Our zero this week is the minister of communications, Faith Muthambi. She is planning to waste more taxpayers’ money in an appeal against the High Court ruling of last week, which found that the appointment of SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng – made by Muthambi – is unlawful and irrational.
Muthambi and Motsoeneng have courted controversy for years. In 2011, after receiving complaints, the Office of the Public Protector launched an investigation. The results were published in February 2014 – titled When Governance and Ethics Fail, the report found that Motsoeneng’s salary had risen from R1.5-million to R2.4-million in one year. Also, according to the report, he had lied about his academic qualifications and purged senior staff.
The public protector recommended Motsoeneng, who was acting COO at the time, be suspended, pending a disciplinary inquiry. No action was taken against him – on the contrary, he was permanently appointed as COO in July. Even the ANC was startled at this development.
Handing down his judgment on Friday, Western Cape High Court judge Dennis Davis said that, given the “muddled and unclear” information Muthambi was working with at the time, she was “in no position to exercise a rational decision to elevate Mr Motsoeneng”. Davis also found that Muthambi had not properly applied her mind to the appointment.
Despite these findings against her and Motsoeneng, Muthambi has still not applied her mind. She’s doggedly fighting what seems to be a losing battle – at the taxpayer’s expense. She is a worthy zero for this week.