The DA welcomes the dismissal of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, following a disciplinary inquiry into his decision to hold a press conference about the SABC, in violation of the SABC’s Code of Conduct.
The very litigious Motsoeneng is likely to take the interim board’s decision on review. We advise him not to waste the public and the SABC’s time and money on what will be barren harvest litigation. Throughout several court judgments, including one by the SCA, Mr Motsoeneng has been found to be unsuitable to hold office at the public broadcaster.
While Motsoeneng’s dismissal is indeed to be welcomed, he must still be held accountable for his reign of terror at the SABC. He does not get off scot-free for his past sins, simply by being dismissed today.
As such, the interim board must now proceed with the second disciplinary inquiry flowing from the Public Protector’s 2014 “When Governance and Ethics Fail”, as ordered by the Western Cape High Court in December 2016.
The Western Cape High Court directed the SABC to commence disciplinary proceedings against Motsoeneng for his dishonesty relating to the misrepresentation of his qualifications, abuse of power and improper conduct in the appointments and salary increments of Ms Sully Motsweni, and for his role in the purging of senior staff members resulting in numerous labour disputes and settlement awards against the SABC.
The Public Protector also recommended that any “fruitless and wasteful expenditure that had been incurred as a result of irregular salary increments to Mr Motsoeneng, Ms [Sully] Motsweni, Ms [Leah] Khumalo and the freelancers, is recovered from the appropriate persons”.
Any remedial action ordered by the Public Protector is legally binding and must be acted on. The interim board would fall foul of this legal precedent should it decide not to proceed.
The DA thus calls on the interim board to promptly convene disciplinary action against Hlaudi for his dishonesty regarding his qualifications and irregular salary increases. We will also raise this matter when the SABC appears before the Communications Portfolio Committee tomorrow at Parliament.
The interim Board has made much progress in addressing the rot at, the once world-class, public broadcaster, and the DA urges the Board to continue to work to restore good governance at the SABC, most important of which, is holding all those responsible for the rot, fully accountable.