Presidency respects Hlaudi court ruling

Cape Town – The Presidency notes and respects the Supreme Court of Appeal's (SCA) ruling on former SABC chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng, it said on Friday.

"At the meeting between government and the judiciary last year, it was re-affirmed that government would respect court rulings," said presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga.

He said government abides by that undertaking.

"The courts are the highest arbiters in disputes in society and all in our country must respect the courts and ensure that the Constitution and the rule of law prevail at all times."

On Tuesday, Motsoeneng reported for duty at the public broadcaster as an "ordinary employee" after the SCA rejected his bid for leave to appeal against a High Court ruling that set aside his permanent appointment as chief operating officer.

Request for re-appointment

At Mandoza's funeral on Friday, he promised that he would come back to the public broadcaster stronger.

"I am stress free," he told mourners.

"I hear people saying Hlaudi is stressed. Hlaudi is stress free. If I was stressed, I wouldn't be able to deliver what I want to deliver. Maybe you are stressed yourself because Hlaudi is delivering."

The communications ministry said on Thursday it had not received any request from the SABC's board for Motsoeneng to be appointed the broadcaster's acting COO.

It however said it was aware of a letter, purporting to be from the SABC's group secretary and addressed to its board, asking it to recommend to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi that she appoint Motsoeneng to the post.

The ministry said it was confident the broadcaster would give due considerations to the SCA's ruling.

"As the shareholder representative our duty is to wait for the SABC to engage us formally on this matter, in line with the mandate of the broadcaster."

According to the letter, dated Monday, the board was asked to make the recommendation at its next meeting on October 28. The appointment would be from September 19 to December 18.

Damning report

Motsoeneng declined to comment and SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago dismissed the letter as a rumour.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found in a report released in February 2014 that Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications when he applied for the post of COO, that he hiked his salary from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year and that he purged senior staff.

Despite these adverse findings, Muthambi confirmed his permanent appointment by the board.

In November 2015 Western Cape High Court Judge Dennis Davis found Motsoeneng's appointment was irrational and unlawful and set it aside. The DA brought the application.

The DA then got a court order forcing the SABC to hold a disciplinary hearing against him but he was cleared of the charges in December 2015.

On May 23 this year, Davis dismissed Motsoeneng's application for leave to appeal against his ruling. Motsoeneng then approached the SCA.

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