By now we suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by anything that happens at an SABC with Hlaudi Motsoeneng in charge.
But the latest development in his “career” must be counted as among the most bizarre in South African history. The man has been told by the high court that he should not be in charge of the operations of South Africa’s public broadcaster.
That decision was in effect upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal, which denied him leave to appeal the judgment against him. The public protector had earlier made damning findings and recommendations against him. Like other members of President Jacob Zuma’s close circle of cohorts who act to protect the president at all costs, Motsoeneng took a legal beating.
Others who’ve been through much the same this month are disbarred former advocate and deputy director of public prosecutions Nomgcobo Jiba and her National Prosecuting Authority colleague Lawrence Mrwebi (also disbarred).
The general reaction to all this has been Zuma and his political friends thumbing their nose at anything a judge might say or order. Motsoeneng’s soft landing doesn’t fill one with confidence that anyone close to the president, or Zuma himself, can ever be made to account for being legally disgraced.
Zuma was blasted by no less an authority than the Constitutional Court. According to the Sunday papers, Motsoeneng has been handed not only a ridiculous R11.4 million bonus, but he will continue in his job in an acting capacity, in the misguided belief that this somehow gets around the legal hurdle that the courts have said he should not have the job.
Also read: DA to head to court over Hlaudi … again
All of this is nothing less than naked contempt of court and the rule of law. For the presidency to have released a statement last week that it respects court judgments was nothing more than, perhaps, a rather pathetic attempt at misdirection by Zuma – though what it really was, was the president upping production output at the South African irony factory.
At this rate, Jiba will be our next minister of a yet-to-invented Cabinet portfolio: the Ministry of Being a Minister. And Mrwebi could easily be put in charge of the Department of Being Paid Taxpayers’ Money for Doing Nothing. Cabinet is clearly not already bloated enough.