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Hlaudi Motsoeneng: I Won't Run For President As It's Time For A Woman

In a rambling press conference, the disgraced former SABC chief also said he invented radical economic transformation and needed to tell journalists how to do their jobs.

19/04/2017 14:37 SAST | Updated 19/04/2017 15:37 SAST
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Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The disgraced former chief operating officer (COO) of the SABC, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, claimed to have invented "radical transformation", that he is loved by white people, and set an international benchmark for quality broadcasting with his 90% local content policy.

From the SABC 8 to the 90% local content policy and his political aspirations, Motsoeneng's press conference on Wednesday covered so many topics, even seasoned journalists were left scratching their heads as to what the point of it was.

Motsoeneng was surrounded by a cabal of praise-singers who applauded his every word and shouted, "Bua! (Talk!)" as his speech reached ebbed and flowed.

He defended his 90% local content policy by saying that it had become a benchmark internationally even though the interim board wants to dump it as it has damaged the broadcaster commercially, and said it was time for a woman president.

White people also really like him, he said. "I meet so many white people. Sometimes someone rush to me... I was at the garage... saying we support what you do. We are with you."

Motsoeneng was removed from his position after a court found he should not work at the public broadcaster until a 2014 report by the Public Protector was set aside or new disciplinary processes against him were completed.

Yet Motsoeneng spoke at length about the SABC on Wednesday, telling journalists how he had interfered editorially by advising journalists on how to do their jobs.

"You need to balance the stories. That's what I told those journalists. You can't go and slash someone and you don't get response from someone... Balancing, it is very important," he said.

Motsoeneng also said he had told journalists to give President Jacob Zuma more airtime than other political leaders.

"You can't compare President Zuma and then other leaders because he's leading all of us. You can't compare with Gwede Mantashe, the SG [secretary general of the ANC], or [DA leader Mmusi] Maimane. He needs to be given more time because he's the president. If those ones they want more time they must wait their turn."

While he had been called to politics, Motsoeneng said he would not take up the offer as it was time for a woman president.

Without mentioning her by name, his remarks were a clear endorsement of presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, whose campaign slogan so far has been that it is time for a female president.

"Some they want me to be the minister, others they want me to be the president..."

"You can't say you support women but you contest them. Let's give a woman a chance so that we reflect real South Africa," he said.

The press conference included loosely strung-together sentences without much context such as: "And I have been saying why do we give everyone everything free, free, free. We are creating a lazy nation."

He also said the SABC had been better off while he was there.

"The more people lambast the SABC, the more you will have problems at the SABC... I am the only person who knows every corner of the SABC. I have been out for two years. Now I'm not there, there is no money."

Lastly, Motsoeneng said he had invented the phrase "radical transformation", a term now bandied by supporters of President Jacob Zuma.

"We can't apologise. We must implement transformation come whatever. I started this radical transformation," he said.