Hlaudi Motsoeneng has appeared at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) on Tuesday to challenge what he sees as his “unfair dismissal” by the SABC.
Motsoeneng’s legal representative, advocate Kgomosoane Mathipa, cross-examined SABC board member Krish Naidoo, saying Naidoo had a fiduciary duty to recuse himself on issues around Motsoeneng’s disciplinary hearing, something Naidoo denies.
A battle has been ongoing between the former SABC COO and Naidoo, who said in 2016 he “warned the ANC about Hlaudi”.
Mathipa argued Naidoo was personally offended by Motsoeneng’s calling of a controversial press conference, to the point of threatening to sue him, and that the press conference warranted a recusal.
Naidoo countered by saying he honoured his fiduciary duty to the SABC and that the board acted on legal, rather than subjective, advice.
Motsoeneng’s introduction of a 90% quota for local content was also called into question at the hearing.
Naidoo said the quota led to the loss of R300 million advertising revenue for stations such as Lotus FM, and that the broadcaster lost many listeners in the process. Whether or not the board approved the quota is a matter of contention.
Mathipa read the minutes where the board supported the 90% quota. Naidoo claimed the resolution of that meeting did not say that should be implemented. He said the minutes did say there was a discussion, but not a resolution.
Mathipa hopes to have his client reinstated as group executive of corporate affairs.
Naidoo said this position was set aside by the court, and would soon to be filled.
Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Motsoeneng’s leave to appeal with costs, EWN reported.
The former SABC COO was appealing the 2017 decision by the Labour Court to hold him liable in his personal capacity for the legal costs associated with the court case relating to his controversial ban on the broadcasting of protest actions.
The ban resulted in the so-called SABC 8 being unlawfully fired at the time.
Trade union Solidarity brought the application in the Labour Court.
Head of the labour department at Solidarity Anton Van Der Bijl said the SABC 8 had finally been vindicated.
“It’s a great win for us. It means the SABC 8 and Solidarity have been vindicated in our argument in this matter. We’re ecstatic about the win.”
He said the organisation would now go ahead and serve a warrant of execution to have Motsoeneng’s assets seized.