Ex-SABC chair Ben Ngubane praises Hlaudi: SABC needed his people skills

Image credit: Twitter/African Content Movement

Former chairman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Ben Ngubane had words of praise for ex-SABC chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Speaking during his testimony at the state capture commission of inquiry on Monday, Ngubane said Motsoeneng had “people skills.”

I would say, in short, the skills he had were people skills, and that is what we needed at the time.

Ben Ngubane

Ngubane said SABC was technically insolvent at the time and thus needed a communicator to rally unions and staff behind a turnaround plan.

According to Ngubane, Motsoeneng fitted this role, hence his appointment as acting COO in 2011 and permanent COO in 2014.

Hlaudi was seen as a troubleshooter – he was very proactive – with all issues that came up he would be there, hands on.

Ben Ngubane

Misrepresented matric qualifications

Ngubane’s term as SABC chairman coincided with Motsoeneng’s controversial term as COO.

In 2014, former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Motsoeneng had misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC.

She further found that he had increased his own annual salary from R1.5m to R2.4m in just a year and had purged senior staff.

This led to his suspension and subsequent dismissal from SABC in 2017 after several court challenges.

A recent commission of inquiry into editorial interference in SABC found a “culture of fear” at the state broadcaster during Motsoeneng’s term.

The commission recommended that Motsoeneng’s instructions to human resource to discipline certain staff members be reviewed.

Veteran journalist Dr Joe Thloloe chaired the commission.

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