Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng is claiming R16m he says he is owed by the bankrupt broadcaster for brokering a controversial content deal with pay-TV giant MultiChoice. The ex-SABC boss has responded to a civil claim lodged by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to recover R21m from him with his own counterclaim against the broadcaster, says a Sunday Times report.

Motsoeneng was paid a ‘success fee’ of R11.5m in 2016 by the then SABC board under questionable circumstances, for negotiating a deal with MultiChoice for various broadcast rights, including access to the SABC's archives.

The SIU wants to recoup this money from him.

The investigative body and the SABC also want Motsoeneng to pay back a further R10.2m spent on irregular appointments, salary increments, suspensions and unlawful dismissals during his reign as COO.

In his counterclaim, filed in the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg), Motsoeneng denies any wrongdoing, arguing that he is entitled to outstanding compensation for his business ‘innovation’ and for raising capital for the cash-strapped SABC.

He claims the deal netted the public broadcaster a R1.19bn profit. Motsoeneng argues that it was his ‘own ingenuity’ that earned this profit for the SABC, and says he negotiated the deal outside his job description as COO, and therefore should be compensated.

He contends that the decision of the board to approve the payment of his success fee, calculated at 2.5% of the R1.19bn less R1m, is valid and binding on the SABC and that the R11.5m already paid to him in the form of a bonus was only a part payment of the total owed to him.

Motsoeneng reportedly said the SIU is 'busy with hearsay', and Advocate Andy Mothibi, head of the SIU, 'is playing politics and trying to please politicians'.

Full Sunday Times report (subscription needed)