Public protector Thuli Madonsela said on Tuesday she would certainly look into the new appointment of controversial former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng as its general executive of corporate affairs.

And if it turns out to be illegitimate, her office would seek legal costs from the SABC board that signed off on it.

“The starting point will be to find out what was the process of appointing him,” Madonsela said, in an unrelated press conference she was addressing in Pretoria as the SABC announced Motsoeneng’s return at a Johannesburg event.

She would have to consider whether the position he was appointed to had been vacant, Madonsela said, what the requirements were for the appointment to it and whether Motsoeneng met those requirements.

Madonsela’s report on Motsoeneng, which finally saw him removed as COO of the SABC last week, found he had lied about a matric qualification. As the head of corporate affairs he would remain in the upper echelons of management of the public broadcaster.
He would also be eligible to apply for the post of COO when that (now vacant) position was advertised, SABC chair Mbulaheni Maguvhe said.

Madonsela did not name names, but said she would have to consider whether any SABC board members had been guilty of breaching at least the spirit of her report, and so should be held personally liable for the costs of legal action.

Madonsela’s non-renewable term in office expires in mid-October and there is no prospect that any action she initiates will be concluded before that time. Parliament has recommended Busisiwe Mkhwebane as her replacement, but President Jacob Zuma has not yet ratified that decision. Should he not do so, Madonsela said, her deputy Kevin Malunga would act as public protector.

The SABC held a media briefing on Tuesday to announce “major decisions”. One of these was that Motsoeneng would be reappointed to his old post as group executive of corporate affairs at the state broadcaster. 

“I believe in myself. I believe everywhere I am, I do miracles,” Motsoeneng said regarding his re-appointment as group executive.

“There is only one Hlaudi in South Africa and my future is in my hands.”

SABC acting group chief executive James Aguma said at the briefing that Motsoeneng would be leading efforts to increase revenue at the broadcaster, particularly through overseeing advertising which he said, along with TV licences, brings in 80% of the organisation’s income.

Motsoeneng said it was important to tell people to pay their TV licences at Mandoza’s funeral because with licence fees, artists could be paid.