DADA optimistic about SCA’s determination of powers of the Public Protector

While the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has reserved its judgement for a later date, the Democratic Alliance (DA) is optimistic that today’s proceedings will vindicate the Public Protector by upholding the original Western Cape High Court ruling that the remedial action ordered by the Public Protector cannot be ignored and must be rationally engaged by way of a proper court process.

This comes after the SCA today heard the appeal of the interim relief that the DA obtained in the Western Cape High Court in the matter regarding the force and effect to have the remedial action of the Public Protector as ordered in her report enforced. Specifically, the Public Protector’s damning findings against the SABC COO, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, could not be ignored.

The Public Protector found, in her report entitled “When Governance and Ethics Fail”,  that he had lied about having a matric certificate, purged staff members perceived as disloyal to him and fraudulently inflated salaries (including his own – from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year).

The Public Protector ordered that a disciplinary inquiry must be instituted. All legal counsel to Mr Motsoeneng, Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi and the SABC finally agreed that disciplinary process should be instituted into his disastrous conduct at the SABC.

While this capitulation by the SABC cohort is a welcomed victory for the DA, it must be mentioned that this came at great cost to the DA, the Public Protector and the South African taxpayer who funded the exploits of a vexatious litigants that are Mr Motsoeneng, the SABC and Minister Muthambi who agreed to the very remedies we have argued be actioned from the very beginning. This is nothing more than a tacit admittance that the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng- in the first place- is so clearly irrational.

Similarly the implications of this finding in the Nkandlagate scandal are immense. In the Nkandla Report, the Public Protector ordered the President to pay a reasonable percentage of the costs of the non-security upgrades to his private home. It is clear that the judgment applies to this remedial action too. The President cannot ignore the remedial action in this report.

The DA is confident that either unsuccessful party will appeal to the Constitutional Court who will come to a final determination on the force and effect of the Public Protector’s remedial actions.

The DA is confident that the SCA will uphold the part of the judgement that the remedial action of the Public Protector cannot be ignored but be engaged fully, rationally and by way of a proper court process.

Issued by James Selfe on behalf of DA

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