New communications minister, Faith Muthambi, lied to the SABC board to appoint Hlaudi Motsoeneng as SABC COO, the Sunday Times reported.
According to the newspaper Muthambi ignored the fact that no formal settlement was reached with former SABC COO Mvuzo Mbebe, which means that Muthambi may be in contempt of court.
Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s appointment in Pretoria on 8 July 2014, saying she had made the appointment following a recommendation by the SABC board.
She said on Thursday 10 July 2014 that Motsoeneng was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before being permanently appointed as the public broadcaster’s new chief operations officer
“The appointment of the independent law firm by the SABC board to investigate all the issues raised by the public protector was the most responsible way to deal with the public protector’s report,” Muthambi said.
“The SABC board and myself are satisfied that the report by the appointed firm of attorneys has cleared Mr Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing and therefore there was nothing before me that suggested that I should not confirm the appointment.”
However, the Sunday Times reported that Titus Mchunu from Mchunu Attorney’s, linked to this investigation by the newspaper, distanced himself from the opinion.
Motsoeneng’s appointment drew sharp criticism from the public and from political parties, especially after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report that he is not fit for the position.
“The appointment of Mr Motsoeneng constitutes gross disregard of a series of investigations and audits into the SABC relating to governance and administration,” SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo said in a statement.
Lobby group AfriForum said the appointment indicated the SABC board had “refrained from heeding” the Public Protector’s earlier proposals.
Deputy CEO Alana Bailey said in a statement the move was “a further example of disrespect for the Constitution and constitutional institutions that exist to protect the public against abuse of power and mismanagement”.
Last week, political parties called for Motsoeneng to be relieved of his duties. This was after Motsoeneng suggested journalists should have a licence to practice, as in the medical and law professions.
A Sunday Independent report said that Muthambi will be hauled before parliament to explain her decision to appoint Motsoeneng.
She may also have to explain herself to an internal ANC committee because of pressure from its alliance partners, Cosatu and the SACP.
Madonsela will launch a new investigation into Motsoeneng following his permanent appointment to the SABC COO post.
Reporting with Sapa