Jackson Mthembu could sue controversial South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng over “defamatory allegations …which suggest improper motives on the African National Congress (ANC) chief whip”.
These were‚ a ruling party statement said on Thursday‚ “regarding (Mthembu’s) articulation of the ANC parliamentary caucus’ position on the challenges at the SABC”.
Mthembu was vocal in calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the SABC board after it appointed Motsoeneng as group executive of corporate affairs after a court set aside his appointment as CEO.
Motsoeneng had made what the ANC called “spurious utterances” at a The New Age Biz Brief breakfast on Thursday morning.
“The chief whip states for the record that he has never at any point held any meeting with Motsoeneng‚ certainly not at any location‚ including the so-called ‘captured hotel’‚ as claimed by him‚” the ANC said.
Commentators on Twitter quoted Motsoeneng as threatening to unveil his “files” on Mthembu.
“The chief whip also harbours no other interest regarding the SABC‚ including personal interests‚ other than those which are shared by the ANC – which is to ensure a functional‚ efficient and well-managed public broadcaster that executes its public service mandate and consistently inspires public confidence in its operations.”
The ANC described Motsoeneng’s comments as “personal attacks” and “a further testimony to the crisis at the SABC and points to the lengths Mr Motsoeneng would go to flagrantly abuse the public broadcaster’s platforms to maliciously pursue those he regards as detractors”.
“The chief whip has nothing to hide‚ and therefore Mr Motsoeneng is challenged to publicly state whatever he threatened to disclose or else publicly withdraw his utterances‚” the party said.
“The chief whip has also engaged the services of a lawyer to advise if Mr Motsoeneng’s public allegations are not in violation of his personal rights and if a legal recourse‚ including suing for defamation‚ cannot be sought. Further action will be announced in this regard.”