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We can live with Hlaudi for a bit longer

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We’ve lived with SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng for quite some time now, so we should be able to live with him for a bit longer.

This was part of Advocate Norman Arendse’s response to a suggestion by Justice Mahomed Navsa in Motsoeneng’s Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) hearing that Motsoeneng’s suspension should be put on hold and that disciplinary proceedings against Motsoeneng, as ordered by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, should go ahead.

If this were the case, it would likely mean that what Navsa referred to as “the deep philosophical questions” about whether Madonsela’s findings were binding would be “left for another day”.

A full bench of the SCA, including Judge President Lex Mpati, today began hearing Motsoeneng’s appeal against an interim interdict suspending him pending a review of his appointment as permanent chief operating officer.

The courtroom was packed, and both Madonsela and Motsoeneng attended the proceedings, though they sat at opposite sides of the court.

Scores of Motsoeneng’s supporters, many of whom were dressed in ANC T-shirts, also gathered in the street outside the courthouse.

The five judges of the court this morning repeatedly asked Motsoeneng’s counsel, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the SABC why the interim order was today being argued before the court, when the issues could very well be resolved by the full review of the decision to appoint Motsoeneng, which is set to be heard in a month’s time.

But shortly before lunch, Arendse, representing Motsoeneng, told the court they had “never been averse to a disciplinary hearing, it’s important for Mr Motsoeneng to clear his name”.

Navsa responded: “If you’re not averse to a disciplinary hearing, shouldn’t we just abide that that might in fact negate the need for a review?

“It would seem that would keep [the Public Protector] intact, keep you intact. The SABC is also protected and the minister would then not have concerns about separation of powers.

“If you’re all [of one mind], we can walk out here and we can all feel a little better about this.”

Arendse agreed with this submission, but said he would need to take instructions from his client. However, the issue of Motsoeneng’s interim suspension by the high court, which has been put on ice pending the appeal, remained a sticking point.

“We know as a matter of fact that everybody has lived with Mr Motsoeneng since the report came out, there is no reason they can’t live with him for another … however long it takes,” said Arendse.

The matter continues after lunch. News24

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