Tuesday, February 7, 2017

SABC once again loses its appeal to bring Hlaudi Motsoeneng back; Western Cape High Court upholds judgment that Hlaudi Motsoeneng must not be employed by the SABC.

The SABC has yet again lost its application to appeal a ruling against the South African public broadcaster's former boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng, with the Western Cape High Court that found that the controversial incompetence icon must not be employed in any position at the embattled South African public broadcaster.

In an entangled court saga that's dragged on since 2014, the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday dismissed with costs the SABC's latest appeal against the December 2016 judgment that ordered that Hlaudi Motsoeneng should be removed from any position and undergo a new, independent disciplinary hearing.

The December 2016 ruling came after an earlier High Court ruling ordered the SABC to remove Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer (COO). The SABC management then responded by unilaterally appointing and shifting Hlaudi Motsoeneng to the position of head of corporate affairs.

In dismissing the latest application for appeal, judges Andre Le Grange and Owen Rogers said they were "not much impressed" with the SABC's flawed argument in its application for appeal.

After SABC lawyers had the audacity to argue that the public has "no interest" in the appointment decisions made by the SABC as South Africa's public broadcaster, the Western Cape High Court ruled that Hlaudi Motsoeneng's appointments are not an internal matter and that the SABC is a public body, with its decisions that's open to review.

The Western Cape High Court judgement reaffirmed that  it "is common cause that the SABC is a public body which exists in the public interest".

The Western Cape High Court also ordered that James Aguma, acting SABC CEO, remains responsible for personally paying the cost of his part of the failed appeal application.

The beleaguered SABC is currently being investigated by a special ad hoc committee of parliament that heard scathing testimony in December 2016 and January 2107 about alleged abuse of staff and shocking mismanagement.

With no SABC board, James Aguma whose acting position as SABC CEO was extended, wanted a part of the judgment that found him personally liable for all legal costs, dismissed.

The Western Cape High Court in dismissing the application for appeal, found that James Aguma must pay the costs of his part of bringing the application to appeal.

In a statement the Democratic Alliance (DA) political party says the ruling "is a victory for the rule of law and a positive step towards restoring the integrity and independence of the SABC".

"The DA also welcomes the fact that Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his toxic influence will now be removed from the SABC, until such time as he has either faced a satisfactory disciplinary hearing and or the findings and remedial action by the Public Protector have been reviewed".

"It is high time that the SABC cease with its frivolous litigation at the expense of the South African taxpayer and focus on fixing the SABC, and correcting the damage that Hlaudi Motsoeneng caused during his reign of terror".