The Democratic Alliance (DA) has filed its founding affidavit in the Western Cape High Court to have Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s latest appointment to group executive of corporate affairs at the SABC declared invalid. At a media briefing, James Selfe, chairperson of the DA’s Federal Executive noted that the party was seeking to remove Motsoeneng from a position of influence where he can influence the activities of the public broadcaster.
“The DA maintains that Mr Motsoeneng is a threat to South African democracy. He is an unethical, manipulative fraudster who has destroyed any semblance of good corporate governance at the SABC,” said Selfe.
However, even if Motsoeneng is removed from his current position at the SABC, there is nothing to prevent a future board from hiring him into another position of power within the broadcaster.
“What we are attempting to do is to prevent him from occupying a senior position in the SABC, a position of influence and a position whereby he can continue to cause chaos in the organisation. You will note the fact that besides the fact that he is group executive of corporate affairs he managed to land up in charge of radio, it just gives one some sort of indication, notwithstanding the title, the person has the uncanny ability to take on much more responsibility than his title may suggest,” explained Selfe.
DA to take the steps parliament can’t?
There are certain things that parliament cannot properly deal with, with regards to the SABC and its board, Selfe noted, however, the DA court case attempts to address these. “I think our court case goes slightly further than the parliamentary process is able to go, while we support that process, we are putting some belts and braces in place to make doubly certain that the corporation is put in a position where they can function optimally and functionally,” said Selfe.
Furthermore, the DA is attempting to have all decisions made by the SABC board post 12 September 2016 declared invalid. The Broadcasting Act states that a quorum consists of nine members, as the SABC board has had less than this number of members since 12 September, every decision it has made since then, including the recent appointment of Motsoeneng as group executive of corporate affairs is not legal.
“As such we are also asking the Court for a declaration that the SABC Board is not only inquorate - it has only six members and requires nine for a quorum with the remaining members refusing to resign to allow an interim Board to be appointed - but that it too has aided and abetted the sharp decline of the public broadcaster,” stated Selfe.
“It is also worthwhile noting that the SABC is not the only dysfunctional public entity, one can think very clearly of the SAA in this respect, and we hope that the same sort of scrutiny that has been given to the SABC will also be given to SAA and its activities,” added Selfe.