Madonsela's powers clarified, DA calls for Motsoeneng's suspension

The Supreme Court of Appeal clarified her powers in a 45-page judgment dismissing Motsoeneng’s appeal.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Kgothaso Mogale/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Operations Chief Hlaudi Motsoeneng's loss at the Supreme Court of Appeal means his suspension must be immediate.

The court dismissed his appeal against a Western Cape High Court order that he be suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.

The opposition party took the SABC and Motsoeneng to the high court last year for failing to implement the Public Protector's remedial action, following a damning report into governance failures at the public broadcaster.

Instead, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi endorsed the SABC board's recommendation to permanently appoint him as COO.

While the DA says Motsoeneng must be suspended immediately, his lawyer Zola Majavu holds a different view.

Majavu says the onus lies with his client's employer to institute disciplinary steps and until then he is not suspended.

"The suspension was based on the understanding that he should not be at work while he is subjected to a disciplinary hearing. That is the only rationale."

PUBLIC PROTECTOR

The Supreme Court of Appeal says no individual or body is allowed to substitute the Public Protector's remedial action with a separate parallel investigation.

It has clarified the powers of the Public Protector in a 45 page judgment dismissing Motsoeneng's appeal.

The appeal court says the Public Protector can't realise the constitutional purpose of her office, if other organs of state are allowed to second-guess her findings and ignore her recommendations.

Crucially, the judges say those affected by her findings are not entitled to launch a parallel investigation to replace her decisions and remedial action.

DA member of Parliament, James Selfe says this case has implications for the Nkandla scandal.

"That is also exactly what president Zuma did in respect of the public protector's report into Nkandla."

Meanwhile, Madonsela welcomes the judgment, saying it confirms that once she's made a decision, affected organs of state must implement accordingly, unless her report is successfully reviewed in court.