SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng has given himself new powers at the broadcaster, allowing him to exert more control than even the CEO.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, Motsoeneng has taken over editorial control at the SABC – which means he has the final say on all content.
Previously, editorial matters rested with the CEO, stated the report.
The SABC’s current CEO, Frans Matlala, is on suspension, with the acting CEO Jimi Matthews said to be a close ally of Motsoeneng.
News, current affairs, and sport heads must all refer to Motsoeneng on editorial matters, “whose decision on any editorial issue shall be final”.
The new editorial policy has reportedly been implemented without being presented to Parliament’s oversight committee.
Motsoeneng would not comment on the changes, according to the report.
No phone calls
The decision to award himself new powers comes after Motsoeneng was reported to have ordered the SABC’s radio stations to ban open lines on its radio talk shows in a bid to stop anti-ANC government callers from voicing their issues.
This followed Public Protector Thuli Madonsela finding that Motsoeneng had irregularly and rapidly increased the salaries of various staff members – including his own – resulting in the state broadcaster footing an unprecedented salary bill escalation of R29 million.
She also found that Motsoeneng misrepresented his qualifications to the SABC, including that he had passed matric.
The full report is in the Sunday Times of 8 May 2016.