Barely back at the office and SABC news head Snuki Zikalala is facing a R1-million lawsuit from a staff member, writes Kim Hawkey in the Sunday Times.


Zikalala, who returned to work two weeks ago after his suspension in May by SABC group chief executive Dali Mpofu for leaking a confidential internal report, is now being sued by former Lesedi FM producer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the man at the centre of the document.

Motsoeneng got his job back four months ago after being sacked last year over misconduct allegations. He was initially fired after a 2006 disciplinary inquiry into a variety of allegations, including that he was not properly qualified.

These allegations were contained in a 2003 internal audit report which Zikalala allegedly later leaked — the act for which he was suspended in May.

Now Motsoeneng has gone to the Johannesburg High Court, claiming Zikalala was waging a personal vendetta against him.

In papers filed on Wednesday, Motsoeneng accused Zikalala of defaming him, harming his rights to dignity and privacy, breaching his responsibilities and abusing his position at the corporation.

Motsoeneng said he had not had the opportunity to defend the allegations in the report because he did not receive a copy, despite asking for one two years ago to prepare his defence for the disciplinary hearing. He said the SABC refused to give it to him because it was “private and confidential”.

Yet, he said, the report was leaked to the media and “certain senior governing party members” by Zikalala.

Motsoeneng said the report was leaked in order to portray him as uneducated, incapable and violent.

He said Zikalala also leaked it to create the impression that he (Motsoeneng) was at the centre of the difficulties at the SABC.

Michael Murphy, Motsoeneng’s lawyer, said: “The crux is that this is the man who said the report was so private that it can’t be given to Hlaudi. And yet, when it suited him, he pretended to be a knight in shining armour.”

When contacted for comment on Friday, Zikalala said he had “nothing to do with Motsoeneng”, who had never reported to him. But, he said, he was not surprised to receive the papers, which he had “passed to the SABC”.

Zikakala added that he would defend the matter.

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