DA pleased with Motsoeneng judgment

Cape Town - The DA was pleased it had won a judgment declaring the Communications Minister Faith Muthambi's appointment of suspended SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng unlawful and irrational.

''We were confident,'' DA MP Anneline Lottriet said outside the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

She said it showed state entities had to follow procedure and protect taxpayers' money.

The opposition party would study the judgment handed down to its counsel Anton Katz SC to see how it fitted into the parallel process of Motsoeneng's disciplinary proceedings.

These were expected to continue in December.

DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe explained there were two parts to the action it took to challenge Muthambi's appointment of Motsoeneng.

The first part, confirmed in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), found the SABC was legally obliged to suspend him pending disciplinary proceedings to be brought against him. The second concerned Motsoeneng’s actual appointment.

He said Judge Dennis Davis found Muthambi had not properly applied her mind with the appointment and declared it irrational and unlawful.

“This is an indictment of Minister Muthambi who [has] shown persistent disregard for the rule of law and has managed the SABC as her personal fiefdom, subject only to her patron president Jacob Zuma,” Selfe said.

“Unsurprisingly, and in its vexatious tendencies, the SABC will no doubt continue to waste more taxpayers' money by taking the judgment on appeal to SCA.”

Lied about qualifications

The ink had barely dried on the judgment when Muthambi's office said she planned to appeal it.

“[The] minister has noted the judgment of the court and is going to appeal the judgment,'' ministry spokesperson Mish Molakeng said in an emailed statement to Fin24.

Selfe said these actions come after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report on February 17 2014 with findings that Motsoeneng had lied about his qualifications when applying for the COO position and abused his power by increasing his salary three times in a year from R1.5m to R2.4m.

“Knowing all this, Minister Muthambi still went ahead and permanently appointed a man who was clearly not suitable for the job,” said Selfe.

“The judgment is a resounding victory for every person who values our constitutional democracy and independent public broadcasting. The setting aside of the appointment and suspension of Mr Motsoeneng is an opportunity to start getting the SABC back on track.”

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