The presidency on Friday said the government respected the decisions of the courts in relation to the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to set aside the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operations officer (COO) of the SABC.
In a statement, the presidency said it had noted and respected the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal with regards to the position of the beleaguered SABC COO.
“At the meeting between government and the judiciary last year, it was reaffirmed that government would respect court rulings. Government fully abides by that undertaking,” the presidency said.
“The courts are the highest arbiters in disputes in society and all in our country must respect the courts and ensure that the constitution and the rule of law prevail at all times.”
The Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday confirmed a previous high court ruling that found that Motsoeneng’s appointment was irregular.
The ruling put the SABC under pressure to explain Motsoeneng’s employment status. The uncertainty was further compounded by reports that the board had written a letter asking the minister of communications to appoint Motsoeneng as acting COO.
A copy of the unsigned letter was leaked to the media, but the communications department on Thursday denied having received it.
“We have not formally received such letter from the SABC board for the minister’s consideration,” said the department.
Non-executive board member at the SABC Krish Naidoo has publicly condemned the move by the broadcaster and said he had refused to approve the resolution, saying it would be “contrary to the rule of law, irrational and bordering on illegality”.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has given the board of the SABC until Monday to respond fully on the status of Motsoeneng.
Meanwhile, Motsoeneng on Friday waxed lyrical about how he cannot be removed from the SABC and that he was taking a heavy emotional strain since the recent developments about his employment.
Motsoeneng made his remarks at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto during a live television broadcast of the funeral service of Kwaito star Mandoza, whose real name is Mduduzi Edmund Tshabalala.
“I hear people saying Hlaudi is stressed. Hlaudi is stress free. If I was stressed, I wouldn’t be able to deliver what I want to deliver. Maybe you are stressed yourself because Hlaudi is delivering,” Motsoeneng said.
“Let me tell you if I leave the SABC it will not be the first time. I have left before and I came back stronger and stronger.”
The audience was left baffled at the Motsoeneng’s use of the funeral service to respond to critics rather than to pay homage to Mandoza, who died on Sunday after losing the battle against brain cancer. The Nkalakatha hitmaker, who is survived by three children, died on his wife’s birthday.
“When I was born I was an ordinary. I want to make sure that ordinary delivers. It doesn’t matter what position I am occupying. When SABC dismissed me it was because I was empowering workers,” said Motsoeneng.
“You cannot decide for my future, I am the only one who can decide my future.”
Outgoing Public Protector Thuli Mandonsela on Friday said owing to the court’s decision if the board were to reappoint Motsoeneng in any senior position it would be negating its fiduciary duties. She said such a move would necessitate the assessment of the board’s ability to carry out its duties.
This week parliament heard that the SABC was reporting a loss of R500 million.
– African News Agency (ANA)