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No plans to reverse SABC appointment yet

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Independent Newspapers

Hlaudi Motsoeneng Picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Cape Town - The SABC board has no plans to reverse its appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as permanent chief operating officer, at least for now.

This comes as calls to have the decision overturned grow, with the DA expected to announce plans to take the appointment on review to the high court.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, who ratified Motsoeneng’s appointment, will also be in the firing line this week when she appears before Parliament’s communications oversight committee to discuss the department’s budget vote and plans.

Last week, she announced that Motsoeneng had been appointed by the SABC board after a law firm, hired to look into the public protector’s report on the SABC, cleared him of any wrongdoing. SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago did not rule out another emergency board meeting.

DA leader Helen Zille, parliamentary leader Mmusi Maimane and communications spokesman Gavin Davis would make the announcement in Parliament on Monday.

The party said the public protector found that Motsoeneng had been involved in “numerous irregularities” during his time as the acting chief operating officer.

Muthambi has suggested the SABC board’s response to a public protector report about Motsoeneng would enable her and the public to determine if the board acted correctly in recommending Motsoeneng for the job.

The SABC board has until August 17 to respond to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report in which she found that while Motsoeneng was the SABC’s acting chief operating officer, his salary increased from R1.5 million to R2.4m in a year. He purged senior staff, and misrepresented his qualifications, according to the report.

When the report was released in February, Madonsela recommended the SABC appoint someone else to the post within 90 days.

On Sunday, Muthambi said she was waiting for the board’s response to Madonsela’s investigation to make up her mind about the board’s decision.

She said a chief executive officer at the SABC needed to be appointed within three months.

Speaking at a post-cabinet briefing on Thursday, Muthambi said an independent law firm’s legal opinion to the board “cleared Mr Motsoeneng of wrongdoing”.

“Therefore there was nothing before me that suggested that I should not confirm the appointment,” Muthambi said.

But the law firm, Mchunu Attorneys, told the Sunday Times that its brief had not been to give counsel on Motsoeneng’s appointment.

On Sunday, Motsoeneng said in an interview with City Press newspaper he was neutral about Madonsela’s report.

“I don’t have any feelings about Madonsela’s investigations.”

On Friday, Madonsela’s office announced it would conduct a probe into Motsoeneng’s appointment. President Jacob Zuma had nothing to do with the appointment of Motsoeneng, the Presidency said on Saturday.

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