The lawyer representing suspended Black Business Council president Danisa Baloyi claims instead of recovering R5 million of allegedly misappropriated funds, the organisation is embarking on a "smear campaign" aimed at tarnishing Baloyi's reputation.
Baloyi's lawyer, Lesley Ramulifho, said the BBC is going on a "witch hunt". Baloyi is planning to take legal action against the BBC following its decision to suspend her over a missing donation of R5 million from the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa).
"The manner in which [Baloyi's] suspension was done was irregular. There was a media briefing without consulting my client... The prima facie evidence is not proven and yet they are going after my client. This is a smear campaign to tarnish her reputation," Ramulifho said.
"The BBC knows exactly where the money is, and instead of going after it, they are going on a witch hunt. We don't know exactly what it is that they are investigating. As soon as the report comes out, we are under instruction to assess the matter and advise on further legal action."
Baloyi allegedly facilitated the payment of the R5 million donation -- meant to fund the BBC's transformation lobbying programme -- to an intermediary, Merit Energy. In a statement on Friday, Acsa said the donation was brokered by Baloyi and her office instructed the money be paid specifically to Merit Energy.
BBC secretary-general George Sebulela denied there was a witch hunt or smear campaign against Baloyi.
"It is disappointing to hear such statements. It cannot be normal for an organisation to run a smear campaign against its own president," Sebulela said.
"Acsa confirmed that an instruction was given by the president [Baloyi] to pay money into that account...The money was diverted before it came to our account. We have opened a case, Acsa has opened a case and we are running our own internal processes."