Motsoeneng’s appointment ‘irregular’

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Copy of st file hlaudi (43175440) Independent Newspapers Hlaudi Motsoeneng Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

A source close to the SABC has said the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operations officer was irregular because the post had not been advertised.

The source said all senior management posts at the public broadcaster must be advertised, candidates shortlisted and interviewed.

The preferred candidate’s name would also need to be given to the minister of communication and the cabinet had to discuss it.

In this instance, however, that had not happened, the source said.

“You can’t say you selected the best candidate if you can’t say who the other candidates are. SABC needed to advertise that job. There is nothing wrong with the acting COO being appointed to the job, but due processes need to be followed,” the source added.

“Another thing is that if you are guilty of fraud, you can’t be a proper person for the job, but they recommended him despite that.”

But SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago denied on Thursday morning that all posts needed to be advertised. “He was a consideration by the board and if anyone finds this appointment to be irregular, that is their own view. We don’t dispute that people have their own views with regards to this issue and that is our position,” he said.

The Star has tried to get clarity on why Motsoeneng was the best candidate despite adverse findings by the public protector against him, but Kganyago said board chairwoman Zandile Tshabalala did not want to discuss it further.”She said they deliberated on the recommendation they made, applied their mind and passed it to the minister, who then ratified the appointment as she (Faith Muthambi) is the only one who can either say yes or no,” Kganyago said.

Motsoeneng was cleared of all wrongdoing by a legal firm before being permanently appointed as the public broadcaster's new chief operations officer, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi has said.

Speaking during a post-Cabinet briefing, Muthambi said there was nothing irregular about Motsoeneng's appointment, despite a Public Protector's report to the contrary.

“The appointment of the independent law firm by the SABC board to investigate all the issues raised by the public protector was the most responsible way to deal with the public protector's report,” Muthambi said.

“The SABC board and myself are satisfied that the report by the appointed firm of attorneys has cleared Mr Motsoeneng of any wrongdoing and therefore there was nothing before me that suggested that I should not confirm the appointment.”

The board informed the minister about their recommendation after a board meeting on Monday.

“I believe the board has exercised due diligence, therefore I'm saying my decision was rational,” Muthambi said.

Muthambi said she could not, by law, dictate to the board who to recommend for appointment.

“My job as the shareholder is not to draw up a job description or stipulate any requirements for a particular job. That's the sole responsibility of the board,” she said.

“I respect the independence of the board of the SABC and I therefore see no need to interfere with their duties.”

And Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has refused to be drawn into discussing whether she believes the appointment indicates the SABC’s board undermines her office.

All Madonsela was prepared to say was that Motsoeneng’s appointment took her by surprise when she heard about it on Wednesday and that she did not know what it signified.

“She intends to call a meeting with the minister of communications and the SABC board as soon as possible to hear from them what the appointment signifies,” Madonsela’s spokeswoman, Kgalalelo Masibi, said on Wednesday.

Madonsela had not only expected the position to be filled by a “suitably qualified permanent incumbent”, but had also expected Motsoeneng to face a disciplinary hearing, she said.

Masibi said Motsoeneng was found guilty of dishonesty relating to the misrepresentation of his qualifications; abuse of power and improper conduct in the appointment and salary increments of a staff member; and for his role in the purging of senior staff members, resulting in labour disputes.

Madonsela said she would await an explanation by Muthambi and the SABC board.

In her report titled “When governance and ethics fail” which Madonsela made public after her investigations into the SABC, she found Motsoeneng had committed fraud by stating in his application form that he had completed matric.

His three salary increases in one year were irregular, the report said.

Madonsela also found Motsoeneng had in the previous years held several posts at the SABC despite not having the requisite qualifications.

This constituted improper conduct and maladministration, according to the report.

Questions about Motsoeneng’s appointment sent to the minister of communications were never answered.

The Star and Sapa

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