Johannesburg – It was a few days of theatrics at the state capture commission of inquiry as controversial former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng finally took to the stand to testify on his troubled tenure as head of the broadcaster and give his version of events.
Motsoeneng appeared before Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, over three days and wasted no time defending his time at the helm, boasting about his achievements and defending his relationship with the Gupta family.
As he wrapped up his testimony on Thursday, here are seven things Motsoeneng told the commission:
On lying about having completed matric
An insistent Motsoeneng repeatedly denied lying about having completed his matric, even going so far as to say it was an insult to accuse him of such.
“I never lied, chairperson. God knows, I never lied. Those people who have employed me, they know. It doesn’t go well with me when everyone, media and others, they portray me as a liar, including [former] Public Protector [Thuli Madonsela],” he was at pains to explain to Zondo.
Motsoeneng went on to boast that even though he does not have a matric qualification, he had the required skills to work at the broadcaster and had risen through the ranks and even trained high profile individuals who were more qualified than him.
On lecturing at various institutions
Continuing on his numerous achievements, Motsoeneng told the commission he’d been a guest lecturer at universities and that the Wits Business School even included his work into its curriculum.
This was refuted by the university, which insisted Motsoeneng had only been a guest speaker at a breakfast panel discussion. Despite this, Motsoeneng stood by his claim, saying he’d been invited by the school several times to lecture.
“Yesterday I spoke about me lecturing at Wits Business School. It is true chairperson, I have the documents which I will produce. I was invited and it does not mean that when I say I lectured there I was employed by Wits but the media has twisted what I said in this commission… I have been invited more than three times at Wits Business School to lecture and there is a video to demonstrate that.”
Links with Guptas and plan to “capture” the family
Another hot topic Motsoeneng touched on during his testimony was his close relationship with the controversial Gupta family.
Motsoeneng defended his links with the family, even quipping that he’d enjoyed the curry meals served there during his visits to their compound in Saxonwold. A boastful Motsoeneng also told the commission he had planned to “capture” the family through his interactions with them.
On his role in the firing of the SABC 8
Motsoeneng also denied during his appearance that he played any role in the firing of SABC employees who were known as the “SABC 8”.
These employees faced a disciplinary hearing and were later fired by the public broadcaster for openly protesting over changes to the broadcaster’s editorial policy.
He denied playing any role in their firing, placing the blame solely at the doorstep of former SABC head of news Simon Tebele.
On his legacy at the SABC
Motsoeneng used his last day on the stand to defend the controversial MultiChoice/SABC deal, which gave Multi-Choice the rights to the SABC’s archives in exchange for channel on its service – SABC Encore – as well as a channel to air the SABC’s 24-hour news channel.
Motsoeneng was paid over R10 million for securing the controversial deal.
A defiant Motsoeneng defended the deal, saying it was “perfect” and even went so far as to boast that the securing of the deal in exchange for the two channels was his legacy.