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DA labels Muthambi & SABC board 'biased'

The DA has applied to the Western Cape High Court to have SABC COO's appointment reviewed.

FILE: Public Protector Thuli Madonsela and SABC Chief Operations Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has told the Western Cape High court the SABC board and Communications Minister are biased in favour of the broadcaster's COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The first day of argument in the party's application to have Motsoeneng's permanent appointment set aside began on Tuesday, with Judge Dennis Davis presiding.

This is the latest installment in a convoluted legal battle that began after the Public Protector made damning findings against Motsoeneng last year and instructed the SABC board to take appropriate disciplinary action.

Motsoeneng was recommended for permanent appointment on the same day that he wrote a letter to the SABC board chairperson requesting it.

The position was not advertised and no other candidates were considered for the job.

Speaking outside court yesterday, the DA's James Selfe says it was an irrational decision.

"Without advising, without interviewing, without shortlisting, they simply appointed Mr Motsoeneng."

The SABC argues the application is premature because Motsoeneng is still to face a disciplinary hearing as directed by the Public Protector.

The public broadcaster is also launching a Constitutional Court appea l against an order to suspend Motsoeneng pending the outcome of a disciplinary process.

Judge Davis asked the DA's Counsel Anton Katz to respond to the argument that the application is premature.

Katz argued that Motseoneng was appointed without the SABC board advertising the position or shortlisting other candidates, which was unlawful.

He went on to say that the board and the communications minister's actions showed they were biased in favour of Motsoeneng.