The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) board faces a grilling by the Parliament’s communications oversight body over the “state of affairs with regard…its new group executive for corporate affairs”.
Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment to the position‚ following the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) dismissal of his challenge to a judgment which ruled that his appointment as chief operating officer was unlawful‚ has been slammed across the political spectrum.
The chief decision-making body of the African National Congress (ANC)‚ which has in the past been seen as supportive of Motsoeneng‚ this week joined the chorus calling for his removal.
The ruling party’s national executive committee resolved at its weekend meeting to “call on the board of the corporation to review the decision to appoint Motsoeneng”.
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said at a picket outside the SABC’s Auckland Park offices on Monday that he had written to board chairman Prof Mbulaheni Maghuve giving him 48 hours to fire Motsoeneng‚ or face fresh legal action.
“We have beaten Hlaudi in court before‚ and we’ll do it again‚” Maimane said‚ referencing the legal case it won in the Western Cape High Court last year. It was that judgment which Motsoeneng had unsuccessfully petitioned the SCA to review.
The Congress of the People this week said its “Willie Madisha is part of the Portfolio Committee on Communications and the party’s instruction is very clear‚ the board must be dissolved and Hlaudi must go”.
The committee’s meeting on Wednesday was called despite Parliament being in constituency recess‚ with chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana explaining almost two weeks ago that the Motsoeneng issue was an “urgent matter”.
Maxegwana’s call didn’t go far enough for his ANC colleague‚ Jackson Mthembu‚ who said the “shenanigans” at the broadcaster called for a “parliamentary inquiry into the fitness of the SABC board to hold office”.
This was welcomed by the DA’s Phumzile van Damme who said at the time: “The announcement by the ANC chief whip‚ Jackson Mthembu‚ must be put into action.”
Van Damme said the inquiry was “much-needed”‚ but appeared to have a swipe at the ruling party‚ saying “the DA has repeatedly called for a parliamentary inquiry to be conducted into the SABC‚ including the board’s fitness to hold office”.
Should the inquiry find wrongdoing‚ the committee can recommend that the board be dissolved. This recommendation would be made to the appointing authority — which in the case of SABC board members‚ is President Jacob Zuma.
Maxegwana had previously also said that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi could be summoned to appear at Wednesday’s committee meeting‚ but her name was not mentioned in a terse statement about it.
It read thus: “The Portfolio Committee on Communications will tomorrow‚ 5 October 2016‚ be briefed by the SABC board on the state of affairs at the corporation with regard to the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment involving its new Group Executive for Corporate Affairs‚ Mr Hlaudi Motsoeneng.”