Motsoeneng’s counsel grilled by SCA judges

Hlaudi Motsoeneng is appealing an order that he be suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

The SABC Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Supreme Court of Appeal judges opened proceedings in the appeal by South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng against a High Court order by asking why the matter was being heard.

Last year, the Western Cape High Court ordered the SABC board to charge Motsoeneng and institute disciplinary proceedings over his alleged abuse of power, lying about his qualifications and purging staff members.

In April he was granted leave to appeal the ruling and it was agreed that he could continue working until the Supreme Court of Appeal decides whether he should be suspended.

Public protector Thuli Madonsela found that the SABC board should take action against Motsoeneng but instead the board recommended that he be appointed as COO on a permanent basis. A recommendation which Communications Minister Faith Muthambi endorsed.

Justice Mahomed Navsa asked why Motsoeneng's legal team didn't wait for interim review.

As the court provided clarity on the public protector's powers, Justice Visvanathan Ponnan said the High Court ruling was contradicting and that Madonsela's findings were not binding but cannot be ignored.

Counsel for the SABC COO said they didn't have a chance to challenge Madonsela's report after it came out, as the DA quickly took the matter to court.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

Justice Navsa said there's was a basis for concern because even without a matric, Motsoeneng probably earns more than what judges do.

Ponnan asked Motsoeneng's counsel if they were suggesting that the public protector exceeded her power s: the counsel said no.

Motshoeneng's lawyers said Madonsela's findings don't have to be binding if there is a rational reason not to implement them.

The five judges have questioned the SABC's counsel about why this matter should be heard at the SCA while there is still an interim review set down for October.

Concerns have also been raised about the serious findings against Motsoeneng and whether or not the public protector's remedial action should be ignored.

The SABC said it was in the process of engaging with the public protector and Motsoeneng's permanent appointment had nothing to do with her findings.

The legal team of #Hlaudi is going to be exposed today. The SCA will show clearly that they have no leg to stand on!

The DA believes #Hlaudi's appointment is invalid on the grounds that it was irrational and unlawful.

If anybody needs to be "regulated", it is #Hlaudi Motsoeneng himself. @gavdavis

WATCH #Hlaudi Supporters says why they came from so far to support the COO.

@MarykeVermaak pic.twitter.com/IkpAuZ2IpH

#DearMrPresident #Hlaudi vs #PublicProtector is a disgrace. This attack on PP is an attack on the public, judiciary.