The South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) former Chief Operations Officer (COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng now has to pay back more than R850 000 forked out by the broadcaster, for his legal fees, the High Court in Johannesburg has ruled.
The SABC together with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) had approached the courts to recoup exactly R851 981.73 paid to Majavu Incorporated when Motsoeneng had launched a legal bid, challenging a decision to set aside his appointment as COO.
“For purposes of recovering the money, the SIU together with the SABC, approached the High Court to recoup legal fees paid to Majavu Incorporated by the SABC when Mr Motsoeneng was fighting a decision to set aside his appointment as COO. Mr Motsoeneng unlawfully procured payment of legal fees by the SABC, even though the legal services were incurred in his personal capacity,” the SIU said.
According to the judgement, which was handed down on Friday, 29 January 2021, Motsoeneng was ordered to pay back the money with interest. He also has to pay the costs of the interlocutory application and the costs of the default judgment.
Head of the SIU, advocate Andy Mothibi, has welcomed the High Court judgement. “This is a continuation of the implementation of the SIU investigations outcomes and consequent management to recover monies lost by the SABC. The are other cases enrolled in the High Court and in the Special Tribunal awaiting adjudication and will result in further recoveries for the SABC,” Mothubi said.
Motsoeneng was sacked by the SABC in June 2017, after an internal disciplinary hearing found him to having lied about his qualifications. He lost his title of chief operations officer at the SABC after a court set aside his appointment. He was found guilty of bringing the SABC into disrepute and causing irreparable damage to his employer.
In December 2016, the Western Cape High Court also ruled in favour of the DA, finding the appointment of Motsoeneng as the SABC’s group executive of corporate affairs unlawful and irrational.