SABC want to STOP Hlaudi Motsoenengs pention

Despite his ordeal at Labour court, the SABC former chair Hlaudi Motsoeneng seems to still have his grip on the state own broadcaster. The SABC has thus called on concerned parties to join in the lawsuit that would stop the pension payment of its former chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. In its recent call for rescue, the public broadcaster said it had raised potential constitutional issues in its bid to put the payment of Hlaudi’s accumulated pension pending the outcome of litigation to recover the bonus of over R11.5-million paid to Motsoeneng last year.

The potential constitutional issue raised by the SABC while filing the application last week was whether it was right, according to the Pension Fund Act for  Motsoeneng to be allowed to access his benefits after receiving an unlawful success fee. The then interim SABC board filed the application in its bid to recoup all broadcaster’s money the former leader used to enrich himself. To achieve this, the broadcaster chose to go after all of Motsoeneng’s assets “Whatever is tangible that you can hold of,” SABC interim board chair Khanyisile Kweyama told Parliament’s communications committee. She said the board had instituted legal proceedings to recover money allegedly wasted by mismanagement, from Motsoeneng and former CFO James Aguma. Meanwhile, the Pension Fund Act only permits pension benefits to be withheld when the intended beneficiary is tainted by allegations of misconduct. “[Motsoeneng] should not be allowed to access his accumulated pension benefit pending the outcome of the intended process to recover the success fee already paid to [him],” reads the SABC’s court papers as it calls on interested parties in the potential constitutional issue to be admitted to the case as friends of the court. It would be recalled that in August last year, the now-dissolved SABC board agreed to pay Motsoeneng a 2.5% success fee on R1.19-billion in capital funding he raised.

By this, Hlaudi Motsoeneng was to receive over R27-million to be paid over three years in instalments. The success fee was also for Motsoeneng’s negotiation of the controversial R500-million deal with MultiChoice for various rights, including access to the SABC’s archives. Motsoeneng’s lawyer Zola Majavu has also stated earlier that the SABC board’s new application for his client’s pension to be stopped will fail. We wrote to the pension fund to find out if it was possible for the SABC to take away his pension. They wrote back saying that this can only be done through the courts,” Majavu said.

The former SABC boss, who is being held accountable in court for the legal costs of firing employees who opposed his policies last year, is set to appeal the court order, insisting that he was not the decision maker. “I respect the judge and the ruling today [but] I’m going to instruct my lawyers to appeal the matter. For me it’s not going to be the end because I believe that this was politically motivated and malicious by those people who are involved‚ which is Solidarity and Bemawu (Broadcasting‚ Electronic‚ Media & Allied Workers Union)‚” Motsoeneng said. “It’s not going to end today. It’s the beginning of the battle from where I’m standing.” Motsoeneng argued that the directive to dismiss the journalists was issued by former acting group CEO Jimmy Matthews‚ who had ordered Tebele to fire the employees.

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