DA heads back to court over Hlaudi

Cape Town – The DA is heading back to court amid reports that Hlaudi Motsoeneng will get his job as SABC COO back, although this time in an acting capacity.

Motsoeneng reported for duty at the public broadcaster as an "ordinary employee" this week.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Monday rejected his bid for leave to appeal against a High Court ruling that set aside his permanent appointment as chief operating officer.

However, the communications ministry said on Thursday it was aware of a letter, purporting to be from the SABC's group secretary and addressed to its board, asking it to recommend to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi that she appoint Motsoeneng to the post.

According to the letter, the board was asked to make the recommendation at its next meeting on October 28. The appointment would be from September 19 to December 18.

DA federal executive chair James Selfe said on Sunday this was "a slap in the face of the rule of law".

He said they were left with no other option but to go back to court. The party would brief the media on the court action in due course.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found in a report released in February 2014 that Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications when he applied for the post of COO, that he hiked his salary from R1.5 million to R2.4 million in one year, and that he purged senior staff.

Despite these adverse findings, Muthambi confirmed his permanent appointment by the board.

Respect SCA ruling

In November 2015, Western Cape High Court Judge Dennis Davis found Motsoeneng's appointment was irrational and unlawful and set it aside. The DA brought the application.

The DA then got a court order forcing the SABC to hold a disciplinary hearing against him. He was cleared of the charges in December 2015.

On May 23 this year, Davis dismissed Motsoeneng's application for leave to appeal against his ruling. Motsoeneng then approached the SCA, but found little joy.

At kwaito star Mandoza's funeral on Friday, Motsoeneng promised he would come back to the public broadcaster stronger.

"I am stress free," he told mourners.

"I hear people saying Hlaudi is stressed. Hlaudi is stress free. If I was stressed, I wouldn't be able to deliver what I want to deliver. Maybe you are stressed yourself because Hlaudi is delivering."

The presidency quickly moved to send out a statement saying it noted and respected the SCA's ruling.

On the appointment rumours, Motsoeneng declined to comment to News24 or City Press.

A rumour

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago dismissed the letter as a rumour when contacted on Thursday.

The communications ministry said at the time it was confident the broadcaster would give due considerations to the SCA's ruling.

"As the shareholder representative our duty is to wait for the SABC to engage us formally on this matter, in line with the mandate of the broadcaster."

According to City Press on Sunday, "impeccable sources" confirmed that Motsoeneng was given R11.4 million in two payments as a commission or bonus for his role in a R500 million SABC deal with entertainment and internet company Multichoice.

It reported that the commission would total R33 million over three years.

Selfe responded: "This is nothing more than SABC-endorsed plunder of its own resources to the benefit of just one man."

 

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