New disciplinary committee to scrutinise Motsoeneng

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Hlaudi Motsoeneng in court (Jenni Evans, News24).
Hlaudi Motsoeneng in court (Jenni Evans, News24).

Cape Town - A new court-ordered disciplinary committee needs to clear Hlaudi Motsoeneng's name and a Public Protector's report needs to be overturned on review for him to lawfully work at the SABC.

The new disciplinary committee will be chaired by a person ordered by the court, based on names submitted by the DA, the Public Protector and the SABC; and the parties have to agree to the candidate, the Western Cape High Court ruled on Monday.

The DA had applied to have Motsoeneng's latest appointment as group executive of corporate affairs declared invalid after Bessie Tugwana was moved to his old position as chief operations officer (COO) to make way for him after that appointment was declared invalid.

A timeline of two weeks has been set aside for the parties to agree on a chairperson to head the new disciplinary committee and the court will issue a supplementary order to give force to that decision.

The new disciplinary committee will have two months from the start date to finish its work and if not, the court must be informed within a week by an acting chief executive officer (CEO) or COO at the SABC.

The proceedings must be open to the public and the media.

The committee must also examine additional information that surfaced during Motsoeneng's Supreme Court of Appeal application to overturn a previous court finding that his application as COO was invalid. 

These included alleged abuse of power, unauthorised salary increments and dishonesty about his qualifications.

Board declared inquorate

Reading the judgment, Judge Owen Rogers also declared the appointment of Tugwana as acting CEO to make way for Motsoeneng as group executive of corporate affairs unlawful and invalid.

Any decisions Tugwana made before Monday's judgment in that position will remain valid however.

Rogers and colleague Andre Le Grange, who was not present for the judgment, also declared the SABC board inquorate.

The court said with regards to Motsoeneng's appointment as group executive of corporate affairs the SABC had, through CEO James Aguma, violated its constitutional obligations to assist and protect the Public Protector's office and ensure its dignity and effectiveness.

The court also found that the serving of papers on him was valid and rejected his argument that it was not valid because they had been served in Cape Town instead of Johannesburg, where he is based.

The court found that there was nothing stopping him from instructing his attorneys to accept the papers in Cape Town.

Motsoeneng has been ordered to pay his own costs with regards to defending his invalid appointment as group executive of corporate affairs. 

A delighted Mmusi Maimane welcomed the judgment.

"His next move is to go to jail," said the DA leader.

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