DA heading to court over Motsoeneng, again

2016-03-10 13:02

Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance has asked the Western Cape High Court to order a new disciplinary inquiry into SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The party wanted the disciplinary inquiry that cleared Motsoeneng of all charges in December last year to be set aside, the party's federal executive chairperson James Selfe said on Thursday.

The inquiry “amounted to nothing more than a stitch-up to shield him from accountability which we contend is at odds with the remedial actions as ordered by the Public Protector”, he said.

It wanted the court to order that an independent and impartial disciplinary inquiry into Motsoeneng’s fitness to hold office be re-established.

Motsoeneng faced three charges - lying about having a matric certificate, sacking senior staff members, and increasing his own salary three times in one year. He was cleared in the internal disciplinary hearing, chaired by Advocate Willem Edeling.

Selfe said they were unsurprised by the outcome.

In February 2014, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found in her report “When Governance and Ethics Fail”, that Motsoeneng’s SABC appointment was irregular and that he be removed from his post. His salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year, he purged senior staff, and he misrepresented his qualifications to the SABC. 

Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed within 90 days. Communications Minister Faith Muthambi permanently appointed him as COO in July that year, saying there was nothing irregular about his appointment.

The DA took the matter to court. In October 2014, Western Cape High Court Judge Ashton Schippers ordered that Motsoeneng be suspended for 60 days pending a disciplinary inquiry into his alleged misconduct.

Motsoeneng appealed. In October 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal upheld Schippers’ ruling. It however rejected that part of his ruling in which he said Madonsela’s rulings were not binding.

Motsoeneng lodged an appeal with the Constitutional Court, but withdrew it when the disciplinary inquiry cleared him.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said he would not be able to respond until the broadcaster had seen the court papers.

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