Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s actions have been characterised as gross insubordination warranting immediate dismissal, the disciplinary inquiry heard on Thursday.
SABC’s advocate Antone Myburgh told disciplinary inquiry chair Nazeem Cassim SC that Motsoeneng had brought the SABC into disrepute.
“There has been actionable misconduct in terms of the media policy and he deliberately caused negative reporting of the SABC in the media.”
Motsoeneng’s charges of bringing the SABC into disrepute follow his press briefing on April 19 were he lashed out at the newly appointed SABC board.
“He was grossly insubordinate… The hallmark of gross insubordination is conduct that inexcusably undermines the authority of management, that’s precisely what he did.”
He said when Motsoeneng set himself on a collision course with management, he should have accepted the consequences.
Motsoeneng is also in hot waters over his utterances at the same media briefing were he accused Justice Andre Le Grange of biases and being compromised during the SABC8 labour dispute.
Myburgh said Motsoeneng’s accusations that Le Grange’s wife was working for the legal team that represented the SABC8 and was therefore impartial, was in itself grounds for dismissal.
“Mr chairman, you have practiced labour law for a very long time. I would be very surprised if you have ever come across an employee that has committed more serious misconduct when viewed in context of a senior man at the SABC.”
He said Motsoeneng engaged in mudslinging with the employer.
“He told the public that they (SABC board) are an unemployable and a useless bunch… these are his principals, this is a board of directors. This is extraordinary misconduct.”
Myburgh said Motsoeneng trashed the ad-hoc committee by saying that it contributed to the mess at the public broadcaster.
“He doesn’t stop there… he then weighs in and is contentious with the justice of the labour court… it’s quite unbelievable.”
He said as a lawyer, comments made by Motsoeneng left him cold, suggesting that his statements against the judge alone were grounds for dismissal.
“…He lays into the judge… All we need to know is just explain how you can escape dismissal if you say this about a judge of the labour courts? Not only is he guilty of misconduct, but it is very serious misconduct.”
Advocate Andy Bester for Motsoeneng said they would be approaching the labour courts to collapse the hearings.
During the hearing, Motsoeneng was often seen smiling when comments he made during his press briefing against SABC board member Krish Naidoo were read out.
Motsoeneng could not be drawn on any questions put to him by journalists after the proceedings adjourned.
Motsoeneng also lost his bid to have his disciplinary hearing collapsed into a CCMA process.
Motsoeneng had made an application for the matter to be heard concurrently with other charges against him at the CCMA, his lawyer Andy Bester said at his disciplinary hearing.