The Communications minister, Faith Muthambi, on Tuesday told parliament that the appointment of the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng was legal. Ms Muthambi was speaking before the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications for the purpose of briefing the members of parliament on the remedial action that had been taken in response to Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s report on the national broadcaster.
The Communications minister refused to go into details of the appointment but expended her energies in attempting to contradict issues raised by the public protector. She said that she would not discuss the details because the matter was still sub judice, as the Democratic Alliance had taken the matter to court. The Western Cape High Court heard the matter but judgement was set aside. The MP for DA, Gavin Davies was not impressed by the minister’s attitude and said she was hiding behind the sub judice rule in order to avoid answering the questions put to her by the MPs. However, the chairperson of the portfolio committee, African National Congress’s Joice Moloi Moropa said she did not see anything wrong with the minister’s response as the matter would not remain sub judice forever after, which she would be in a able to explain her position.
The matter follows the minister’s confirmation of Motsoeneng as the Chief Operations Officer of the SABC despite the adverse public protector’s report, which, among other things, found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had lied that he did have a matric certificate. In addition, Hlaudi was also accused by the public ombudsman of perpetually increasing his own salary to unreasonable levels when he was still in an acting capacity. Motsoeneng was also accused of culling fellow employees at SABC who did not agree with him. In her response, the minister said that the SABC had provided the Public Protector with proof that Motsoeneng had not lied about his qualifications while the salary increments had been approved in terms of the standing Human resources policies. Minister Muthambi argued that there was no issue of purging of employees as the workers in question had left the cooperation for various reasons.