Monday, December 7, 2015

Disciplinary hearing of the SABC's COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng is suddenly back on from today after it was abruptly cancelled on Thursday.

The abruptly "adjourned" disciplinary hearing of the SABC against its highly controversial and famously matricless chief operating officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng is suddenly continuing today.

Hlaudi Motsoeneng's disciplinary hearing was supposed to start at the end of October, was then postponed to 1 December, was again postponed and only started on 2 December and lasted all of two days after it was abruptly cancelled.

During this period labour lawyer Sandile July was also fired as the lead prosecutor in the disciplinary hearing and replaced by the SABC with Mponyana Ledwaba as the SABC's pro-forma prosecutor.

On Sunday Hlaudi Motsoeneng's legal representation was told the disciplinary hearing is suddenly back on again and will be happening from Monday.

It comes after advocate William Mokhari on Thursday said the disciplinary hearing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng serves no purpose and would only be "academic" due to multiple ongoing court cases against Hlaudi Motsoeneng, and that the disciplinary hearing has therefore been cancelled.

The Public Protector in February 2014 in a scathing report entitled When Governance and Ethics Fail, implicated Hlaudi Motsoeneng in maladministration and abuse of power at the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

The Public Protector found that Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied about having matric and made up symbols for a certificate he knew he couldn't produce, said that he "should never have been appointed at the SABC".

Hlaudi Motsoeneng was implicated as having been involved in getting rid of everyone who testified against him in an earlier disciplinary hearing at the SABC, and his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4 million at the SABC in one year.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) political party said it will now proceed with contempt proceedings against the SABC.

"It is utterly preposterous to suggest, as the SABC now does, that two separate judgments, both requiring serious and immediate sanction of Hlaudi Motsoeneng, cancel one another out, having the result that he should return to work as COO."

"The suggestion is so absurd and baseless in law that it confirms that the SABC is hell-bent on ensuring that this disciplinary process is reduced to a sham," says the DA.

The SABC issued a terse statement on Friday, coming across as not knowing what to say.

"The SABC wishes to clear up any confusion following the adjournment yesterday [Thursday] of the disciplinary hearing against COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng," said SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

"Pending the finalisation of the appeal process Hlaudi Motsoeneng is still the organisation's COO".

On Sunday Hlaudi Motsoeneng's lawyer, Zola Majavu, was told that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's disciplinary hearing is suddenly back on, following after the threat of contempt of court proceedings.

"The chairperson of the disciplinary committee was wrong," said Zola Majavu. "The SABC told us they are going ahead with the disciplinary hearing. There is no reason for the Democratic Alliance to threaten us with court".

The public pressure group for public broadcasting, the SOS Coalition, criticised the SABC for dragging out the disciplinary hearing process.

"The SABC board has treated the Public Protector with absolute contempt on this matter," Sekoetlane Phamodi, SOS Coalition spokesperson told eNCA (DStv 403) on Monday morning.