The latest report from one of the SABC 8 fired journalists, Lukhanyo Calata told the Parliament that Hlaudi Motsoeneng has a likely link to the President, Jacob Zuma and that his defiance is strongly supported by the presidency.
Calata was one of the SABC 8 journalists fired earlier this year for openly speaking out against a new editorial policy told the parliament’s SABC inquiry on Monday, that Hlaudi’s relationship with President Jacob Zuma is “an open secret” at the broadcaster.
The journalist recalled several instances where he was called to cover the president in a positive light or where stories were simply not aired for being too negative about Zuma.
“Within the SABC it’s an open secret … our understanding is that Mr. Motsoeneng has got the support of the President,” Calata testified before a parliamentary inquiry, along with SABC 8 colleagues Thandeka Gqubule, Krivani Pillay and Vuyo Mvoko.
Calata further added that it was as if Motsoeneng had Zuma’s direct number, or had him on speed dial.
“Also, Mr. Motsoeneng has lived up to it, because he has behaved in a manner that none of us can explain, other than to say surely he has the protection or support of someone who is very important, who is very powerful.”
“If I could explain it, ma’am, I would tell you, but the way I understand it, and the way some of my colleagues understand it, Mr. Motsoeneng has the support of someone no less powerful than the President,” he said as he relayed a story of how Hlaudi came to Parliament and said if they were impressed that he was earning R2.4m or R2.6m a year, that was “nothing”, because he wanted R10m.
More to this, Veteran journalist Vuyo Mvoko also testified on Monday evening that the SABC pays for the costs to host the Gupta-owned New Age breakfasts on the Morning Live show.
“What the SABC has not informed you about, is that they have allowed SABC money to be used to build a rival channel, ANN7,
“Morning Live resources get diverted to pay for the production costs of those TNA breakfasts,” he told the committee, nothing that SABC News can spend between R200 000 and R500 000 to put the TNA breakfasts on air, but “not a cent of the money made by the New Age goes to the SABC.
“From the millions, they make on sponsorship, the tables they sell at those breakfasts, they do not take any of that to the SABC.”
Making further revelations on the secret dealings within the SABC, both Mvoko and Calata said they had not been threatened but had colleagues who had received text messages warning them to stay away from Parliament.
SABC 8 journalist Suna Venter and Former CEO, Lulama Mokhobo both said they’ve received threat messages from anonymous individuals. Many of the threat messages are in SMS form.