Advocate Zola Majavu and his client, SABC chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
CLEARED: South African Broadcasting Corporation chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng, right, and Advocate Zola Majavu at an early sitting of the disciplinary hearing in Sandton. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

THE Democratic Alliance (DA) has set its sights on having Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s "sham" disciplinary hearing taken to legal review, while he has pulled out of his Constitutional Court fight to challenge a court order that he be suspended.

Mr Motsoeneng’s lawyer, Zola Majavu, confirmed on Thursday that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) head had dropped the Constitutional Court appeal, citing the outcome of his disciplinary hearing in December.

However, James Selfe, chairman of the DA’s federal executive, said the party would take the results of the hearing under legal review. Mr Motsoeneng was cleared of misrepresenting his qualifications and abusing his power at the state broadcaster, despite Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s finding to the contrary.

Her report, When Governance and Ethics Fail, was released in February 2014 and has been the subject of High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal cases.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago referred questions to the broadcaster’s attorney, Titus Mchunu, who had not responded to a request for comment by the time of going to print.

Public protector spokesman Oupa Segalwe said Ms Madonsela was waiting for legal advice before commenting on the decision to clear Mr Motsoeneng and she was not aware he had withdrawn from the Constitutional Court case.

Mr Majavu, commenting on the DA pursuing a legal review of the hearing’s outcome, said: "It’s up to them to do what they wish. They are not a party or were not a party to the internal (hearing). I fail to see why they would be an interested party in the legal sense."

Mr Selfe said: "We have asked for the transcript of the hearing and it is our intention to take it on review…. It was a sham.

"Key witnesses were not called … there is no way that any court will regard (the disciplinary hearing) as having been reasonable…. There were serious allegations made by the public protector."

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said although the Constitutional Court had not yet handed down judgment in the Nkandla matter, the Supreme Court of Appeal had affirmed the public protector’s powers.

"There appears to be an anomaly between the public protector’s report and the findings of the disciplinary inquiry. Either the public protector got it wrong or the disciplinary hearing was a sham…. But we know the public protector’s reports are binding…. The question is, did the SABC comply with the report?" asked Mr de Vos.

In October last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down a judgment in which it confirmed the public protector’s powers and ordered that Mr Motsoeneng be suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

Advocate Willem Edeling, who chaired Mr Motsoeneng’s hearing, dismissed all charges against him, citing insufficient evidence and disparities in the reliability of testimony between defence and the prosecution’s witnesses.