Hlaudi Motsoeneng to start his own political party – report

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Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng speaks during a media conference on October 06, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has announced his intention of launching a political party, going so far as to say he believed he had a chance of contesting the presidency in 2019 and that he didn’t think Cyril Ramaphosa “[could] defeat” him, TimesLive reports.

The Sowetan reported this morning that according to Motsoeneng, the launch of this new party was imminent.

“I am going to shock the country,” he told the publication.

He has a few times before announced his ambition as well as expressed his view that it would actually be possible for him to become president.

News24 reported that outside the High Court in Johannesburg last week, where Motsoeneng was fighting for a pension payout he lost when he was fired at the SABC, he told his supporters he would be running for president, saying “South Africa needs Hlaudi to change South Africa”.

In November, at an event organised by Incredible Happenings Ministries leader Prophet Paseka “Mboro” and civil rights group #NotInMyName, the former SABC boss said there were many wrongs he would correct once he was in the top seat at the Union Buildings.

“People are saying there is no money in South Africa, [but] there is money in South Africa. I saw that at SABC, practically. When I said local content … that the artists be given money, most of the millions were being given to outsiders [foreign artists],” said Motsoeneng to applause.

“When it comes to our own people, South Africa, you only get cents but outsiders get the money.

“This is the time to stop that. To stop that, Hlaudi is going to be the future president of South Africa. Thank you.”

Many blame the current financial crisis in which the SABC finds itself on Motsoeneng and say it can be traced back to his tenure.

The corporation had to fork out R22 million to defend Motsoeneng in court during his reign.

In a parliamentary reply to Democratic Alliance MP Thomas Hadebe in March, then communications minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane revealed that Motsoeneng was a respondent in no fewer than 15 different cases in the 2013/14 financial year.

His legal battle against the DA over the public protector’s report into governance failures at the public broadcaster – When Governance and Ethics Fail– led to the SABC footing Motsoeneng’s legal bill of R5.3 million.

Other spending included R4.9 million in litigation on “various SABC board matters”, R1.6 million against the Helen Suzman Foundation, and R1.1 million in a case against journalist Vuyo Mvoko.

Former SABC board member Krish Naidoo earlier this year testified before the CCMA that Motsoeneng’s unilateral implementation of the 90% on-air local music content led to the loss of R300 million in advertising revenue.

Despite all this, Hlaudi, who never lacks confidence in himself, has said on numerous occasions that he feels he did a good job of running the public broadcaster.

Only yesterday, he repeated this assertion in an SABC interview.

“When I was here, everything was running smoothly,” he claimed.

Compiled by Daniel Friedman. Additional reporting by Brian Sokutu & ANA / The Citizen