High Court dismisses SABC appeal to keep Motsoeneng as COO

The Western Cape High Court has upheld a ruling that deemed SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment  at the public broadcaster as irrational.

The court dismissed the SABC and Motsoeneng’s application for leave to appeal the ruling, which originally found that Motsoeneng’s appointment was irrational and unlawful and thus set it aside.

“It was found that the SABC was legally obliged to suspend Mr Motsoeneng pending disciplinary proceedings to be brought against him,” the DA said in a statement following the dismissal of the application.

“This is an indictment of Minister Muthambi who shown persistent disregard for the Rule of Law and has managed the SABC as her personal fiefdom, subject only to her patron President Jacob Zuma.”

Judge Dennis Davis at the time of handing down judgement described the information before the Minister at the time of the appointment of  Motsoeneng as “muddled and unclear” and that it put her “in no position to exercise a rational decision to elevate Mr Motsoeneng, whose tenure as acting COO had already been placed in severe doubt”.

This was particularly in view of the very clear and damning findings of the Public Protector on his appointment, the DA said.

Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s report released on 17 February 2014 found that Motsoeneng:

  • Lied about his qualifications when applying for the COO position
  • Acted in bad faith and abused his power by increasing his salary three times in the space of one year; from R1.5 million to R2.4 million
  • Was responsible for the “purging” of senior staff that cost the SABC “millions of Rand due to procedural and substantive injustices confirmed in findings of the CCMA and the courts.”
  • Irregularly increased the salaries of various staff members, increasing the SABC’s salary bill by R29 million.

“Knowing all this, Minister Muthambi still went ahead and permanently appointed a man who was clearly not suitable for the job,” the party said.

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High Court dismisses SABC appeal to keep Motsoeneng as COO