The Western Cape High Court has decided to suspend the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) Chief Operating Officer (COO), Hlaudi Motsoening immediately for a period of 60 days.
The judgement states that Motsoeneng be suspended with immediate effect, for 60 days pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.
In February 2014 Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela released a scathing report on Motsoeneng while he was the acting COO.
Madonsela’s findings included but were not limited to, Motsoeneng’s misrepresentation of his matric qualifications to the SABC, his salary increase from R1.5m to R2.4m in the space of one year and that he had purged senior staff.
Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed at the SABC within 90 days. However, in July 2014, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) brought an application for an interim order in early 2014, asking to have Motsoeneng suspended pending a disciplinary hearing, as ordered by Public Protector. In an interim application, filed by the DA in December 2014, the party demanded that a high court order against Motsoeneng be enforced following the Public Protector’s report into alleged bribery at the SABC. They argued that if the order to suspend Motsoeneng was not enforced, the country and the SABC would suffer irreparable damage.
The DA has said this judgment was an important test for the powers of the Public Protector. Standing outside the court, the DA’s James Selfe said, “The implication of this judgment is that organs of state must implement the findings and remedial actions of the Public Protector unless rational grounds, that would stand up in a court, are presented for not doing so.”