Cape Town - Parliament’s inquiry into the SABC board agreed on Friday to finalise its draft report without any recommendations, until those implicated had been given a chance to respond.
African National Congress MP Juli Kilian said this would ensure that Parliament’s ad hoc committee did not pre-judge those implicated until all evidence and responses had been gathered.
Eight MPs voted against the inclusion of preliminary recommendations. Democratic Alliance MPs Phumzile van Damme and Mike Waters voted for their inclusion. They walked out when the meeting reconvened for the report’s formal adoption after an hour-long break.
The report was adopted by a majority decision.
Van Damme, who is also DA national spokesperson, said in a statement issued afterward that they would not be party to a process seeking to shield anyone from accountability.
She said the ANC MPs had spent "three months putting the country first", but had then made a U-turn and decided to absolve their own.
"When it is too good to be true, it usually is," she said.
She said the ANC’s change of tack had come after the DA made tough recommendations, including that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi be sacked, and that Parliament investigate the fitness of former SABC board chairperson Ben Ngubane to serve on the Eskom board.
'Narrow political agenda'
The ANC said it was disappointed that the DA "threw its toys out of the cot" after being defeated in the vote on recommendations.
"The committee received legal opinion that it would not be correct for the committee to prejudge people through recommendations without giving them a right of reply," it said in a statement.
"All parties in the committee accepted this legal opinion, except the DA. The fact that they decided to stage a walk-out after they were defeated in a democratic vote shows lack of understanding in how democracy functions."
The ANC said it wanted the process to remain transparent, fair and lawful.
"We will never accept any narrow political agenda from any political party that is intended to tarnish the whole process which has been co-operative, politically impartial and without fear or favour."