Faith says Hlaudi is simply the best for SABC
Hlaudi Motsoeneng is still the best man to run the SABC, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi – and she has gone back to court to prove it.
This despite Public Protector Thuli Madonsela revealing that Motsoeneng lied to the broadcaster about his qualifications. Civil-society groups have questioned Motsoeneng’s leadership – most recently his decision to ban the broadcasting of footage showing protesters destroying property and looting.
Yesterday, Muthambi filed an application for leave to appeal against a Cape Town High Court ruling that invalidated Motsoeneng’s appointment. In court papers she says the high court made “a number of errors of fact”, and wants the Supreme Court of Appeal to overturn the ruling. Muthambi says it was her prerogative as minster to appoint Motsoeneng.
“The public protector’s report did not prohibit the appointment of Mr Motsoeneng as COO, nor did it require that the disciplinary process take place prior to the decision to appoint a new COO. On the contrary, the report recommended that urgent steps be taken to fill the vacancy. The minister interpreted this to mean that there was nothing preventing the appointment of Mr Motsoeneng to that position,” she said in her affidavit.
Cape Town High Court Judge Dennis Davis refused an application for leave to appeal against his ruling that Motsoeneng’s appointment was invalid. The latest efforts to protect Motsoeneng have drawn criticism. The DA, respondents in the High Court case, said they were confident that the Supreme Court of Appeal would dismiss Muthambi’s application.
“This is the latest in a two-year legal battle by Mr Motsoeneng and the SABC to keep him in office despite a laundry list of infractions that clearly show that Mr Motsoeneng was never an appropriate candidate to hold the office of COO,” the party said. It condemned Motsoeneng’s continuation in office as an indication of the contempt that the ANC and government agencies had for the rule of law.
“This just shows, by wanting to set aside the ruling, that she is just fighting for her man, despite his incompetence and disregard . of basic journalistic ethics. This is because he has been politically employed,” said Micah Reddy, spokesman for NGO Right2Know. He said Motsoeneng’s retention was part of plans to centrally control the state broadcaster.
“This is the most worrying case of state capture. Millions of people rely on the state broadcaster,” he said. Yesterday spokesman for the public protector, Oupa Segalwe, said that although they had not read the court papers as yet, Madonsela’s office would be defending the case.
In November Judge Davis ruled on an application brought by the DA that Motsoeneng’s appointment was irrational and should be set aside. This was in light of a report by Madonsela, who found that he had falsified his qualifications and had awarded himself and others irregular salary increases.
Motsoeneng was made acting COO in 2011 and his permanent appointment was confirmed in 2014. Last year the DA secured a court order that forced the public broadcaster to convene a disciplinary hearing against Motsoeneng. That case also went to the Supreme Court of Appeal – but in December he was cleared of all charges by the SABC. William Bird, director of Media Monitoring Africa, last night said he was at a loss over the latest appeal. “I don’t know why she is doing this when the public protector’s report is still there and clear.”