Madonsela subpoenas Muthambi

Faith Muthambi last month announced the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as SABC COO.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Public Protector's office has confirmed that advocate Thuli Madonsela has now served a subpoena on Communications Minister Faith Muthambi as part of her investigation into the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Muthambi last month announced the permanent appointment of Motsoeneng as SABC chief operating officer (COO), saying the decision was made following a recommendation by the SABC board.

The decision to appoint Motsoeneng permanently was taken despite Muthambi agreeing to comply with an adverse finding by Madonsela recommending his suspension.

She found Motsoeneng's appointment was irregular, stating that he committed fraud by lying about his matric qualification.

Her investigation also showed that Motsoeneng received three appraisals which increased his salary from R1.5 million to R2.4 million a year.

Madonsela had recommended disciplinary action against the COO and said she was shocked when he was suddenly permanently appointed.

The public protector's spokesperson Kgalalelo Masibi says, " Since the minister has decided not to meet and efforts to persuade her to meet have been ignored, the public protector then decided to serve a subpoena on the minister."

The communications minister has argued that she obtained independent legal opinion before appointing Motsoeneng.

At the same time, Muthambi has confirmed that she's opposing the Democratic Alliance's (DA) court bid to have the decision reviewed and set aside.

She has refused to disclose the grounds on which she'll oppose the DA's court challenge.

The party says it believes the decision to appoint Motsoeneng was irrational and unlawful.

The DA added it is looking forward to hearing the minister's arguments when the matter comes before court on 19 August.