Definitely having friends in the corridors of power is a sure banker for one to smile all the way to his bank.
A Chief Operating officer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation earned double the salary of the Chief Executive Officer of the same SABC because of his connections to high government officials.
Motsoeneng, the guy with then longer reach, earned a total of R2.87 million in 2013, roughly R239, 000 a month, as compared to the R1.758 million (R146, 000) earned by the broadcaster’s acting chief executive officer Tian Olivier.
The COO’s R2.87 million was also more than President Jacob Zuma’s salary of R2.62 million per year.
The COO’s salary in 2010 had been a mere R334, 167.
The operations officer earned R2.48m when Olivier only received R871, 000 for acting in the position of the CEO in 2012.
Acting chief financial officer James Aguma earned R122, 000 for the month he was employed in 2013.
The figures came to light in a written reply to a parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance, by Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said that in July this year, the SABC paid R65.76m in bonuses to staff members after protracted wage negotiations for the 2014/15 financial year.
“Part of the wage negotiated settlement included a once-off, ex-gratia payment to employees,” Muthambi said in her reply.
“Management also received a once-off payment in order to settle wage disputes arising from previous years’ inadequate salary increases due to austerity measures and as appreciation for various achievements…”
She said individual performance assessments were not done and the payment was not based on individual performances but on the overall performance of the SABC.
In a statement, Gavin Davis, MP said that the DA believed Motsoeneng should have been fired a long time ago.
He said a reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that SABC Motsoeneng’s R2.8 million salary for 2013 was more than President Jacob Zuma earned.
“President Zuma currently earns R2, 622, 561 per annum.”
He said Motsoeneng’s pay in 2010 was R334, 167.
“This means that Mr. Motsoeneng is being paid nearly R2.5 million more per annum than he was in 2010 — an eight-fold increase in four years.”
Davis said Motsoeneng had been “protected, promoted and rewarded” for his political loyalties to Zuma.
Speaking on the bonuses staff received in July, he said the DA supported a system of bonuses and salary increases based on individual performance.
“Indeed, there are many dedicated SABC journalists and operational staff who do excellent work under very difficult circumstances. They should be commended and rewarded,” he said.
“However, we reject blanket bonuses to all SABC staff and huge salaries for executive board members — especially considering the financial problems at the public broadcaster.”
It was unclear how the SABC could justify paying “exorbitant salaries and bonuses” because there were still huge problems facing the public broadcaster.
In August, the DA applied in the Western Cape High Court to have Motsoeneng’s appointment set aside.
It asked for “urgent interim interdict” suspending Motsoeneng pending a review of the decision to appoint him and argued that Motsoeneng should be suspended as soon as possible because he was a “toxic influence” who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted.
In February, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report on Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO.
She found his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC. Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed at the SABC within 90 days.
However, in July, the Minister Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment. She said he had been cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before the decision was made.