaizer Kganyako was not immediately available on Friday to comment on the matter.
Davis said he had written to the broadcaster’s head of news, Jimi Matthews, asking him to confirm the SABC had not covered the story.
“[And] if so, explain the SABC’s decision not to run the story despite its obvious newsworthiness, [and] explain who at the SABC took the decision not to cover [it].”
Davis said that if a story was in the public interest, the SABC was expected to cover it.
In February this year, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a damming report on Motsoeneng’s conduct, including that he had misrepresented his qualifications — he claimed he had a matric — when applying for his current position.
Madonsela also found Motsoeneng had irregularly upped his own salary three times in one year.
“His salary progression as the acting COO concomitantly rose irregularly from R122,961 to R211,172 in 12 months, and was in violation of the SABC personnel regulations and constitutes improper conduct and maladministration,” Madonsela said at the time.