Hlaudi Motsoeneng plans to challenge suspension at CCMA
Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng plans to approach the CCMA to challenge his suspension from the SABC. Advocate Nazeer Cassim, who is chairing the disciplinary hearing against Motsoeneng, made the announcement in Sandton on Wednesday evening. He postponed the hearing to Thursday.
Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, for the SABC, asked for the postponement after hearing that the matter may go to the CCMA. Andy Bester, for Motsoeneng, wanted it postponed pending his client’s appeal against the Western Cape High Court’s ruling in December last year. Motsoeneng faces charges of breaching the terms of his suspension following a press briefing he held on April 19.
Western Cape High Court Judge Owen Rogers ruled that Motsoeneng could not work at the SABC in any capacity unless former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s February 2014 report was set aside, or a new disciplinary hearing cleared him of wrongdoing. Rogers said a previous disciplinary hearing, which cleared him of all charges, was “wholly inadequate”. Motsoeneng has suffered one court defeat after another.
In November 2015, the Western Cape High Court declared his appointed as COO irrational and illegal and set it aside. The court denied him leave to appeal. In September 2016, the Supreme Court of Appeal also denied him leave to appeal.
During Wednesday’s sitting, Ngcukaitobi said Motsoeneng maligned the broadcaster’s newly-appointed board during his media briefing. He had expressed disapproval of some of the new board members and justified his reasons for the SABC’s 90% local content policy. He was later charged with breaching the relationship of trust with the board and bringing the public broadcaster into disrepute.
Bester argued that acting CEO James Aguma authorised the briefing. Ngcukaitobi said Aguma only gave permission for Motsoeneng to hold a briefing to correct a statement relating to the parliamentary ad hoc committee which looked into the fitness of the SABC board to hold office. “He does not say ‘I gave you permission to malign the board’.”
Bester argued that it was unfair for Motsoeneng to be subjected to two disciplinary hearings. His second hearing relates to charges stemming from Madonsela’s report, titled When Governance and Ethics Fail . She found that he had lied about his qualifications when he applied to work at the SABC, purged staff, and increased his salary exorbitantly.
Cassim refused Motsoeneng’s request to recuse himself and said he would conduct proceedings fairly.
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