There is much furore over the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as the SABC’s Chief Operations Officer. The Democratic Alliance (DA) has decided to take this matter to court so that this appointment can be set aside.
This all started from the Public Protector’s investigation of the subject, which appeared early this year, in which she found that Hlaudi lied when he first applied to the state broadcaster. He had indicated that he was in possession of a Matric certificate when he knew for a fact that he had not written the examination. In a document which was termed “When Governance and Ethics Fail”, Madonsela found that he had fraudulently represented to the board that he had completed matric at Metsimantsho High School in QwaQwa, which was not true.
In addition, the Public Protector also found that Motsoeneng’s salary progression was irregular in that he had received salary appraisals three times per year, which led to the hiking of his salary from R1.5 million to R2.4 million. The report added that, had he not lied about his qualification, Mr Motsoeneng would never have been appointed in 1995. This report followed the confirmation of Mr Motsoeneng from an acting position to being a substantive Chief Operations Officer.
On Monday, the leader of the Democratic Alliance, Hellen Zille, told journalists that her party would apply to the High court before the end of the week to have the appointment of Motsoeneng reviewed and set aside as irrational. In particular, she said that in the light of the Public Protector’s findings and report, it did not make sense for the post of the Chief Operations Officer to be made substantive. She added that the only evidence that the board and Communications minister had seen Madonsela’s report was when Minister Muthambi said that an independent law firm had cleared Motsoeneng of any wrong doing. Zille argued that there was no way in which a mere law firm’s report could supersede a report from a chapter nine institution. This, in her view, could only be done by a court of law. She added that the fact that there were no other candidates that had been considered for the job was also problematic. She said that when appointing a person to such a high profile post, it would have been necessary to consider a variety of candidates and the fact that it had not been done in this case made the appointment irrational.
The opposition leader also added that her party would call for a parliamentary debate on what it will take for South Africans to have a public broadcaster which performed the service demanded of it. In addition, she said that her party would require that Communications minister, Faith Muthambi ,explain to the communications portfolio committee on the decision to appoint Motsoeneng permanently.