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June 14, 2017

SAFTU welcomes dismissal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng and resignation of Ben Ngubane

The South African Federation of Trade Unions welcomes the dismissal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng by the SABC Interim Board, and also it’s reversal of the policy not to broadcast images of violent protests, as well as canning wasteful breakfast meetings to prop up the New Age and ANN7, which are competitors to the SABC.

 We congratulate the Board and the MPs who contributed to the downfall of someone who led our public broadcaster to the brink of collapse.

 Motsoeneng turned what should have been the powerful voice of the people of South Africa into a mouthpiece of the faction of thieves who are looting our economy, and made it a vehicle for the self-enrichment of himself and his cronies. He also treated his staff and service providers with contempt and tolerated no opposition to his dictatorship.

All this was documented in the former Public Protector’s report, ‘When governance and ethics fall’ which accused him of falsifying his qualifications, receiving three salary increases in a year, taking his earnings from R1.5 million to R2.4 million, suspending or dismissing critical staff without proper procedure. He also presided over a deficit of R411 million in 2015/2016.

He also initiated the policy of banning images of violent protests and promoting only ‘good news’ stories, and he negotiated the outrageous deal with Multichoice which, in return for getting an SABC news channel on DSTV, the SABC handed over rights to archives which are part of our national heritage to a private company.

SAFTU wishes the Interim Board success in the formidable task of reviving the SABC and winning back the viewers and listeners who have lost any trust in the broadcaster which ought to have been the channel for reliable news, serious debate and top-class entertainment.

 Ben Ngubane’s resignation as Chairperson of Eskom, and Brian Molefe’s dismissal, are welcome and long overdue. However, as more and more emails uncover the extent of corruption in this vital public utility, SAFTU repeats its demand for the resignation of the entire board and a new and democratically accountable board appointed, with workers and community participation.

Both these developments at Eskom and the SABC give hope that the tide may be beginning to turn against the corrupt plunderers of our national wealth, though we cannot afford any complacency, as the list of those implicated in corruption, according to the leaked emails, grows longer every day.

The latest is the allegation that Malusi Gigaba, when Minister of Home Affairs, irregularly waived the necessary residential requirements and approved an application for South African citizenship by Ajay Gupta. The application had earlier been rejected by the Home Affairs DG as it did not meet the requirement to have lived in the country for five years.

Malusi Gigaba and his cronies must step down!

While welcoming the ANC’s call for an independent inquiry into allegations of state capture, SAFTU is concerned that only President Zuma can establish such an inquiry, yet he is still fighting in court against having to comply with the former Public Protector’s demand in ‘State of Capture’ for a public inquiry into the allegations in her report. The ANC’s commendable call is therefore hollow.

He can still obstruct any such inquiry or manipulate its terms of reference to avoid any probes into himself and his cronies. Both Zuma’s government and the ANC leadership have lost any trust or credibility, and only absolutely independent and impartial people must head the inquiry, and its terms of reference must include not only the public protector’s allegations, but all the evidence now coming to light in the emails.

SAFTU repeats it’s call for measures to protect whistle-blowers, so that officials who were pressurized to deal with some of the matters uncovered in these emails, and must have known that legal procedures were being usurped, can speak out without fear. This includes the allegations about what Gigaba was doing for the Guptas.

The Federation reiterates its call for Jacob Zuma and all his captured cronies like Malusi Gigaba and Sifiso Buthelezi to resign for the sake of the country.

SAFTU also renews its call for action not only against those involved in Gupta-related corruption but the inherent corruption of a monopoly capitalist system which is based on the maximization of profit for a tiny rich minority of overwhelmingly white and male business leaders, of which the Guptas and Zuma’s rapacious looters are just one of the worst examples.

There must be an equally independent inquiry into tax evasion, illegal transfer of funds overseas and money-laundering by all companies active in the South African economy.