Lawyer: DA undermining rule of law

Cape Town - The DA is undermining the rule of law by using legal rather than administrative processes to remove SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the Western Cape High Court heard on Wednesday.

Vincent Maleka, for Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, said the Democratic Alliance's urgent application to suspend Motsoeneng undermined the power of both his client and Parliament.

He said the National Assembly had the power to remove an SABC executive after due inquiry.

"Once the National Assembly starts with that process, then the minister [Muthambi] has the discretion to remove or suspend an affected executive. It vests the powers of the suspension to the executive.

"In that case, they [the DA] ask that you ignore that process of due inquiry," he said.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's report on Motsoeneng interfaced with this parliamentary process in that she could report her findings if she wished.

Muthambi meeting with Madonsela

Muthambi intended meeting the communications portfolio committee on Tuesday to take it through Madonsela's findings.

"As we make submissions to his lordship today [Wednesday], the minister is meeting with the public protector on this very issue. Those who know better say that the public protector subpoenaed her to appear before her," Maleka said.

"The simple point is it shows how the processes that are contemplated work and why the engagement is important."

The DA began its argument on Tuesday for an urgent interim interdict suspending Motsoeneng, pending a review of the decision to appoint him.

It claimed he was a "toxic influence" in the organisation and a dishonest character.


It argued the SABC's board unlawfully recommended his appointment, that the decision to appoint him was irrational, and that it was doubtful whether the SABC would comply with Madonsela's proposed remedial action.

Motsoeneng has sat in on proceedings both days, while over 100 people continued to support him with loud songs and by blowing vuvuzelas outside court.

In February, Madonsela released a report on Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO, titled "When Governance and Ethics Fail".

She found his salary increased from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC. Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed at the SABC within 90 days.

Board chair rubbishes report

In July, Muthambi announced Motsoeneng's permanent appointment. She said he was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before the decision was made.

The DA then launched a high court bid to have his appointment set aside. Muthambi and the SABC filed opposing court papers.

SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala, in her court papers, rubbished Madonsela's report.

Tshabalala said the broadcaster knew from day one that Motsoeneng did not have matric. She said he was not dishonest, had never misled the SABC, and was not responsible for any irregular spending.

Nin Ja Kitty 2014/08/20 04:55:47 PM
One has to do what one has to do to get rid of those who are not qualified to be in positions. The first part of this article does not make all that much sense to me. Must be time for me to go home.
Johan du Toit 2014/08/20 04:58:32 PM
This from a member of an organisation that supports the President who uses every trick in the book to avoid prosecution and responsibility.
Utopian Indigent 2014/08/20 04:59:24 PM
Obviously supporters have never had to take on public sector organizations for this kind of thing: There IS NO administrative process to remedy it, you morons. The court is the ONLY small little window of justice left in this undemocratic unjust banana republic, soon to be shut down as the terms of meritorous judges expire and Nkandla-clowns without merit replace them.
Michael Tetley 2014/08/20 05:00:11 PM
The main problem is that Parliament has an ANC majority therefore they are highly unlikely to go along with anything proposed by the DA. Secondly, how can they be accused of undermining the rule of law if they are approaching the final arbiters of the law, the courts?
Mr T. 2014/08/20 05:02:10 PM
They do not know law any way. They need to be reminded simple things of democracy. Why is the metric an issue in a first place. To prove the lack of thinking, once you pass your metric does it mean you can be a COO of SABC. According to their reasoning that's what they mean, neh!!!. What a bunch of looooseres. Suffering from superiority mentality.
Adrian Woon 2014/08/20 05:04:49 PM
Are not the SABC undermining rule of law by ignoring the Public Protector?
Michael Kleber 2014/08/20 05:07:30 PM
this cloudy character is a smooth operator , lies on his cv , gets the top post at SABC , then gives himself 3 increases in a year , beat that , except jacob , you can we know that
Christoffel Bouwer Nel 2014/08/20 05:07:37 PM
Michael Kleber 2014/08/20 05:09:14 PM
I bet jacob is kicking himself for not lying on his cv , eish he didn't know one could do that , for his next job , watch his qualifications
Anthony Bingham 2014/08/20 05:09:17 PM
The vile ANC are experts at "undermining the rule of law"