Motsoeneng feels 'prejudiced' by SABC inquiry process

Cape Town – Former SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng says he feels prejudiced by Parliament's SABC inquiry process, as he did not appear before the ad hoc committee to give evidence.

This was according to a letter Motsoeneng's legal team wrote to the inquiry in response to its interim report, chairperson Vincent Smith revealed on Tuesday.

Smith said the letter was essentially a "letter of protest", and that Motsoeneng wanted the committee to place it on record in its final report that he was prejudiced for not appearing to give evidence during witness testimony in December and January.

ACDP MP Steve Swart suggested that the committee agree to include Motsoeneng's letter in the report, but that the committee formally disagrees with Motsoeneng's claim.

The committee previously agreed that the SABC officials were given a chance to participate in witness proceedings, but chose to walk out of their own accord on the first day of hearings, Swart said.

MPs were unanimous that the committee should formally disagree with Motsoeneng's grievance, and would note it in their final report that the SABC and Motsoeneng had been given a chance to participate.

'Forward looking'

The committee spent Tuesday morning discussing "minor" responses to its interim report, agreeing to deal with the substantial responses in the afternoon.

Witnesses who testified in December, such as former board member Rachel Kalidass and former group executive Itani Tseisi, simply registered their agreement for the contents of the interim report.

Others, like former board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala, disagreed with some of the findings, and wanted the committee to favour inputs that were made under oath, as opposed to those that were mere submissions.

The SABC 8 also made a submission that was "forward looking", Smith revealed.

It spoke to how the new interim board should approach addressing editorial problems in the SABC newsrooms, including the establishment of an internal ombudsman.

Smith said their input did not contradict or seek to change the interim report's contents, and would be accepted and added as an annexure.

Substantial submissions still to be discussed included a response from The New Age Media, former board chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane, and Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, whose response is 20 pages long.

The committee has saved the SABC's formal 140-page response for last, to be discussed on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

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