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Calling Motsoeneng A Nazi Is Unacceptable - Lawyer

DA federal chair James Selfe had in October called Motsoeneng "a modern day Goebbels who treats the public broadcaster as his personal fiefdom".

24/11/2016 18:38 SAST | Updated 24/11/2016 20:04 SAST
Antonio Muchave / Gallo Images
During the court case, Motsoeneng sat silently in court listening, while his supporters sang and blew vuvuzelas outside.

Cape Town — The DA's branding of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as a Nazi was completely out of line, the SABC executive's lawyer said in the High Court in Cape Town on Thursday.

"To, in the South African context, call a black man a Nazi is quite frankly something that this court should firmly address," said Andy Bester.

He said it was unacceptable that this term had been used to describe the embattled executive.

The remarks were made by Democratic Alliance federal executive chairperson James Selfe when the court action to remove Motsoeneng was announced in October.

Selfe said: "He is an unethical, manipulative fraudster who has destroyed any semblance of good corporate governance at the SABC.

"Moreover, he is a modern day Goebbels who treats the public broadcaster as his personal fiefdom to spread propaganda."

Joseph Goebbels was the minister of propaganda in the German Third Reich, under the command of Adolf Hitler.

Labour rights

Hitler regarded black people as a threat to the purity of the German race and, along with Jews, they were treated abominably during his rule.

Earlier, Bester reiterated Wednesday's argument that the DA has no right to decide whether Motsoeneng should be kicked out of his job.

The fact that the SABC did not let him go when his 2011 five-year contract expired in April 2016, did not affect Motsoeneng either. The fact that he was still working at the public broadcaster, meant he was still employed there, and the DA could not say that he should go.

"Wanting him to go, deals with employment summarily, without any consideration of his labour rights," said Bester.

A judicial review of the Public Protector's report on his dishonesty over his matric certificate and alleged financial mismanagement was yet to be heard in a Gauteng court, Bester submitted.

Appointment irrational

An ad hoc committee in Parliament is still to decide on the issue and a new disciplinary inquiry is yet to take place.

In 2014, the Public Protector found that there was substance to allegations that Motsoeneng had been involved in financial mismanagement by hiking salaries for staff and himself, and that he had been dishonest about having a matric certificate.

Judge Dennis Davis found that his appointment as Chief Operating Officer was irrational, but stopped short of ordering his removal.

He said this was the job of a disciplinary inquiry, and an inquiry subsequently cleared him.

An appeal against the irrationality finding by the SABC was not successful. The corporation did remove him as COO, but then made him group executive of corporate affairs.

During the court case, Motsoeneng sat silently in court listening, while his supporters sang and blew vuvuzelas outside.

The case continues.