Newspaper apologises for Motsoeneng article

Newspaper apologises for Motsoeneng article

South African newspaper The New Age has apologised for an article published yesterday headlined “No need to punish Hlaudi”, which it said could have been misinterpreted.

HumanIPO reported yesterday on the story, which said South African Broadcasting Corporation board chair Ellen Tshabalala had said chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng could not be punished ‘for a lie he told 19 years ago’.

“The introductory paragraph to a story on Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the chief operating officer of the SABC, published in yesterday’s The New Age could have been misinterpreted and erroneously attributed to the chairperson of the board Ellen Tshabalala,” the paper said in a report headlined “Matter of Fact: The New Age sets the record straight”.

The paper said Tshabalala was actually rebutting a Democratic Alliance (DA) claim Motsoeneng had lied about his qualifications when he applied for a job at the SABC 19 years ago.

Tshabalala actually said the SABC was aware of Motsoeneng’s lack of qualifications.

“Furthermore, according to the applicant [the DA], Mr Motsoeneng misled the SABC, to its knowledge as far back as 1995 when he was first employed,” she said in her affidavit.

“An extract from Mr Motsoeneng’s interview by the public protector, a copy of which I refer to and attach below, shows that the SABC was always aware that Mr Motsoeneng did not have matric, and knew this when it disciplined and dismissed him for other reasons in 2007 and when it later upheld his appeal against his dismissal and re-engaged him.

“These being the facts, which the applicants is constrained to accept, then a significantly long period of time has passed in which the SABC failed to discipline Mr Motsoeneng for any alleged dishonesty, which is in any event denied.

“The law requires disciplinary action to be taken fairly expeditiously, failing which it would become unfair to discipline an employee.

“Mr Motsoeneng’s circumstances would make any disciplinary action regarding the issue of his matric manifestly unfair at this stage.”

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