Judge says 'rational decision maker' needed in Motsoeneng case

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SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng signalled that he would immediately appeal against the order to be suspended from his post pending the outcome of the SCA appeal.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape High Court Judge Dennis Davis said on Tuesday a “rational decision maker” should have interrogated further the fact that SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied when he applied for a job at the broadcaster in 1995.

Davis is currently hearing an application, brought by the Democratic Alliance, to review Motsoeneng’s appointment as the chief operating officer.

During Tuesday afternoon’s proceedings, much of the debate centred around Motsoeneng’s job application at the SABC in 1995 in which he filled in forms stating he had a matric.

Davis said “everyone knew he didn’t have matric, but that’s not the point, the Public Protector is saying that Motsoeneng put down a statement that was not true”.

The lawyer acting for the SABC, Ngwako Maenetje SC, countered saying that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC reached a conclusion that “there wasn’t a lie”. He said the question was “whether that was a rational decision, there must be scope for disagreement”.

Maenetje told the court that Motsoeneng’s affidavits include statements by several people who recruited him explaining what happened in 1995.

But, Davis insisted “it was a lie, and a rational decision maker needs to take it further”.

Maenetje, however, said “a rational decision maker must look at what kind of lie it is”.

Davis insistently returned to the point stating: “Corruption is absolutely rife, doesn’t a rational decision maker say this is a troubling question, what would other employees say if they knew what the head honcho had done.”

Manetje conceded that Motsoeneng accepted, in hindsight, that what he had done was wrong.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, earlier this year, found that Motsoeneng’s appointment as acting COO of the public broadcaster had been irregular, his salary progression in one fiscal year had been irregular, and that his claim to have a matric had been fraudulent.

Despite her recommendation that he be suspended, he was made permanent COO.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi subsequently commissioned a report by Mchunu Attorneys, clearing Motsoeneng of all wrongdoing.

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