Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s press conference is grounds for him to be immediately fired from the SABC as he has breached the public broadcaster’s Code of Conduct, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Wednesday.
This comes after Motsoeneng, flanked by his supporters, held a marathon media briefing on Wednesday in Johannesburg in his personal capacity, vowing to fight “and win” a disciplinary hearing against him.
Motsoeneng was replaced at the public broadcaster after a damning parliamentary ad hoc committee report found the previous board had mismanaged the SABC, leading to the loss of hundreds of millions of rands. The report followed a series of court actions, including a 2015 high court ruling that found Motsoeneng’s appointment as COO was unlawful.
The SABC has since distanced itself from Motsoeneng’s statements made at his media briefing.
DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said in a statement that the interim board must now promptly terminate Motsoeneng’s employment and rid the SABC of the man responsible for the deep institutional rot at the public broadcaster.
“Hosting a press conference, as an SABC employee, without permission from the SABC board, or its management, constitutes a deliberate effort to undermine the SABC and cause negative reporting of the various efforts to steer the SABC to calm waters. This cannot go unpunished,” said Van Damme.
“As such, Motsoeneng is still bound by its Code of Conduct and various rules and regulations while awaiting his disciplinary hearing. The SABC’s disciplinary code – the Disciplinary, Code of Conduct, Grievance Procedures – lists misconduct as grounds for summary dismissal if an employee of the public broadcaster deliberately causes negative reporting of SABC affairs in the media.”
Although the Western Cape High Court ordered that Motsoeneng cannot hold a position at the SABC pending the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings and/or the Public Protector’s report being set aside, it did not dismiss him from the public broadcaster.
Motsoeneng admitted on Wednesday that he remained an employee of the SABC, though he is prohibited from its premises, something Van Damme said was to remain an employee “without portfolio” and drawing a salary of R350,000 a month for sitting at home.
Van Damme said the SABC’s Personnel Regulations also stated an employee’s services may be terminated at any stage for misconduct.
“Previous boards failed to take strong action against Motsoeneng. It is time for the SABC interim board to show its teeth and its commitment to fixing the public broadcaster by firing Motsoeneng,” Van Damme said.
“The SABC interim board has a long road ahead of it and the unenviable task of fixing problems years in the making. It is time it publicly demonstrates its seriousness to fix the public broadcaster and rid it of those who violate its rules.”
– African News Agency