Motsoeneng may sue, claims smear campaign

Cape Town - SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng is considering suing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela for crimen injuria, and says the case against him is politically motivated, according to an affidavit.

Beeld reported on Friday that Motsoeneng submitted an affidavit to the Western Cape High Court on Thursday in answer to the Democratic Alliance's urgent application to have him dismissed.

In the affidavit he denied any guilt and said he was the victim of a smear campaign.

Libellous

He also said the protector's findings against him were libellous and contained a number of false statements and errors.

This comes after the public protector released a report on Motsoeneng in February, while he was still acting COO, in which she found that he had misrepresented his matric qualifications, increased his salary from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year and had purged senior staff, Sapa reported.

Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed, but Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced in July that he had been cleared of all wrongdoing, and was permanently appointed to the position. The DA then launched  a court bid to have his appointment set aside.

According to Beeld, Motsoeneng said in the affidavit that his appointment was not irrational or illegal. He denied committing fraud or abusing his position and also denied admitting that he lied about his matric, saying the SABC was satisfied with his qualifications.

Motsoeneng added that it would be unfair to suspend or dismiss him as this would create the impression that he was guilty.

Communications minister files papers

Meanwhile, Muthambi also filed court papers, saying she did not direct the SABC board to appoint Motsoeneng on a permanent basis, but merely rubber-stamped the recommendation of the SABC board, Beeld reported. She said she was satisfied that he had the necessary experience for the position.

Muthambi added that she was concerned about the protector's findings against Motsoeneng.

Earlier this week, SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala said Motsoeneng should not be punished for misrepresenting his matric qualifications 19 years ago, and said he had been appointed in the interests of the SABC.

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