The fact that the review application was lodged after such a long period of time makes it unlikely that condonation will be granted. There is insufficient public interest in support of said condonation. If anything, when one considers the shambolic state of affairs at the Broadcaster, public interest leans towards Motsoeneng’s permanent divorce from the SABC.
Nevertheless, should the Court grant condonation and hear the case presented by the SABC, the facts on hand do not support its case. In December 2016, the Western Cape High Court set aside Motsoeneng’s appointment to Group Executive for Corporate Affairs (GECA) and held that he could not be employed by the Broadcaster. The same Court dismissed an application by the SABC in February 2017 to appeal the December decision, due the high improbability of success. Furthermore, the recently concluded inquiry into the fitness of the now defunct SABC Board delivered a scathing report on the Broadcaster’s workings. Motsoeneng and the Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, are described as major contributors to the quagmire in which the SABC finds itself. The Committee has recommended her conduct at the SABC for investigation by the parliamentary Ethics Committee.
This review application is essentially a bid to reinstate Motsoeneng. In finding Motsoeneng’s appointment to GECA unlawful, the Western Cape High Court said he could not be hired – pending the findings of a new disciplinary inquiry or a court review of parts of the Public Protector’s 2014 report. The SABC is engaged in a continuous effort to protect one man’s livelihood at the expense of the tax payer and the credibility of the SABC. This, on the back of the nomination of members for an Interim Board to salvage the Broadcaster’s financial and management woes which, in one way or another, can be linked to Motsoeneng.
This attempt to review a Report which was, for the most part, disregarded by the SABC, is a waste of tax payers’ money and can only be described as frivolous litigation. This is not the SABC’s first attempt at defending Motsoeneng. Perhaps the condition should be imposed that any costs arising from litigation on behalf of individuals by public entities should be carried by said person, as a deterrent from abusing court processes.
Any efforts to retain incapable and irresponsible leaders at public entities cannot be excused in a society governed by the Rule of Law and constitutional supremacy. Perhaps the SABC has come to be the site for a proxy war involving the governing party’s apparent factions, with unfettered access to the SABC being the spoils of that war.
By Rebecca Sibanda: Legal Assistant, Centre for Constitutional Rights