RECENT

A glance at the website Black Opinion gives one a view of the world which is completely different to the prevailing liberal stance of most websites. It is the mouthpiece of the former EFF MP Andile Mngxitama's Black First Land First movement. During the much-discredited presidency of Jacob Zuma,  this website and the BLF were the weather vanes of thinking of the then Zuma-Gupta controlling ANC clique.

Now the Black First Land First (BLF) said it is reaffirming "its unwavering support for (former SABC chief operating officer) Comrade Hlaudi Motsoeneng - a proponent of radical transformation and the only pro-black activist who managed the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). Motsoeneng was dismissed in June last year following recommendations after an independent disciplinary hearing.

The website reported: "We will be supporting Cde Hlaudi through his case with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). To this end, we will be standing with him, in solidarity, when the CCMA hears closing arguments from both parties (Hlaudi and SABC) tomorrow." Motsoeneng has challenged the grounds of his dismissal.

Significantly, Motsoeneng has been a visible presence of late at the hearings - twice postponed - of the Zuma trial. He is being charged with fraud. Mngxitama, who was also outside the Durban court recently, himself attacked white monopoly interests for the actions being taken against Zuma.

Motsoeneng remains entirely unapologetic for his role as the effective boss of the public broadcaster. In August 2017 he told News24: "People believe that because Hlaudi is on the outside, he is not going to be able to change anything, but now that I am on the outside, I am more dangerous than when I am within."

Now Black Opinion said: "It is alarming that the SABC is employing external legal services to represent it in the CCMA proceedings against Hlaudi while it has a legal department with the necessary expertise to do the job. How can the SABC complain about being broke, yet it engages in wasteful and criminal expenditure to the tune of millions of rands to hire a service that it is already capacitated with? This is a serious abuse of state resources to the benefit of pro-white monopoly capital (WMC) law firms. BLF calls on the state broadcaster to publicly disclose how much it has spent on proceedings from the time it had unlawfully dismissed Hlaudi until now."

"When Hlaudi took over the state broadcaster it was in shambles. It was unable to settle its loan of R1.4 billion with Nedbank but through Hlaudi’s intervention, the debt was liquidated. It must also be stated that during Hlaudi’s tenure the SABC board did not seek any bailout from the government. Moreover, through Hlaudi’s leadership a plan was devised for the SABC to meaningfully serve black business and generate more income for the state broadcaster."

"It is clear that Hlaudi is being persecuted for trying to implement changes that will benefit the masses. In this regard, the broadcasting of 90% local content and other policies that would have minimized the influence of WMC in the SABC are very significant articulations of Comrade Hlaudi," said Black Opinion.

Motsoeneng has denied that he is responsible for the parlous financial state of the public broadcaster. But a City Press report indicated that the entity was in huge financial trouble.

In a report on August 8, the newspaper reported that the SABC’s unpaid bills at the end of July are believed to exceed R100m owed to 64 companies, with independent TV producers owed about R90m of that.

This figure, however, was lower than the estimated R120 million owed in April last year when producers were last not paid.

Other newspapers reported that Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane acknowledged that the SABC was owed R25.5 billion (yes billion not million) in outstanding fees - as views chose not to pay their licence fees.

The minister added that the debt could have been higher but the public broadcaster wrote off more than R4.5 billion of unpaid debts on over a million “invalid” accounts in the 2016/17 financial year. She was replying to questions from the DA's Phumzile van Damme.

The BLF said its protest in favour of Motsoeneng would begin tomorrow Thursday 16 August in Harrison Street in Marshalltown, Johannesburg.

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