SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s lawyer, Zola Majavu,told journalists that the corporation knew his client did not have a matric certificate when he was first hired in 1995.
Majavu, speaking at Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing in Sandton on Monday, said he had witnesses who could prove that his client disclosed to the SABC that he did not have a matric certificate.
He said the man who employed Motsoeneng as a journalist in 1995 knew that he did not have matric.
“I have never doubted my client’s innocence. I have defended many people and this is the one that I will defend till the end… I will not call more than two or three witnesses.
“Most of them are in the employ of the SABC. Most importantly what about the gentleman that employed him in 1995? The same person that nobody checked with, who knew that he did not have a matric qualification. He is still in the employ of the SABC,” Majavu told reporters.
Majavu said he would poke holes in the SABC’s case against his client, saying public protector Thuli Madonsela did not conduct a thorough investigation.
“The question you must ask yourself is why Madonsela did not call this guy who employed him. Everyone knows he was a freelancer for the SABC back then. They went to him in 1995 when they wanted to transform this community radio station.
“This is not news. She [Madonsela] did not uncover anything new. Even the station manager confirmed that he knew. I want to cross-examine those who said he lied. They must come here so I can interrogate them,” Majavu said.
He said a public misconception was that Motsoeneng did not have any qualifications. “He has gone to school, he has qualifications. That never appears in the media.”
The disciplinary hearing comes after the Western Cape high court set aside Motsoeneng’s appointment as the permanent chief operating officer of the SABC, on the grounds that it was irrational in light of the damning findings of public protector against him.
The disciplinary hearing was postponed until Tuesday morning at the request of lead prosecutor Tumisho Phalane.
An irate Majavu told disciplinary hearing chairman Willem Edeling that his client’s life was in limbo because of the constant delays.
“The sooner these charges are tested, the better it is for him. My client’s life is in limbo. His head has been thrown to the slaughter house. My client’s reputation has been tarnished,” a frustrated Majavu told Edeling.
Phalane asked for a postponement because he was not prepared for the hearing. He said the previous initiator, Marooti Ledwaba, had relinquished his role on Sunday night, leaving him no time to prepare.
Edeling said he was not impressed with the postponements.
He said, while he would grant a postponement for Phalane to acquaint himself with the case, he would not give the SABC any more extensions as the hearings had to conclude before 12 December. — News24