Madonsela never investigated white people - Motsoeneng

Cape Town - Embattled SABC group corporate affairs officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng accused former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela of racism when he spoke on the sidelines of his battle against a DA court bid to have him kicked out of his job.

Moving from calling the Democratic Alliance's application against him in the High Court in Cape Town "racist" and anti-transformation, he questioned why the subjects of Madonsela's investigations were always black.

"When you check even the most previous Public Protector has been targeting black people. [She] has never targeted white people," Motsoeneng told supporters who had waited in the cold for most of the day to hear him speak.

He said both black and white people were capable of being corrupt.

"But have you ever seen in that office of the Public Protector, the former Public Protector, exposing white people?" asked Motsoeneng.

The application against Motsoeneng is based on the Public Protector's 2014 report When Governance and Ethics Fail.

Madonsela had been asked to investigate claims of maladministration, systemic corporate governance deficiencies, abuse of power and the alleged irregular appointment of Motsoeneng by the SABC.

The investigation followed complaints that began in November 2011 when former senior executive Phumelele Ntombela-Nzimande made allegations of financial mismanagement by the SABC board and management and undue interference by then-minister of communications Dina Pule.

Irregular salary increase

More people complained after that, including a group executive, Charlotte Mampane, and other staffers. Madonsela's list of matters to be investigated included claims that Motsoeneng lied about having matriculated, personally purged senior staffers, escalated the salary bill by R29m and got irregular salary increase from R1.5m to R2.4m amongst others.

Madonsela found that there was enough to substantiate most of the allegations, including the termination of the contracts of Ntombela-Nzimande and Mampane and the dismissal of people who had testified against him at a previous disciplinary inquiry.

She found that the board chairperson at the time, Ben Ngubane, had altered the qualification requirements for the position of COO, removing the need for academic qualifications, which the protector felt was an adjustment tailored for Motsoeneng. Pule had also had a hand in the appointment of chief financial officer Gugu Duda, she found.

Madonsela referred to Motsoeneng as dishonest.

Detractors thought that would be the end of his career in the broadcasting world, but instead, his acting COO job was converted to full COO. A disciplinary inquiry that took place after an earlier DA court application resulted in his appointment being declared irrational cleared him.

A subsequent failure to get the "irrational" ruling by Judge Dennis Davis declared invalid led to the SABC indeed removing him as COO. However, he was appointed to a different position, chief executive of corporate affairs.

The DA's application continues on Thursday.

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