SABC drops attorneys who cleared Hlaudi

2016-10-09 06:29

SABC (Waldo Swiegers)

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The SABC has parted ways with Mchunu Attorneys, the law firm that cleared former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing despite the findings of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her 2014 report, called When Governance and Ethics Fail.

The law firm came to the fore when it was appointed by the SABC to consider and investigate the veracity of the findings and recommendations by the Public Protector.

In February 2014, Madonsela released the report on Motsoeneng – when he was acting chief operating officer – and found that his salary had increased from R1.5 million to R2.4 million in one year, that he had purged senior staff and misrepresented his qualifications.

Madonsela recommended that a new chief operating officer be appointed within 90 days.

But five months later, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced the permanent appointment of Motsoeneng in that position.

Muthambi said Motsoeneng was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before the decision was made.

It later emerged that the legal firm was Mchunu Attorneys.

Then chairperson of the SABC board, Ellen Tshabalala, said:

“The SABC is satisfied that Mr Motsoeneng did not defraud it or mislead it. The Public Protector’s findings of dishonesty and fraud are at variance with objective facts.”

In its report, the firm found the SABC board had not ignored the findings of the Public Protector and had sought advice on how to deal with the report.

Based on the advice the board received, it considered it appropriate to conclude Motsoeneng did not mislead the SABC about his qualifications.

Since this report, Mchunu Attorneys has been the SABC’s law firm of choice and represented the public broadcaster in a string of legal matters until about two weeks ago.

Director of Mchunu Attorneys, Titus Mchunu, was not willing to divulge details of the status of his firm’s relationship with the SABC, referring questions to the public broadcaster.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the corporation had the right to appoint any legal representative when the need arose.

“We would therefore not discuss our relationship with any of our legal representatives in the media.”

City Press has seen correspondence from Mchunu Attorneys dated September 15 in which the firm informs parties involved in the Constitutional Court case that it was withdrawing from the matter.

A day later, the SABC informed the same parties of the appointment of Werkmans Attorneys as its new attorneys in the matter.

Read more on:    sabc  |  hlaudi ­motsoeneng  |  thuli madonsela

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