The Democratic Alliance’s bid to have the appointment of SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng set aside will be heard in the Western Cape high court this month, the party said on Friday. “It will take place on 19 August,” said DA MP Gavin Davis.
In February, public protector Thuli Madonsela released a report on Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO. She found that his salary increased from R1,5m to R2,4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC. Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed to the SABC within 90 days.
In July, communications minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment. She said he was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before the decision was made.
The DA then launched a high court bid to have his appointment set aside. Muthambi and the SABC filed opposing court papers.
The Beeld reported that SABC board chair Zandile Tshabalala, in her court papers, rubbished Madonsela’s report.
Tshabalala claims the broadcaster knew from day one that Motsoeneng did not have matric.
Tshabalala said he was not dishonest, had never misled the SABC, and was not responsible for any irregular spending.
Her 70-page statement was filed at court on Thursday, according to the Beeld.
However, The New Age reported on Muthambi’s court papers on Friday, which implied that she was not aware of Motsoeneng’s matric qualification.
“I was concerned by the findings in the public protector’s report that the eighth respondent [Motsoeneng] had lied to the first respondent [SABC] about his qualifications,” Muthambi was quoted as saying in her court papers.
Muthambi said she raised her concerns with Tshabalala.
The newspaper reported that Tshabalala then took to convincing the minister that Motsoeneng had sufficient experience to run the public broadcaster.
Muthambi said that after the discussion she was satisfied with Motsoeneng taking up the post.
Madonsela has launched another investigation into how Motsoeneng was appointed COO.
This week, she subpoenaed Muthambi as part of her investigation.
“The public protector wrote to the minister last month requesting a meeting and the minister responded by saying that, as the matter is a subject of an ongoing court process, she was not going to avail herself for a meeting,” Madonsela’s spokeswoman Kgalalelo Masibi told Sapa.
“The public protector decided to subpoena the minister because attempts to persuade her to meet have been ignored by the minister.” — Sapa