Party leader Helen Zille said at a press conference in Cape Town on Monday that the DA will serve papers on communications minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC board. The application will be heard at the high court in Gauteng.
“We believe there is a strong legal case that Motsoeneng’s appointment was irrational given the public protector’s findings against him,” Zille said in a statement.
“Our high court application seeks to have the appointment of Mr Motsoeneng reviewed and set aside as being irrational.”
The decision last week by the SABC to name Motsoeneng to the chief operating officer position on a permanent basis — he had been acting in the role for the past two years — has unleashed a storm of criticism. The DA has said the appointment flies in the face of public protector Thuli Madonsela’s report, which found that Motsoeneng had lied about his qualifications to secure employment at the public broadcaster. He also irregularly boosted his own salary and those of other employees, the report said.
Zille said the board did not take Madonsela’s findings into consideration when appointing Motsoeneng as permanent SABC chief operating officer.
“Appointing someone who was known to be dishonest and willing to abuse his power could never be rational,” she said. “This is especially true in this case. The Broadcasting Act requires the chief operating officer to be committed to openness and accountability, and to the principles of the SABC charter, including good governance.
“The only evidence that the board and the minister applied their mind to the public protector’s report was the minister’s recent statement that an independent law firm considered the report and ‘cleared Mr Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing’.
“But it is not possible for a law firm’s report to trump the report of a [constitutionally independent] chapter nine institution, much less clear a person of wrongdoing. Only a court can do that. Incidentally, it appears from articles in the media yesterday that the law firm in question has denied that its report cleared Mr Motsoeneng.”
In addition, Zille said that no other candidates were considered for the position, in contravention of the SABC’s articles of association.
The decision was also “irrational”.
“When appointing a person to such a post, it would be necessary to consider a variety of possible candidates in order to find the person best suited. It appears that the board did not perform that exercise. That renders the appointment irrational.” — © 2014 NewsCentral Media