The heat’s on Hlaudi: Former SABC chief to face the music after hearing refuses to throw him a lifeline
Motsoeneng is facing charges of bringing the SABC into disrepute when he spoke at a lengthy and bizarre press conference he convened last month.
At the press conference, he railed against the SABC board for planning to scrap his 90% local music policy.
The hearing, which was to have begun at 3pm yesterday, descended into four hours of deliberation about whether it should take place.
Motsoeneng’s lawyer, Zola Majavu, explained that his client was not opposed to being disciplined but wanted the hearing on the misconduct charge combined with a hearing on a previous allegation of misconduct stemming from the findings of former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
“We want them to be combined; not to do this one and then another one. We run the risk that they will fire him for this and if they fire him, he doesn’t get a chance to vindicate himself on the public protector’s report,” Majavu said.
WATCH: TOP 10 Hlaudilusional moments from Motsoeneng’s media briefing
Motsoeneng feels so strongly about clearing his name that he has gone to court. On Tuesday he filed papers in the Cape Town High Court in which he claimed Madonsela’s 2014 report had “stunted” his career.
No date has been set for the High Court hearing, which was filed as semi-urgent.
Madonsela found that Motsoeneng’s employment by the SABC was irregular because he had lied to the corporation about his qualifications by fabricating matric exam symbols.
“The very nature of that office (the public protector) is that its conclusions hold weight in the public discourse,” Motsoeneng says in his court papers. “As the DA argued, I am ‘unemployable’ for so long as its conclusions stand.
“My further career progression is thus stunted until the issues raised by the public protector are finalised.”
He has criticised the current disciplinary hearing at the SABC, calling it “an abuse [of process] stemming from ulterior motives”.
Hearing chairman Nazeem Cassim was reluctant yesterday to postpone the matter.
The SABC has argued that the proceedings should go ahead because there is no basis for a postponement.
After hours of discussion, Cassim said the hearing should start – but both sides then asked for time to prepare. The hearing is now expected to begin at 11.30am today, provided that Motsoeneng does not come up with another legal challenge.
Motsoeneng’s lawyer, Zola Majavu, has left the door open for another challenge.
- In parliament yesterday, SABC chief financial officer and acting CEO James Aguma came in for severe criticism.
Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) heard that he had filed an affidavit in support of Motsoeneng at the disciplinary hearing and had given permission for the press conference to be convened.
DA MP Tim Brauteseth called for Aguma to be sanctioned immediately.
Brauteseth said Aguma had told the communications portfolio committee last week that he did not authorise Motsoeneng’s press conference “and therefore he lied in parliament and that’s a criminal act”.
“Suspend Aguma today,” Brauteseth told Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo.
The ANC has called for the interim SABC board to act against Aguma.
“Mr Aguma has been at the centre of expenditure and procurement irregularities at the SABC. He has shown complete disregard for parliament and the interim board.
“He has conveniently been booked off sick every time he is called to account to Scopa. We take serious exception to Mr Aguma’s evasion of parliament,” ANC MP Mnyamezeli Booi said.