Three weeks after the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC's) controversial boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng was warned against going to his office, the public broadcaster on Monday remained mum on the impact of his absence.
The Western Cape High Court ruled on 12 December that Motsoeneng was not fit to be an employee of the SABC and his lawyer Zola Majavu advised him not to report for duty.
The SABC, which has already filed its notice of intention to appeal the ruling, on Monday declined to say if there was any effect on its operations since Motsoeneng last reported for duty in December.
Asked if there was any effect resulting from the long absence of Motsoeneng from work, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, said: “We do not have an update or any comment on that. I do not wish to comment.”
In the past, Motsoeneng has been described as a valuable asset to the public broadcaster. He claimed he had turned the SABC around from a loss-making organisation to a profitable one.
However, the Democratic Alliance (DA) took the SABC matter to court when the broadcaster held a sham disciplinary hearing, which cleared Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing after the Public Protector had found that he had falsified his matric qualification, given himself irregular pay hikes and had purged employees who disagreed with him.
Last month, Judge Owen Rogers ruled that Motsoeneng be removed from his position as the broadcaster’s group executive of corporate affairs – a position he had assumed after an earlier court ruling said he should never have been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the SABC in the first place.
Motsoeneng lost his job as COO in September when the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his leave to appeal against a ruling by the Western Cape High Court setting aside his permanent appointment.
The SABC then appointed him Group Executive for Corporate Affairs.
Subsequently, the DA in October filed an application to have Motsoeneng removed from his new position as group executive of corporate affairs.
The DA said on Monday that it would oppose the SABC’s application to appeal the latest court ruling.
DA federal executive chairperson, James Selfe, said his party was adamant on having Motsoeneng permanently removed from office.
“The court is likely to appoint a presiding officer and the initiator to oversee the disciplinary hearing,” Selfe said, adding that he suspected that Motsoeneng was still receiving a salary from the SABC.
In another development, the parliamentary ad hoc communications committee investigating the affairs of the SABC is expected to resume later this week. The committee was set to reconvene on Tuesday but has reportedly postponed sitting till Friday.
During the previous hearings, allegations of possible fraud regarding an amount of R42-million paid out to a tender to build a new studio were levelled against Motsoeneng, who has also been accused of conducting a reign of terror. Motsoeneng has previously denied any wrongdoing.