Jean-Jacques Cornish

Storm over appointment of SABC head

The appointment of a man who lied about his academic qualification as chief operating officer of the state broadcaster is raising a political storm in South Africa.

The man hit the headlines last week when he posed next to a bare-breasted student given to him as a wife by traditional leaders of the Venda tribe.

The South African Communist Party, which is in the ruling alliance with the African National Congress, expressed concern at the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Ombudsman Thuli Madonesela says she’s surprised Motsoeneng’s been given the job.

She investigated him when he was still operating in an acting capacity and found he’d lied about his high school diploma.

She says she’s still waiting for the disciplinary action the SABC promised to take.

Motsoeneng, who’s salary has doubled this past year to 200 000 euros, was pictured last week with a bare-breasted 22-year old he selected from ten offered to him by Venda chiefs as a wife.

In addition to the young woman he was given a cow.

South Africa’s Women’s Ministry’s condemned handing women as gifts as though they are livestock.

A complaint about the incident has been lodged with the Commission on Gender Equality.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.