Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng and eight ex-executives, who served on the public broadcaster’s operations committee, acted unlawfully by paying 53 “music legends” R50 000 each in 2016, the Special Tribunal ruled on Tuesday. The decision was set aside.
The tribunal ruled that Motsoeneng and the executives had abused their powers and violated internal policies at the SABC.
The ruling follows the public broadcaster and the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) March application to declare the payments unlawful and invalid, and to set the decision aside.
They argued there were no agreed criteria to identify “music legends” and alleged that the payments were not approved by the board responsible for budgetary issues.
They also alleged that the broadcaster did not benefit from the payments and that it had incurred wasteful and fruitless expenditure.
The tribunal said Motsoeneng argued that the SIU and SABC failed to demonstrate which policies were violated. He also claimed to have raised the money through donations from MultiChoice.
He justified the payments as being to thank artists for “their support during the liberation struggle” – and said most of them were desolate and died as paupers.
The tribunal said Motsoeneng had failed to provide a definitive answer about the existence of the policy that allowed the payments.
It said: “On the one hand, he denies that such a policy does not exist. On the other hand, he submits that such a policy was not necessary as it is consistent with the SABC’s constitutional, statutory and policy objectives.”