10 things about the 'lawfare' over Motsoeneng

Cape Town - Western Cape High Court Judge Dennis Davis declared the appointment of SABC Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng while there was a cloud hanging over his head as "irrational" and unlawful.

He said ''lawfare'' like this, which should be handled elsewhere, was increasingly being handled in court.

Here are 10 things from the battle:

1. In November 2011 Hlaudi Motsoeneng was appointed the acting chief operating officer of public broadcaster the SABC.

2. Complaints surfaced about him and on February 17 2014 the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released her report ''When Governance and Ethics Fail''. She finds he lied about his matric when he applied for his job, he increased his salary in a year from R1.5m to R2.4m, unilaterally increased some executives' salaries and lost the company millions in settlements caused by a staff purge. 

3. A person called Marie Swanepoel made him write the matric symbols on his application from when he was 23. In hindsight, he accepted it was wrong. 

4. The protector recommended that Motsoeneng go through a disciplinary inquiry, that the COO position be filled permanently within 90 days, that the wasted money be recovered.
5. The SABC said the ''Mchunu report'' compiled by its own lawyers, was above the protector's report and cleared Motsoeneng.

6. On July 7 2014 the Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi arrived at a board meeting and conferred with the chairperson of the board. At 23:00 the minister was told that the board had recommended Motsoeneng be appointed permanent COO. She got this in writing on July 8 2014 and announced it. Davis could not accept that she could make such a big decision in 24 hours, with all the reports and documents she would have had to consider.

7. The DA applied for Motsoeneng's appointment to be set aside because of the cloud over his head, and that he be suspended after the minister said the Mchunu report had cleared him.

8. Davis said a bank would not even appoint a deputy manager to its Kroonstad branch with such a cloud hanging over his head.

9. Davis said Motsoeneng is not on trial. He could be cleared at his disciplinary (expected in December) and it would be a bridge too far to order the appointment of a COO within 90 days. Much has been said about his achievements at the SABC and his ''unique ability'' to be the COO of the SABC so it would be unfair to not allow for the possibility that he would be cleared. 

10. If a previous Supreme Court of Appeal judgment that the protector's report has legal status, then the miniser acted irrationally and unlawfully by appointing Motsoeneng COO. The SABC says it will appeal this.

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