Muthambi defends Hlaudi re-appointment

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has defended the SABC’s decision not to advertise Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s current position‚ saying there was no need to do so.

The DA questioned why Motsoeneng’s current position as group executive of corporate affairs‚ as well as his former position as chief operating officer‚ were filled without being advertised.

Responding to a written question from DA MP Phumzile van Damme on whether the two positions were advertised externally before the appointments of Motsoeneng and Bessi Tungwana as COO‚ Muthambi said no.

Her written parliamentary response came a day after parliament’s ad hoc committee set up to investigate the SABC met for the first time.

Muthambi has been included in the list of witnesses who will testify before the inquiry.

"The positions of Group Executive of Corporate Affairs and Chief Operating Officer (COO) were not advertised. There was no need to advertise the position of COO‚ as Ms Tugwana is acting in this position. Mr Motsoeneng was reinstated to the position he occupied prior to his appointment as the COO‚" said Muthambi.

Van Damme said they now have "confirmation" that Motsoeneng’s current position at the SABC‚ as well as his former position as COO were filled without being advertised.

"The Minister also does not provide an indication of whether the COO position will be advertised‚ lending credence to the perception that the position is being kept for Mr Motsoeneng. The position of SABC CEO was advertised on 2 October 2016. Why has the COO position not been advertised?" asked Van Damme.

Muthambi’s spokesman Ayanda Holo said on Wednesday that Motsoeneng had always been a permanent employee of the SABC.

"Hlaudi is a stakeholder person. He then goes for a position higher and as a stakeholder he’s a permanent employee. They think they have that position‚ but the judge says no you don’t have that position. So where does he go back to? To his original position."

Holo said Tugwana was acting in the COO position. "Currently there’s no permanent person who’s taken the COO position."

He said when the time comes when the SABC wants to employ someone permanently as COO‚ the position will be advertised and interviews will be held.

Holo said it would be up to Tugwana to decide whether she wanted to apply for the post. He said there would also be nothing preventing Motsoeneng applying.

Van Damme said the DA would raise the matter during hearings of the ad hoc committee which were due to begin on November 29.