Madonsela threatens to take it up a notch

Faith Muthambi could find herself in trouble with the law after refusing to meet with the public protector.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Communications Minister Faith Muthambi could find herself in trouble with the law after refusing to meet with Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

Madonsela has subpoenaed Muthambi as part of her investigation into the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Operations Officer (COO).

The communications minister has refused to meet with Madonsela because she says the issue is the subject of a court case.

The public protector is playing hard ball and she could take it up a notch.

"Should she not come, I will proceed to the next stage which is to invoke the powers in terms of contempt of the public protector and [she] stands to get a fine of R40,000 or imprisonment or both."

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

In a report released earlier this year, Madonsela found Motsoeneng lied about passing matric and gave himself massive salary increases while in the position of acting COO.

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

At the same time, the Democratic Alliance is now challenging Motsoeneng's appointment in court, saying it is proof that Muthambi is trying to use the SABC to support the African National Congress.