Min­is­ter may be forced to pay up

CityPress - - News - JANET HEARD janet.heard@me­dia24.com

For­mer SABC ex­ec­u­tive and sports ad­min­is­tra­tor Mvuzo Mbebe will in­sti­tute le­gal ac­tion against Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi this week to en­force a fi­nan­cial set­tle­ment agree­ment that gave the green light for the con­tro­ver­sial ap­point­ment of SABC chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng. Mbebe, who was the cho­sen can­di­date for the po­si­tion in 2007 but was not ap­pointed, ob­tained an in­ter­dict against the SABC, block­ing the broad­caster from fill­ing the po­si­tion un­til the dis­pute was set­tled.

Muthambi ap­pointed Mot­soe­neng last month, say­ing the seven-year dis­pute with Mbebe had been re­solved.

Mot­soe­neng’s ap­point­ment, which caught the ANC by sur­prise, is now be­ing chal­lenged in court and is the sub­ject of a new in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela, who had ear­lier made damn­ing find­ings against Mot­soe­neng.

Mbebe, who is rep­re­sented by Joburg law firm Mncedisi Ndlovu & Se­dumedi At­tor­neys (MNS), said on Fri­day the agree­ment reached be­tween their client and the SABC had still not been en­forced by the min­is­ter.

He would not dis­close the amount in­volved. Mbebe, who headed up the CAF lo­cal or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee, ann­nounced last year that he is bat­tling colon can­cer.

Af­ter Mot­soe­neng was ap­pointed, Mbebe’s lawyers sent a let­ter to Muthambi giv­ing her 30 days to en­force the set­tle­ment or face le­gal ac­tion. The dead­line passed on Fri­day.

“To date, we have not heard from the min­is­ter, so we will file an ap­pli­ca­tion in the North Gaut­eng High Court to com­pel her to set­tle the pay­ment,” said MNS’ Mncedisi Ndlovu.

Af­ter a pro­tracted bat­tle, a set­tle­ment was ne­go­ti­ated with the SABC, which cul­mi­nated in a draft agree­ment be­ing drawn up a year ago.

This was ac­cepted by Mbebe. Then in Fe­bru­ary, Muthambi’s pre­de­ces­sor Yunus Car­rim made an of­fer and this too was ac­cepted by Mbebe, ac­cord­ing to Ndlovu.

Car­rim said at the time of the agree­ment in Fe­bru­ary that the post, which Mot­soe­neng had held in an act­ing ca­pac­ity, would be ad­ver­tised.

But last month, Muthambi con­firmed the ap­point­ment of Mot­soe­neng with­out ad­ver­tis­ing the po­si­tion.

Muthambi’s de­ci­sion is now be­ing le­gally chal­lenged by the DA. The ap­pli­ca­tion, which has in turn been chal­lenged by the SABC and Muthambi, will be heard in the Western Cape High Court on Tues­day.

Madon­sela has launched a new in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mot­soe­neng’s ap­point­ment, and has sub­poe­naed the min­is­ter.

In a damn­ing re­port ear­lier this year, Madon­sela found that Mot­soe­neng had fraud­u­lently mis­rep­re­sented his qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and had ir­reg­u­larly granted salary in­creases to him­self and cer­tain staff mem­bers.

When con­firm­ing Mot­soe­neng’s ap­point­ment, Muthambi said an in­de­pen­dent le­gal firm had cleared him of any wrong­do­ing.

In an SMS re­ply to a me­dia query, she said: “I do not wish to en­gage with Mr Mbebe or his lawyers through the me­dia. They are free to con­tact my of­fice in this re­gard.”

We will file an ap­pli­ca­tion to com­pel her [Muthambi] to set­tle the pay­ment

MNCEDISI NDLOVU

Faith Muthambi

Mvuzo Mbebe

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