Former SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng will remain an employee at the public broadcaster, SABC board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe said on Tuesday.
“Mr Motsoeneng is still an employee. He would be going back to the position he held which is GE of corporate affairs, and that is his previous position.”
Maguvhe said there was a perception in the media and among politicians that the SABC did not respect the courts and the public protector’s office.
“Today is the day I want to put the record straight. That record is that there is a perception being created by opposition parties and media that the SABC doesn’t respect our legal institutions. We respect our legal institutions. Among them the [public protector’s]office and the courts.”
Maguvhe said the SABC followed recommendations from public protector Thuli Madonsela but the Democratic Alliance was dissatisfied with the outcome because it had its own agenda.
“We adhered to that advice… Unfortunately, when things do not go your way, you think processes were not followed. After that disciplinary hearing, the DA says it was a white wash. When the DA wins cases, I don’t cry and say it was a whitewash.”
He said the judgment by the supreme court of appeal stated that Motsoeneng could hold any position at the SABC including the position of chief operating officer if requirements are met.
Acting group CEO James Aguma said: “He will be contributing to effecting the strategy of development. His role will be dealing with stakeholders … and also broad corporate affairs. Fundamentally, his contribution is around raising our capital.”
Aguma praised Motsoeneng’s contribution to the SABC while in the position of chief operating officer. He said Motsoeneng was instrumental in the SABC’s transformation agenda.
Maguvhe said when the position of chief operating officer is advertised, Motsoeneng has a right to apply.
He said he was concerned by interference from society and opposition parties. “They are the ones that are destabilising this organisation.”
Motsoeneng’s application for leave to appeal against a ruling to set aside his appointment as the chief operating officer at the public broadcaster was dismissed by the supreme court of appeal.
Following the appeal court ruling, Motsoeneng reported for duty at the public broadcaster as an “ordinary employee”.
“He tended to his services this morning,” his lawyer, Zola Majavu, said at the time.
This comes after the public protector found in a report released in February 2014 that Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications when he applied for the post of chief operating officer, that he hiked his salary from R1,5m to R2,4m in one year and purged senior staff.
Despite these adverse findings, communications minister Faith Muthambi confirmed his permanent appointment by the board.
In November 2015, the Western Cape high court found Motsoeneng’s appointment was irrational and unlawful and set it aside. The DA brought the application.
The DA 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 23 May this year, judge Dennis Davis dismissed his application for leave to appeal. Motsoeneng then approached the appeal court.