Editorial: Incompetents thrive in toxic environment

A chaotic game of musical chairs which continues to undermine the rule of law, loot state coffers and destroy a public institution so crucial to our democracy. This is the only way to describe the latest developments at the SABC.

Shortly after losing a court bid to keep his job as chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng attended kwaito star Mandoza’s funeral last week.

“I hear people saying Hlaudi is stressed,” he told mourners.

“Hlaudi is stress free. If I was stressed, I would not be able to deliver what I want to deliver. Maybe you are stressed yourself because Hlaudi is delivering,” he said, vowing he would make a comeback. And he did. Days later it emerged that not only was the SABC planning to have Motsoeneng return to the post in an acting capacity, he was paid a R11.4-million bonus for facilitating deals, including the controversial agreement with MultiChoice to create SABC channels on DStv.

This is over and above various undeserved increases and bonuses he had given himself since taking over the reins at the public broadcaster.

Motsoeneng was paid the latest bonus despite the SABC’s 2015-16 financial results – due out on Thursday – which are expected to show a loss of nearly R500-million.

It is also despite the fact that Motsoeneng’s reign over the public broadcaster has been fraught with one disaster after another from financial mismanagement to a poisonous organisational culture and compromised journalistic integrity.

That Motsoeneng does not deserve to lead the SABC nor score bonuses from it is a no-brainer.

Yet he does because he epitomises a worrying phenomenon in our country where positions of power and influence are occupied by people of questionable integrity.

It is this environment that allows for people like Motsoeneng to thrive.

It is the value he brings, not to the SABC, but to the political elite for whom he opens the doors of patronage, that makes him so powerful.

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