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DA won’t rule out possibility of successful bid by SABC

The SABC’s legal team is arguing that the appointment of Motsoeneng was a management decision and not an exercise of public power.

A screengrab of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as he and the SABC board appear before Parliament's Communications Portfolio Committee on 5 October, 2016.

CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it’s not ruling out the possibility of a successful bid by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) for leave to appeal a High Court ruling against its former employee Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

In December, the Western Cape High Court ruled Motsoeneng must be removed from the position of SABC Group Executive of Corporate Affairs after an application brought by the DA.

This week, the High Court heard an application by the public broadcaster to appeal the ruling.

The SABC’s legal team is arguing that the appointment of Motsoeneng was a management decision and not an exercise of public power, which would render the court’s ruling on the matter powerless.

The DA’s James Selfe says the issue is a “complex” matter.

“Leave to appeal is a reasonable prospect of appeal and it’s whether or not the arguments advanced by the SABC are sufficient to jump over that particular hurdle so certify the court that there’s a reasonable prospect of another court will come to a different conclusion.”

The court found his appointment was unlawful and unconstitutional and that he should face a fresh disciplinary hearing.

Parliament’s Communications Committee chair Humphries Maxegwana said it will set up an “urgent” meeting with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi to establish the reason for the application.

“We were made aware of this by the media on Friday morning.”

Selfe said the public broadcaster has argued Motsoeneng’s appointment was not a public matter.

“The employment of Mr Motsoeneng as an executive director was a management decision and was not the exercise of public power, therefore it was incompetence for the court to review that decision.”

Selfe disputed the argument, saying that the SABC is a public entity and given the controversy around Motsoeneng it is in the public interest.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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