Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: ALON SKUY
Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: ALON SKUY

The Western Cape High Court on Tuesday dismissed the SABC’s application for leave to appeal against its order that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should not occupy any position at the public broadcaster.

The court ruled in November last year that Motsoeneng’s appointment as group executive of corporate affairs - the post he had held previously, before he became chief operating officer - was "irrational and unlawful".

It said Motsoeneng could not occupy any position at the SABC until a 2014 report by the public protector was set aside or new disciplinary processes against him were finalised. The court said the initial disciplinary hearing that cleared Motsoeneng of wrongdoing was "wholly inadequate".

The DA welcomed Tuesday's court decision, saying it was a positive step towards restoring the integrity and independence of the SABC.

“The DA also welcomes the fact that Motsoeneng and his toxic influence will now be removed from the SABC, until such time as he has either faced a satisfactory disciplinary hearing and/or the findings and remedial action by the public protector have been reviewed and set aside by another court,” federal executive chairman James Selfe said.

He said it was time the SABC ceased with its “frivolous litigation” at the expense of the South African taxpayer and focused on fixing the public broadcaster, and correcting the damage Motsoeneng caused.

The SABC’s lawyer, Stephan du Toit, argued in court last week that the earlier ruling set a bad precedent as it fundamentally allowed outsiders "to interfere in the employment policies of organs of state".

He said the matter needed to be clarified by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Motsoeneng’s appointment "constituted an internal arrangement", and not an exercise of public power, Du Toit argued.

Under Motsoeneng, the SABC has lurched from one crisis to another in recent times. He is said to have been behind the collapse of successive boards at the public broadcaster.

Parliament’s ad hoc committee looking into the mess finalised its draft report in January and has sent it out to affected parties, including SABC executives and Comunications Minister Faith Muthambi. The committee hopes to produce the final report before the end of February.

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