The Democratic Alliance has described SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing as a “stitch-up” and said it is not surprised by its outcome.
On Saturday, it was announced on SABC television that an internal hearing had “discharged” the controversial Motsoeneng of the charges levelled against him. He was facing three charges, including one that he had lied about having a matric to secure a job at the state-run broadcaster.
Chairman of the DA’s federal executive, James Selfe, described the hearing as “the whitewash we always suspected it would be”. He said the party will now seek access to the transcript of the hearings and will “almost certainly take this decision on review on the grounds that it makes a mockery of the rule of law, the public protector’s report and Judge Dennis Davis’s judgment”.
The DA had brought a successful application to the high court seeking to have Motsoeneng suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing “that needed to be independent, fair and comprehensive”, Selfe said.
According to Selfe, the chairman of the disciplinary hearing, Adv Willem Edeling, was appointed only a week ago and “didn’t properly allow himself to consider all the facts”.
In addition to this, the hearing itself was truncated and key witnesses were not called or were unavailable to provide key evidence in relation to Motsoneneg’s gross misconduct, he said. Also, the disciplinary inquiry ordered by the public protector, Thuli Madonsela, was “not satisfactorily engaged, which is bizarre considering that this is the disciplinary inquiry [she]ordered”.
Furthermore, judgments by the high court and the supreme court of appeal “were not duly engaged even though asserting that Motsoeneng is in fact not a fit and proper person and that his permanence at the SABC is irrational on its face and should be set aside”, Selfe said.
“It is completely preposterous that the chairperson, erring in due process, can come to the determination that Motsoeneng is a suitable person to hold his position as chief operating officer,” he said.
“We submit that this farcical stitch-up job and its outcome are exactly what Motsoeneng, the SABC and the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, concocted from the very beginning and have done everything in their power to frustrate this crucial process that has severe implications for the independence of our national broadcaster as prescribed by the constitutional precepts that this entity is enjoined by.
“The DA will not accept this decision that cannot be rational or tenable in law and we will take it on review.” — © 2015 NewsCentral Media