Hlaudi Motsoeneng
Hlaudi Motsoeneng

THE office of the public protector has argued in court that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not hold any position of influence that requires honesty and integrity at the SABC because he was found to have been dishonest.

The High Court in Cape Town heard on Wednesday an application brought by the DA to have Motsoeneng removed from the SABC. The office of the public protector is listed as the fifth respondent in the matter.

"The public protector found him to be a dishonest employee … [and] contributed to the toxic failure of corporate in governance at the SABC. Therefore, it was irrational for him to be appointed to any position of influence that requires honesty and integrity," Etienne Labuschagne, the lawyer for the public protector, told the court.

In her report, Thuli Madonsela found he had fabricated his matric qualification and had raised his salary irregularly, from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year. A disciplinary hearing cleared him of wrongdoing, but the DA says the process was a "sham and a charade".

Labuschagne said Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC had not complied with the public protector’s report that found Motsoeneng dishonest.

The report recommended he be disciplined. Labuschagne said the SABC had essentially sabotaged the disciplinary inquiry by, among other things, not calling key witnesses.

"Unless a court suspends the report, it is binding and it needs to be complied with," he said.

Anton Katz for the DA argued in court on Wednesday that Motsoeneng was a "toxic cancer that needs to be cut from the body [the SABC]". The case continues on Thursday.

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