HLAUDI JUDG­MENT UP­SET

CityPress - - News - XOLANI MBAN­JWA xolani.mban­jwa@city­press.co.za

Ahigh court rul­ing that Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela’s find­ings are not bind­ing has vin­di­cated ANC MPs in Par­lia­ment’s com­mit­tee deal­ing with the con­tro­ver­sial R246 mil­lion up­grades to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s pri­vate Nkandla res­i­dence, says com­mit­tee chair­per­son Cedric Frolick.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties have walked out of the mul­ti­party com­mit­tee and ac­cused the ANC of de­fend­ing Zuma at the cost of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

“The judg­ment bol­sters the majority view as far as the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s re­me­dial ac­tions are con­cerned,” said Frolick.

“Par­lia­ment is not bound by the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s find­ings. The Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor is not a judge and can­not make or­ders to the state that must be ex­e­cuted. We will sim­ply con­tinue with our work and make rec­om­men­da­tions to the House. We will not deal with the pow­ers of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor, but the judg­ment will as­sist us in fi­nal­is­ing the work be­cause at least there’s a ju­di­cial rul­ing on her re­me­dial ac­tion,” said Frolick.

On Fri­day, Western Cape High Court judge Ash­ton Schip­pers handed down judg­ment on the DA’s ap­pli­ca­tion to force the SABC to in­sti­tute dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng.

This mea­sure was or­dered by Madon­sela after she in­ves­ti­gated Mot­soe­neng and found he had lied about his qual­i­fi­ca­tions and should face dis­ci­plinary ac­tion for, among oth­ers, ar­bi­trar­ily sack­ing staff.

In­stead of in­sti­tut­ing dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi ap­pointed Mot­soe­neng per­ma­nently as chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer (COO). This prompted the DA to take the mat­ter to court.

Schip­pers or­dered the SABC to charge Mot­soe­neng within 14 days and to sus­pend him pend­ing the out­come of his dis­ci­plinary hear­ing.

But Mot­soe­neng and Madon­sela have vowed to ap­ply for leave to ap­peal against the judg­ment.

Madon­sela’s spokesper­son, Oupa Se­galwe, said Schip­pers’ rul­ing would have se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for the pow­ers of other chap­ter 9 in­sti­tu­tions – and for thou­sands of or­di­nary South Africans who lodge com­plaints against state wrong­do­ing.

Other chap­ter 9 in­sti­tu­tions in­clude the of­fice of the Au­di­tor-Gen­eral, the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion, the SA Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion and the Com­mis­sion for Gen­der Equal­ity.

Mot­soe­neng said he was pre­par­ing to chal­lenge the rul­ing all the way to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court be­cause he be­lieved Schip­pers could not force the SABC to act against him when the pub­lic broad­caster had al­ready “cleared” him of any wrong­do­ing.

“Re­mem­ber the SABC has also cleared me. That mat­ter is very in­ter­est­ing be­cause if you clear a per­son, how do you come back and charge that per­son? But also, if the judge agreed that the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor’s rec­om­men­da­tions were not bind­ing, how do you force the SABC to also take ac­tion be­cause you’re say­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions are not bind­ing?” asked Mot­soe­neng.

His lawyer, Zola Majavu, said his client was pre­pared to pe­ti­tion the Supreme Court of Ap­peal if his ap­pli­ca­tion for leave to ap­peal was turned down.

“He [Mot­soe­neng] can only be sus­pended when he re­ceives his charge sheet from the SABC.

“Schip­pers gave the SABC 14 days in which to serve him with a charge sheet and un­til he re­ceives the charge sheet he is still the COO,” said Majavu.

Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng

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