Home South African Hlaudi Motsoeneng and SIU heading for titanic court battle

Hlaudi Motsoeneng and SIU heading for titanic court battle

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The Special Investigation Unit seeks recoup the money that the SABC spent on Motsoeneng’s legal fees

Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/ANA

THE SPECIAL Investigation Unit (SIU) is gunning for former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng to recoup all the monies the national broadcaster spent on his legal fees when he was still employed at Auckland Park.

Independent Media has established that Motsoeneng and the SIU are heading for a titanic court battle in an effort to recoup legal fees as well as the commission he received from the controversial MultiChoice deal.

Motsoeneng said on Saturday that the SIU’s investigation was motivated by something else and is politically orchestrated more than criminal.

“They have taken a view that they must deal with certain people like myself to settle political scores. This is a vendetta,” said Motsoeneng.

He confirmed that he was served with a summons by the SIU in February 2018 and that the matter is now ready for court.

“I don’t want to talk about the SIU, I want to win my battles in court, not through public opinion and newspapers,” he added.

The SABC told Parliament in 2018 that it spent R22 million on Motsoeneng’s legal fees.

The former COO told the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into Sate Capture that he received R10 million commission from the MultiChoice deal even though some industry experts believe he was paid R33 million.

The SABC signed a controversial R553 million deal with MultiChoice in 2013. The deal gave MultiChoice access to the SABC’s archives while SABC would broadcast a news channel on the pay television service provider’s DStv platform.

Industry experts believe that the value of the SABC archives were worth more than R1 billion.

The Competition Commission of South Africa has since established that MultiChoice was calling the shots and “influencing the strategic direction“ of the SABC through this deal.

Former communications minister Yunus Carrim also told the Zondo Commission that the MultiChoice deal was irregular and amounted to “policy capture”.

SIU boss Andy Mothibi told Parliament last year that the unit was in the process of recovering more than R560 million that the SABC lost through irregular contracts.

He said the SIU had identified 11 irregular contracts awarded by the public broadcaster.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago on Saturday confirmed that the unit and Motsoeneng were to meet in court.

“Our mandate is to recoup all the monies the SABC spent on Hlaudi’s legal fees and the commission he received from MultiChoice,” he said.

Kganyago vehemently denied that the unit has a political agenda or has any outside influence.

“Our investigations are allegations based and our outcomes are evidence based. There is no politics involved or any outside influence.”

Hlaudi is also accused of using SABC money to repay a R100 000 loan he made with his former lawyer, Zola Majavu.

The Zondo Commission was also told of how Bosasa boss Gavin Watson gave instructions for the company to pay Motsoeneng’s legal fees of R1.1 million to Majavu’s law firm.

Contacted for comment, Majavu said on Saturday that Motsoeneng is no longer his client.

Motsoeneng’s new lawyer, advocate MacGregor Kufa, said on Saturday that he has been busy exchanging documents with the SIU in the past few months as it was heading to court for “a politically-motivated case against my client”.

“The SIU is using my client to gain political mileage. My client has been victimised unlawfully and irregularly in the matter. We will deal with the merits of this case in court and hopefully justice will prevail,” he said.

Kufa said the SABC was liable for the legal fees as Motsoeneng was their chief operating officer and was defending the public broadcaster in most of the matters.

“The SIU has based their case on former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report disregarding the fact that we have taken that report on review.”