SUNDAY TIMES - Hlaudi as an MP is just the beginning ...
Sunday Times News By QAANITAH HUNTER, 2017-03-12 00:04:00.0

Hlaudi as an MP is just the beginning ...

The ANCYL has high hopes for Hlaudi Motsoeneng of SABC fame.

Minister Hlaudi Motsoeneng. That might soon be the former SABC boss's new title if the ANC Youth League in the Free State, his home province, has its way.

Motsoeneng may not qualify for any top position at the SABC, but the league says he is good enough to replace seasoned politician Gugile Nkwinti as minister of rural development and land reform.

On Friday, the league's provincial chairman, Makalo Mohale, said Motsoeneng's skills were too valuable to be wasted, which was why the league had formally nominated him to fill a vacant post in parliament.

"If he can't go back to the SABC, then he must go to government," Mohale told the Sunday Times.

Murmurings about Motsoeneng's pending move to government have been doing the rounds since the High Court in Cape Town ruled three months ago that his appointment as SABC group executive of corporate affairs was "unlawful and unconstitutional".

His name was widely expected to be forwarded to parliament along with that of former Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, who was sworn in as an ANC MP last month. Molefe is said to be in line to join President Jacob Zuma's reshuffled cabinet.

Mohale said Motsoeneng would be best placed to deal with land issues as his radical stance would assist redistribution. "We think that we need him there to deal with the land issue."

Unsurprisingly, Motsoeneng is flattered by the idea. He said he had not decided where he wanted to go next but had been assured that it was not only the youth league that supported him.

"It is not only the ANCYL, it is many South Africans. Many of South Africans know what I stand for," he said.

"My support is not just locally, my support is even in the continent. Why? People in the continent talk about me a lot. They write about me. My support is not only from those who pronounce [ANC structures], there are many people. Even the kings and traditional leaders ... including some churches."

Motsoeneng said he did not know what he would do next but insisted his focus was the SABC at the moment. "I stand for general radical change whether it is at the SABC or wherever."

Those who opposed his leadership were merely a group that made "a loud noise".

Initially, the Free State youth league said Motsoeneng could fill any government position, as an MEC in the Free State or a minister in "any portfolio that requires radicalism".

Motsoeneng, known for a litany of legal woes while at the public broadcaster, shot to fame for unilaterally deciding that SABC radio stations should play 90% local music.

He is suspended from the SABC pending another disciplinary hearing, as mandated by the courts. But he seems confident of emerging unscathed.

When asked what he would do if he was unsuccessful at the hearing, Motsoeneng said: "Are you a prophet, my sister?"

He has found admirers in structures of the ANCYL, whose leaders have lauded him as a modern-day revolutionary.

Last month, he got some support from the league in North West, where he spoke and later hinted that he was open to a post in government.

Motsoeneng has long stated that he could turn around the government in six months.

For him to be deployed as a minister, he needs to be an MP. But the league in the Free State does not see that as a problem.

"He doesn't even have to go on the Free State list ... He must go [on the] national list [to parliament]", Mohale said.

There is a vacancy on the national list to parliament after MP Agnes Qikani resigned in December. She served on the portfolio committee on rural development and land reform.

Mohale could not say when Motsoeneng would be sent to parliament or appointed a minister but said the league was lobbying the ANC to agree to deploy him as a minister.

Land has fast become a catchphrase among a faction of the ANC loyal to Zuma, amid his call for the constitution to be amended to allow expropriation of land without compensation.