SABC asks labour court to fire Hlaudi appointees

Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali. © Sunday Times.

The SABC wants the labour court to declare positions of the 28 people who were irregularly appointed by Hlaudi Motsoeneng set aside, declared unlawful and invalid.

The public broadcaster will file an application with the labour court tomorrow to reverse the appointments which did not follow the relevant policies.

“So far, 28 cases have been identified for the first phase of the process. The ongoing investigation might reveal further irregular appointments. All affected parties will be afforded an opportunity to oppose the application,” SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said.

This comes after a report into editorial interference found that there were several positions, including that of senior news management Nothando Maseko, Sebolelo Ditlhakanyane and Charles Matlou, that raised alarms and must be audited.

The report, released by lead investigator veteran journalist Joe Tlholoe, found that the erstwhile former chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng influenced the public broadcaster’s human resources department to either appoint, promote, dismiss and institute disciplinary hearings against employees. It recommended that these must be reviewed.

"The evidence shows that from the year 2012 till 2017, SABC executives took instructions from people with no authority in the newsroom, for example SABC board chairperson [Ellen Tshabalala] and the minister of communications [Faith Muthambi]."

"The executives thus failed to execute their duties in terms of editorial policies," Thloloe said in his report.

Initially, the SABC had identified 31 people whose appointment’s must be reviewed but that number has since dropped to 28.

“The organisation in the course of dealing with the ugly past of the company conducted a number of investigations. One of the issues that came up from investigations is the irregular appointments. These are individuals who have been appointed inconsistently with the regulatory framework of the company,” said SABC head of legal Ntuthuzelo Vanara at the time.

The report follows an investigation by the public protector, another by an ad-hoc committee of parliament and complaints lodged with the Independent Communications Authority of SA.

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