By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA- Former SABC Chief Operating Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng is seeking divine intervention as his legal woes pile up with the SABC demanding he pays back R11.5 million to the public broadcaster.
Motsoeneng asked the AME Trinity Church to pray for him during a church service on January 9 at Phuthaditjhaba.
This comes after Johannesburg High court Judge Aj Khan ‘s ruling on 15 December 2021, that Motsoeneng must pay back R11.5-million within seven days to the national broadcasting corporation, which he had received as a ‘success fee’.
According to the court ruling, the 2.5 percent ‘success fee’ which was awarded to Motsoeneng for ‘raising funds’ to the tune of R1.19-billion for the SABC in August 2016, was paid after the SABC’s Governance and Nominations Committee’s approval. The court ruled that this was an illegitimate payment.
Speaking to members of the AME Trinity Church, Motsoeneng asked the church to pray for him ahead of his court battles against the public broadcaster.
“I was shocked by that decision of the High Court. People should know that my journey with the SABC begun in the 80’s, while I was still in high school. After being promoted to the position of COO, I saved the 800 employees from retrenchment. The SABC board had already decided to dismiss them.
“In the whole country, no one has been able to bring more than a billion rand to the SABC without me. The SABC’s 24-hour Channel 404 was responsible for the SABC’s financial stability under my tenure. That 24-hour news channel has created many jobs for black and white South Africans,” he said.
Motsoeneng, who was accompanied by members of his political party – the ACM – said he drew strength from the fact that many South Africans were satisfied with his decision to appeal the High Court judgement.
Party spokesperson, Kabelo Molefe, told The Guard that Motsoeneng is a scapegoat of politicians using the courts of law to fight their battles.
“Motsoeneng has repeatedly stated and clarified his academic status, but even today he is being hounded by those he disagreed with. I blame the media for spreading slander in order to tarnish his reputation.”
Motsoeneng’s reign at the SABC was marred by controversy and accusations of serving the interests of broadcasting giant MultiChoice against government directives, lying about his qualifications, and having had a hand in the firing of the SABC 8, to name a few. The ruling further clarified that should Motsoeneng not pay the amount owed, the mandate to pay would fall on the Pension Fund, which had withheld Motsoeneng’s pension earnings after his dismissal from the corporation in 2017.