There is “essentially no difference” between acting chief operations officer (COO) of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Nigeria’s Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram, according to the country’s third political party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

HumanIPO reported last week the controversial COO was given the “gift” of a young woman to be his wife, alongside a cow and a calf, by traditional Venda chiefs in Limpopo, with the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) subsequently confirming it had received a complaint over the incident and was investigating.

The EFF today said Motsoeneng’s acceptance of the “wife” shows the extent of his disrespect for women, with the party equating his attitude to that of Boko Haram.

“It is regrettable that not only is [Motsoeneng] messing up the public broadcaster, now he has taken action against the advancement of women emancipation,” the EFF said.

“Motsoeneng has agreed to take a woman as a gift, a whole leader at the helm of so important an institution of the democratic state.

“It cannot be that women are seen and exchanged as gifts, essentially there is no difference between Hlaudi Motsoeneng and Boko Haram.

“Like Boko Haram, Motsoeneng does not respect women, their choice and treats them like objects in a pursuit to satisfy narrow personal interests.”

The EFF questioned why the ruling African National Congress (ANC) has not taken action with regard to the “gift” to Motsoeneng.

“The questions should be asked where are organisation like ANCWL [ANC Women’s League] when the poor women of Venda need them the most,” the EFF said.

In February South Africa’s public protector released a report into allegations against the SABC, finding Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications to fraudulently secure the position of COO.

Further, she found that Motsoeneng had a hand in numerous counts of irregular employment practices, unlawful conduct, and extensive financial losses – as well as granting himself multiple irregular salary increases.

The public protector called for action to be taken against Motsoeneng by the SABC, and asked that then minister of communications Yunus Carrim replace him with a qualified candidate within 90 days. Neither of these things has happened to date.

The EFF today said the SABC is abusing its role as public broadcaster to skew broadcasts in favour of the ANC and to suppress coverage of the EFF, saying Motsoeneng has a hand in this abuse of position.

“EFF notes with deep concern the continued ways in which the SABC suppresses the coverage of its key events. We are aware that there was an instruction not to cover the EFF on June 16 this year. Hlaudi Motsoeneng also issued an instruction that EFF its in parliament must not be televised in the news,” the EFF said.

“The EFF is still in consultation with its lawyers on how to take forward the findings of the public protector because the Hlaudi Motsoeneng who is an ANC security guard continues to suppress EFF in favor of ANC.”

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