SABC's Motsoeneng loses suspension appeal at Supreme Court

The court’s decision is the latest salvo in a legal battle between Motsoeneng and the DA.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chief operation officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng has lost his appeal against a Western Cape High court ruling that he be suspended pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

The Supreme Court of Appeal's decision today is the latest development in a legal battle between Motsoeneng and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

The Supreme Court of Appeal says the SABC board must institute disciplinary proceedings against Motsoeneng.

It began when 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.

Thuli Madonsela had found Motsoeneng purged staff, abused his power, irregularly increased his own salary three times in one year and misrepresented his qualifications.

But instead of taking disciplinary steps against him, the SABC board recommended that he be permanently appointed.

The court says there's a real risk that the integrity of the disciplinary process might be undermined if he is not suspended.

The DA's James Selfe says the court has also clarified the powers of the Public Protector.

"It has major implications for the force and effect of remedial action made by the Public Protector with obvious implications for what the Public Protector said about Nkandla," says Selfe.

The court went on to say the Public Protector's remedial action should not be ignored, and a parallel investigation can't be used to substitute her findings.