SABC inquiry wants Maguvhe to pay up

By Drum Digital
24 January 2017

The SABC inquiry will instruct its legal advisers to pursue former SABC board chairperson Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe to pay for the legal costs involved in trying to halt the inquiry in court

Cape Town - .

Chairperson Vincent Smith on Tuesday said the ad hoc committee looking into the fitness of the SABC board to hold office has still not received payment from Maguvhe after his high court bid to halt the inquiry was dismissed with costs last month.

The professor must pay all our legal costs out of his own pocket, in his personal capacity as ordered by the Western Cape High Court, Smith said.

"The [Judge Siraj] Desai judgment said he must pay, and we must therefore give him the bill," Smith declared.

The ad hoc committee met on Tuesday to continue to debate proposed recommendations for their draft report.

The committee was unanimous that the SABC's editorial policies needed to be realigned with the SABC's charter, so that reporters can work without the fear of intimidation.

Threats, enforcers, journalists

ANC MP Hlomane Chauke said the new interim SABC board should find ways to restore staff morale at the SABC.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said that the SABC's policies should be opened for public participation.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said that should any other reports emerge of alleged threats against SABC staff, the portfolio committee of communications must be instructed to pursue police action.

Van Damme added to that, saying the so-called "enforcers" at the SABC, who were allegedly doing the bidding of SABC executives, should be investigated as well.

Inspector General to probe SSA involvement?

The MPs also discussed the "serious" issue of alleged State Security Agency involvement at the public broadcaster.

Smith said the agency's only role should be vetting proposed candidates for positions. Anything more "should be frowned upon".

Van Damme and fellow DA MP Mike Waters said the committee needed to be firm. Van Damme suggested that State Security minister David Mahlobo conduct an investigation into his agencies’ involvement over the years, and report to Parliament.

Waters said that the new Inspector General should investigate the alleged involvement of the SSA on behalf of the public.

Contradictory testimonies

ANC MP Juli Kilian suggested that Parliament and its legal advisers compile a list of all the witnesses who are suspected of giving false testimony to the committee during the hearings.

Swart said a further inquiry into those identified witnesses and their testimonies should be held.

ANC MP Fezeka Loliwe said evidence of alleged financial misconduct should be referred to Parliament's Scopa committee to investigate.

There was also big debate around the testimony of former SABC board chairperson and current Eskom board chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane.

The DA asked that the committee consider asking Parliament's public enterprises committee look into the fitness of Ngubane to serve on the board at Eskom.

'State capture'

EFF MP Fana Mokoena meanwhile tried to sneak in a clause saying the SABC's disintegration is evidence of a larger programme of "state capture" at parastatals.

He was shot down by ANC and NFP MPs, who said the events are more akin to "undue influence and pressure".

Thus far, MPs have been making individual suggestions which have been recorded in a draft report. The suggestions are not yet binding.

The committee will return on Thursday to negotiate its final draft report, with only one stance recorded as the will of the committee with regards to each topic.

Source: News24

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