“That office abuses its power,” president Mzwandile Makwayiba told reporters in Johannesburg.
“The court has vindicated us now… because you [the media] have been saying the ANC says that the public protector report is not binding. It’s not the ANC, it’s a court of law.”
He was referring to the Western Cape High Court ruling last month that the SABC suspend its chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng and commence disciplinary proceedings against him within 14 days.
The Democratic Alliance had applied for an urgent interim interdict suspending Motsoeneng pending a review of the decision to appoint him.
In February, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela released a report on Motsoeneng, while he was acting COO. She found his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in one year, that he had purged senior staff, and misrepresented his matric qualifications to the SABC. Madonsela recommended that a new COO be appointed at the SABC within 90 days.
In July, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi announced Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment.
In his order, Judge Ashton Schippers said: “Unlike an order or decision of a court, a finding by the public protector is not binding on persons and organs of state.
“However, the fact that the findings of and remedial action taken by the public protector are not binding decisions, does not mean that these findings and remedial action are mere recommendations, which an organ of state may accept or reject.”
The African National Congress and the opposition claimed the judgment vindicated their opposing views on whether the public protector’s findings were binding — an issue central to the Nkandla controversy.
Madonsela found President Jacob Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. She recommended that Zuma pay back a portion of the money.
Makwayiba said the media was biased in its reporting on the matter.
“Can you say now Madonsela zero, Zuma one?” he asked.
“The South African media must love this country and stop being biased. The South African media must accept that the ANC is in power and the 62 percent majority [support] that president of the ANC. And you guys must learn to love that, because it is a majority view.”