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Opposition welcomes Supreme Court’s ruling on SABC boss

Opposition welcomes Supreme Court’s ruling on SABC boss

The Congress of the People (Cope) and Freedom Front Plus (VF+) have described the Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss the appeal application of controversial South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Chief Operating Officer (COO), Hlaudi Motsoeneng, as a victory for the constitution.

On Thursday, the court announced that the public broadcaster should implement disciplinary action against Motsoeneng as per the requirements of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, after it was discovered that he lied about his academic qualifications, illegally dismissed a number of senior board members and upped his salary from R1.5 million to R2.4 million in less than a year.

He was suspended for 60 days in April pending the outcome of an investigation lodged by the Democratic Alliance (DA), shortly after Madonsela’s findings were released.

In passing its ruling, the court also stated that a secondary investigation, whose outcomes contradict those of the Public Protector’s original findings, would be rejected as invalid and unconstitutional.

“To negate the findings of the Public Protector as the Zuma administration is doing on the basis that the findings are not binding is to undermine the Constitution,” Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said in a statement.

“The Zuma administration has been acting to make the Public Protector’s office ineffective through active sabotage. The board of the SABC followed suit. The fact that Hlaudi Motsoeneng is now suspended for sixty days by court order and has to face a proper disciplinary enquiry is a victory for the Constitution”.

In a similar reaction, VF+ Chief Whip Corne Mulder said the judgement is likely to have repercussions following President Jacob Zuma’s adopting of Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s Nkandla report.

Earlier, Democratic Alliance (DA) Federal Chairperson James Selfe said the party feels vindicated by the court’s ruling and the clarifying of the powers of the Public Protector.

“The President effectively acted in direct contravention of established legal precedent when he appointed the Police Minister to make a determination of how much he was liable for the non-security upgrades at Nkandla. This clearly constituted a “parallel process”. President Zuma must face the music and simply pay back the money,” Selfe said.