19 April 2017

South Africa: Reporter's Notebook - Time for Hlaudi to Become a Relic of the SABC's Crazy Past


The SABC's on-again, off-again leader Hlaudi Motsoeneng's Wednesday press conference was billed as a game changer. Yet he regurgitated the same denials. Even Hlaudi's soundbites have become boring - and it's time to move on. By GREG NICOLSON.

"The people's COO is on his way!" announced the MC. Journalists, musicians, TV producers and leaders of associations in the creative sector crammed into a room at Millpark Garden Court in Johannesburg. "Hlaudi is ours!" yelled a supporter in wraparound shades, dancing in front of a "Hands off Hlaudi" banner. "He belongs to us!"

Over a dozen cameras faced the podium as photographers and journalists elbowed for space. Hlaudi - who, like Prince, Mampintsha and Mandoza is known just by one name - was on his way. He entered and the room erupted in song. Tributes flowed for an hour. He was praised as an underdog who rose to benefit the poor, fighting for transformation against white minority capital, while returning pride, and cash, into local creativity.

Hlaudi's supporters attacked his enemies: interim SABC board member Krish Naidoo, executives with degrees, Parliament, and facts.

"The moment of truth has come," announced the MC. "The rose that grew from the concrete" was ready....

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