Public Protector to launch new investigation into Motsoeneng

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will launch a new investigation into SABC chief operations officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng following his permanent appointment to the post, her spokeswoman said on Friday, 11 July 2014.

“The investigation will focus on the process followed in the appointment of Mr Motsoeneng which is at odds with the SABC’s Articles of Association,” Kgalalelo Masibi said in an e-mail to Sapa.

“The Public Protector has received complaints regarding allegations of maladministration and improper and unethical conduct in the appointment of Mr Motsoeneng. The allegations are that the minister appointed [him] despite him not being suitably qualified.”

The investigation will consider what process was followed in the appointment, whether he has the qualifications required for the post, whether the post was advertised, and why recommendations in her previous report against him were ignored.

In February, Madonsela released a report against Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO. She found that his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his qualifications – that he passed matric – to the SABC.

At the time, Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed to the SABC within 90 days.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s appointment on Tuesday, saying the decision was taken following a recommendation by the SABC board. She said he was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before being appointed permanently.

Madonsela has requested a meeting with Muthambi and the SABC over the appointment, said Masibi.

“She wanted to meet with them so that they can explain to her what happened to the remedial action, as stipulated in her previous report,” she said.

The Democratic Alliance on Friday welcomed the move by Madonsela, saying Motsoeneng was “bad news” for South Africa.

“There is ample prima facie evidence that the decision to appoint Mr Motsoeneng was deeply flawed, irrational and possibly unlawful,” said DA MP Gavin Davis in a statement.

“The post was not advertised and no candidates were shortlisted and interviewed…[and] Mr Motsoeneng is not in possession of the qualifications required for the post.”

The party was also consulting with its legal team to assess the possibility of having his new appointment overturned in court.

“Mr Motsoeneng is bad news for every South African who values independent public broadcasting. We will keep fighting to ensure that justice and common sense prevails,” he said.

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Public Protector to launch new investigation into Motsoeneng