The SABC’s controversial appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer (COO) seems to have no end. Earlier this month Motsoeneng said that journalists should have a licence to write and report on matters – an issue which has been received with criticism.
While his comments were largely brushed off at the time, the COO has once again reiterated his point in a recently media interview, saying that he’s just about done with compiling an editorial plan for communications minister Faith Muthambi.
“We will be making these submissions. I am surprised at how SANEF [the South African National Editors’ Forum] has opposed this. This means that they are not doing their job properly,” he told The New Age newspaper.
Motsoeneng is of the opinion that journalists should also focus on the good news in South Africa, and focus less on reporting on corruption and crime.
“I am not saying there must not be investigations – there must be. But we must also look into good stories.”
When the first comments for journalistic licences were made, SANEF, a voluntary forum of senior journalists, editors and journalism educators, used Twitter to respond to the comments made by the COO.
“Motsoeneng’s proposal to license journalists is at odds with the freedom of speech which is enshrined in the Constitution. In many dictatorships/authoritarian countries journalists are forced to register so governments can control gathering and publication of news,” it said in a series of tweets.
He was serving as Acting COO until a couple of days ago, when minister Muthambi rather controversially appointed him on a permanent basis.
“I want to assure you there was no pressure, the decision was rational and it was lawful. People will say what they want – we have work to do.”
Public protector Thuli Madonsela spearheaded an investigation into his initial appointment, and found that it was irregular, and that he gave himself three salary increases in one year. He also forged his matric certificate.
Madonsela has now announced that she will launch a new investigation into Motsoeneng after receiving a number of complaints about his appointment.
“The best way forward was to commence a new investigation that looks specifically at the appointment and the circumstances surrounding it. In any event, before you even go to a High Court, my preference is that these matters should be debated in Parliament.”
[Source – The New Age]