Pule told SABC radio that Motsoeneng would remain in the position because the board was not properly constituted when it met to make the decision to remove him, and that made his removal illegal.
“I said to them: ‘Please, board, if you want to make that decision, go back and regularise your meeting and regularise your decision.’ Once they do that, I do not have a problem,” Pule said in an interview on SABC radio.
But later on Thursday, a majority of the public broadcaster’s board members said their decision to remove the chief operating officer stood.
“The board meeting [on 25 February] was properly constituted and the decision to release Mr Motsoeneng from acting chief operating officer stands,” board member Lumko Mtimde said on behalf of the board’s majority.
On 26 February, the broadcaster announced that Motsoeneng had been “released from his duties”.
It said Mike Siluma, a veteran journalist and head of radio news and current affairs, had been appointed to the acting position.
Shortly after this, SABC chairman Ben Ngubane was quoted in a newspaper report as saying Motsoeneng had been reinstated. He said his deputy Thami ka Plaatjie had made the decision.
This prompted the board to issue a media statement according to which “the report … is regrettable as neither the chairman nor the deputy chairman nor both have the power or authority to unilaterally change a board resolution”.
The board said it would seek clarity from Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie on the newspaper report.
Ngubane and Ka Plaatjie have resigned, after weeks of renewed tension at the public broadcaster.
President Jacob Zuma received their joint letter of resignation on Monday. He was still considering on Tuesday whether to accept it.
Since then, Pule has askedpParliament to “urgently” review the board’s fitness. — Sapa