Hlaudi Motsoeneng suspended

The court ruled Hlaudi Motsoeneng's suspension be implemented, pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

FILE: Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has been suspended with immediate effect.

Today the Western Cape High court said the order to suspend him must be implemented, pending the outcome of a disciplinary process by the public broadcaster.

The Public Protector last year told the SABC Board to take disciplinary action against Motsoeneng for lying about having a matric qualification, abuse of power and purging senior staff members.

Judge Ashton Schippers today ruled the suspension must be upheld.

In October last year, Schippers suspended Motsoeneng with immediate effect.

He ordered the SABC board to serve Motsoeneng with a notice of charges and institute disciplinary proceedings against him. But Motsoeneng applied for leave to appeal that judgment soon after, placing the suspension order on ice.

Even though Motsoeneng has been granted leave to appeal in Bloemfontein, Schippers's suspension order still stands.

however, Motsoeneng's attorney Zola Majavu says he intends appealing that section of Schippers's order, to allow his client to return to work pending the finalisation of the appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Majavu says it won't take him long to file an application for leave to appeal the suspension order to a full bench of judges at the Western Cape High court.

"The minute you lodge that application for appeal, it suspends operation of part D of the order, which therefore means that he will still be babel to go to work."

Meanwhile, the High Court says it's in the public interest to suspend Motsoeneng while he fights his legal battles.

In a written judgment, Schippers says the circumstances of this case are out of the ordinary, thus exceptional.

He says if this case was simply about the relationship between employer and employee, the circumstances might well be different.

But he says this case involves the public broadcaster, and it is fundamental for democracy that the SABC acts in a manner consistent with constitutional prescripts.

Schippers adds he is not convinced that the SABC will suffer irreparable harm if disciplinary proceedings are brought against Motsoeneng.

For that reason, Schippers says the order he handed down in October last year must be implemented.