On Thursday, African National Congress chief whip Jackson Mthembu denied ever meeting former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng in an attempt to “capture” him.
“The chief whip states for the record that he has never at any point held any meeting with Mr Motsoeneng, certainly not at any location, including the so-called captured hotel,” Mthembu said in a statement.
He said Motsoeneng’s comments were “defamatory, spurious and laughable”.
He was responding to claims Motsoeneng made at a New Age breakfast, aired on SABC on Thursday. He said a third person had co-ordinated a meeting between himself and Mthembu, who wanted to influence him.
“Jackson Mthembu should be last person to talk about SABC. Jackson Mthembu should know I met him at a certain hotel… but no one can capture me,” Motsoeneng said.
Motsoeneng, SABC CEO James Aguma, Land First Black First’s Andile Mngxitama, and Progressive Professionals Forum and Decolonisation Forum leader Mzwanele (Jimmy) Manyi, were part of the discussion.
The New Age is owned by the Gupta family, who are the subject of a report by former public protector Thuli Madonsela into “state capture”.
The High Court in Pretoria is on Tuesday expected to hear President Jacob Zuma’s application to interdict the release of the report.
Mthembu said he had nothing to hide.
“The personal attacks, regrettably, are a further testimony to the crisis at the SABC and point to the lengths Mr Motsoeneng would go to flagrantly abuse the public broadcaster’s platforms to maliciously pursue those he regards as detractors.”
Motsoeneng claimed Mthembu was trying to influence the decisions of Parliament’s communications committee. MPs on the committee have called for inquiry into the fitness of the public broadcaster’s board.
“When you make that noise from outside the portfolio committee, actually you are influencing the direction of the portfolio committee,” Motsoeneng said.
SABC board members Krish Naidoo and Vusi Mavuso announced their resignations at a meeting with the committee on October 5. This was in reaction to Motsoeneng’s reappointment to a senior management role at the broadcaster, following a court ruling that his appointment as COO was irrational and should be set aside.
MPs agreed the current board was dysfunctional and ill-governed, neglecting its fiduciary duty toward the public and should be dissolved.
Mthembu has recently been critical of the SABC’s leadership. It was hogging headlines for all the wrong reasons causing the country serious embarrassment, he said.
Motsoeneng criticised the process of appointing the board and said those members who resigned had been “captured by certain politicians”.