Board: SABC COO's appointment rational

2014-08-20 05:00
Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Picture: City Press)

Hlaudi Motsoeneng (Picture: City Press)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The decision to appoint SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng on a permanent basis was rational, the broadcaster's board told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

"On the facts that the SABC has put up, the decision so far to appoint Mr Motsoeneng is not irrational. It is well justified," argued SABC board lawyer Ngwako Maenetje.

He said the board had considered Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's findings on Motsoeneng and found no basis so far to discipline him.

"We don't regret it [the appointment]. In our society, with all the criticisms, he is some kind of example for where he comes from," Maenetje said.

The Democratic Alliance wanted an urgent interim interdict suspending Motsoeneng pending a review of the decision to appoint him.

Motsoeneng sat stony-faced in court, surrounded by his supporters, as he listened to proceedings.

The DA believed the board followed an "unlawful" process in recommending Motsoeneng be appointed, that the decision to appoint him was irrational, and that the SABC would not abide by Madonsela's recommended remedial actions.

Both Maenetje and Norman Arendse, for Motsoeneng, argued that the SABC had never been misled about him not having a matric certificate.

They pointed out that it was incorrect to say Motsoeneng had lied or misrepresented his qualifications to get the position when, in fact, he was head-hunted.

The DA had "jumped the gun" because Madonsela said in court papers that organs of state had been given until Sunday, 17 August, to respond.

Mere recommendation

Maenetje said if Madonsela was not happy with this response, she could approach the court.

"She can come to court to control that exercise of public power by the SABC and the [communications] minister for failing to act rationally," he said.

"But until then, it is not correct that a mere recommendation by the public protector gives rise to disciplinary charges. There must be discretion on the employer."

In February, Madonsela released a report on Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO, titled When Governance and Ethics Fail.

She found his salary increased from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC.

Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed at the SABC within 90 days.

In July, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng's permanent appointment. She said he was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before the decision was made.

The DA then launched a high court bid to have his appointment set aside. Muthambi and the SABC filed opposing court papers.

SABC board chair Ellen Tshabalala, in her court papers, reportedly rubbished Madonsela's report.

Tshabalala said the broadcaster knew from day one that Motsoeneng did not have matric.

She said he was not dishonest, had never misled the SABC, and was not responsible for any irregular spending.

Arguments continue on Wednesday.

Read more on:    public protector  |  sabc  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  thuli madonsela  |  ethics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.