The SABC will comment on Thursday’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) ruling regarding its COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng once all the relevant people had been consulted.
They would study the judgment and only then issue a formal response, spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said.
The SCA dismissed Motsoeneng’s appeal against a Western Cape High Court ruling. The High Court ordered in October 2014 that Motsoeneng be suspended until a disciplinary hearing against him had been finalised.
The SCA also considered the authority of the public protector’s office, a matter on which the Western Cape High Court had made findings. High Court Judge Ashton Schippers had said the public protector’s findings were not binding or enforceable, but that a definite ruling on the matter was needed.
In a report released in February 2014, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found “pathological corporate governance deficiencies at the SABC”.
She found Motsoeneng’s appointment as acting chief operating officer, along with his salary hike from R1.5m to R2.4m in one fiscal year, irregular. He had fraudulently misrepresented to the SABC that he had a matric qualification.
Madonsela recommended that disciplinary steps be taken against him.
Instead the SABC appointed a firm of lawyers to investigate the veracity of Madonsela’s findings. The internal inquiry exonerated him.
On July 7 2014, the SABC and communications minister permanently appointed Motsoeneng as the SABC’s COO.
The DA then approached the Western Cape High Court for an order that he be suspended pending a disciplinary inquiry, and that his appointment as COO be set aside. The latter matter was still being finalised in court.
The SCA said the public protector’s office was a venerable institution and its remedial action could not be ignored. A person or organisation could not launch a parallel investigation and then decide that its outcome trumped the public protector’s findings and recommendations.
The public protector was a watchdog and should not be muzzled, the SCA said.