The Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, will once again look into Hlaudi Motsoeneng following his permanent appointment as Chief Operations Officer of state broadcaster, SABC.
Thuli Madonsela probed Motsoeneng earlier this year to investigate how the acting Chief Operations Officer managed to raise his salary from R1,5 million to R2,4 million over the course of one year, among other offenses. The Public Protector found that not only had Motsoeneng raised his own salary without due cause, he had also purged senior staff and misrepresented his qualifications to the SABC, allegedly stating that he had passed matric, when he had not. At the time of the report, Madonsela had recommended that the SABC get rid of Motsoeneng and hire a replacement within 90 days. This recommendation was not adhered to.
The Public Protector will now compile a report on the appointment, in which she will investigate whether or not Motsoeneng has the correct qualifications for the job, whether or not the job post was advertised, the overall processes involved in his appointment and finally, why her previous recommendations with regards to the post were not considered.
Madonsela has also requested a meeting with government’s Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi, and SABC to discuss the appointment. Muthambi, who announced Motsoeneng’s appointment as Chief Operations Officer on Tuesday, stated that the decision was based on both recommendations by the SABC board and by SABC appointed lawyers who had apparently cleared Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing.
The Democratic Alliance is currently busy consulting with their legal team to discuss the possibility of the decision to appoint Motsoeneng to be overturned in court. “There is ample prima facie evidence that the decision to appoint Mr Motsoeneng was deeply flawed, irrational and possibly unlawful,” stated Gavin Davis, a Democratic Alliance MP.
According to news service Mail & Guardian, a senior member of the South African Communist Party raised the issue of Motsoeneng’s appointment this week at Wednesday’s cabinet minister’s meeting, only to be told the issue was not on the agenda and would thus not be discussed. This has sparked allegations of President Zuma’s involvement in the appointment, however the presidency released a statement on Saturday afternoon saying that President Zuma had no involvement in the matter and that the allegations were false. “The president has no role to play in the involvement of SABC management or staff and did not play any role in the said appointment. Any reports to the contrary are inaccurate and unfortunate,” the statement released by the presidency read.
The Public Protector will investigate the allegations against the minister for appointing Motsoeneng despite his lack of qualifications and the recruitment process whereby he managed to procure the job of SABC COO.