Beleaguered South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) group executive of corporate affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s was dealt an early blow on Wednesday when the High Court in Cape Town dismissed an application by his supporters to join his latest court battle as friends of the court.
The court is currently hearing an application brought by the Democratic Alliance (DA) to have Motsoeneng removed from the SABC.
Three groups‚ including the Decolonisation Foundation which is led by former government spokesperson Mzwanele Manyi‚ launched an application on Wednesday requesting to be admitted in the matter as friends of the court.
The groups said they wanted to support “Hlaudi against the ‘rantings’ of the DA”. The Decolonisation Foundation was represented by Mokotedi Mpshe — the former head of the National Prosecuting Authority.
However‚ the court dismissed the application and said reasons would be provided later.
The DA launched its latest court bid to remove Motsoeneng from the SABC after the broadcaster controversially reappointed him to his new position as group executive of corporate affairs.
This was after he lost his job as SABC chief operating officer in September after the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed his application for leave to appeal against a ruling by the High Court in Cape Town which set aside his permanent appointment.
His reappointment precipitated the resignation of two board members in Parliament in October. The board has just one member left and Parliament is due to hold an inquiry to look into the crisis at the SABC later in November.
The DA argues that Motsoeneng is an “unethical‚ manipulative fraudster who has destroyed any semblance of good corporate governance at the SABC”.
Anton Katz‚ for the DA‚ argued in court on Wednesday that Motsoeneng is a “toxic cancer that needs to be cut from the body [the SABC]”.
Motsoeneng’s legal troubles stem from former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s findings against him in 2014. In her report‚ When Governance and Ethics Fail‚ Madonsela found Motsoeneng had fabricated his matric qualification and had increased his salary irregularly‚ from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year.
A disciplinary hearing cleared Motsoeneng of wrongdoing‚ but the DA says the process was a “sham and a charade”. The disciplinary inquiry was one of the remedial actions directed by Madonsela in her report.
The first part of the DA’s latest court application seeks to set aside the outcome of the SABC’s disciplinary inquiry that cleared Motsoeneng of wrongdoing.
The second part deals with the DA’s application‚ lodged in October‚ to have Motsoeneng’s permanent position as group executive of corporate affairs declared invalid.
Motsoeneng’s battle to remain at the public broadcaster has dragged on for more than two years. It has played out in the High Court‚ the Supreme Court of Appeal and in the Constitutional Court‚ where it had an abortive stint.