Motsoeneng should not be punished for old lies – SABC

Regulation & Policy

The SABC cannot punish its chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng for a lie he told 19 years ago.

This is according to SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala in court papers opposing a court bid by the DA contesting Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment as the COO of the public broadcaster.

In her opposing affidavit, Tshabalala denied that the SABC board and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi rewarded “malfeasance” when appointing Motsoeneng last month. “He has been appointed in the interests of the SABC to achieve its stability going forward,” she argued.

Tshabalala rubbished a report made by public protector Thuli Madonsela, which found that Motsoeneng lied about his matric qualification, gave himself undue salary increases and purged staff members.

“Upon investigation into this recommendation by the public protector, the SABC is satisfied that there has been no irregular spending through unlawful and improper actions of Motsoeneng,” she argued. Tshabalala again cited a report by a law firm which, she said, had cleared Motsoeneng of wrongdoing.

In her report When Ethics and Governance Fails, Madonsela found that Motsoeneng unduly gave himself two salary increases in a period of one year while he was acting COO. Tshabalala went on to attack Madonsela’s report, saying conclusions were reached without giving any factual background.

She dismissed the DA’s call in the founding court papers for Motsoeneng to be sacked, saying issues of suspension and discipline were between employer and employee. “They are guided by considerations of fairness. They are not matters to be decided by the court.”

She argued that there was no urgency for the court to deal with the matter. “Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been in the position of acting COO for more than two years and there is no direct evidence of harm that he has caused to the SABC in that time,” Tshabalala argued.

Madonsela invoked her powers this week against an “uncooperative” Muthambi when she asked the sheriff of the court to serve a subpoena on the minister.

Muthambi denied a meeting request made by Madonsela’s office on July 10, according to the public protector’s spokesperson Kagalelo Msibi.

“The public protector wanted first to hold a discussion with the minister but the minister declined saying it was part of a court battle with the DA. That shouldn’t matter,” Msibi said.

Source: The New Age