SCA Motsoeneng ruling a triple victory for SA - Vavi

2015-10-08 22:25
Zwelinzima Vavi (Netwerk24)

Zwelinzima Vavi (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The Supreme Court of Appeal's rejection of SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appeal on Thursday against an earlier high court ruling was a triple victory for South Africa, former Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.

"Firstly it vindicates all those like the Save Our SABC Coalition who have been campaigning doggedly for years to reform and transform our public broadcaster, including demanding that disciplinary action be taken against Motsoeneng," he said in a statement.

"Secondly it is a victory for the Unite Against Corruption [UAC] Coalition, which is fighting to stop the looting of our public institutions for the benefit of politically, connected individuals."

Thirdly, it was a victory for the office of the public protector, as it confirmed its constitutional right to demand action against anyone found to acting illegally in our public service.

Earlier on Thursday, the SABC said it would comment on the SCA's ruling regarding Hlaudi Motsoeneng once all the relevant people had been consulted. They would study the judgment and only then issue a formal response, spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said.

The SCA dismissed Motsoeneng's appeal against a Western Cape High Court ruling. The High Court ordered in October 2014 that Motsoeneng be suspended until a disciplinary hearing against him had been finalised.

The SCA also considered the authority of the public protector's office, a matter on which the Western Cape High Court had made findings. High Court Judge Ashton Schippers had said the public protector's findings were not binding or enforceable, but that a definite ruling on the matter was needed.

In a report released in February 2014, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found "pathological corporate governance deficiencies at the SABC".

She found Motsoeneng's appointment as acting chief operating officer, along with his salary hike from R1.5m to R2.4m in one fiscal year, irregular. He had fraudulently misrepresented to the SABC that he had a matric qualification.

Madonsela recommended that disciplinary steps be taken against him.

Instead the SABC appointed a firm of lawyers to investigate the veracity of Madonsela's findings. The internal inquiry exonerated him.

The SCA said the public protector's office was a venerable institution and its remedial action could not be ignored. A person or organisation could not launch a parallel investigation and then decide that its outcome trumped the public protector’s findings and recommendations.

The public protector was a watchdog and should not be muzzled, the SCA said.

Vavi said it was even more urgent that action be taken, since Motsoeneng had since been awarded a further salary increase of around R1m by the SABC board and had not faced disciplinary action.

He said the findings of the Public Protector should be implemented, the budget of the office of the Public Protector must be increased, and public contempt and vilification of the Public Protector should be subject to criminal prosecution.

Read more on:    sabc  |  zwelenzima vavi  |  hlaudi motsoeneng

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