SABC board must walk the talk - Radebe

Cape Town – The SABC needs to walk the talk and abide by the Constitution in respect to the inquiry into the board's fitness to hold office, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Friday.

Briefing the media on the last Cabinet meeting of the year, Radebe reiterated President Jacob Zuma's call for the board to co-operate with the inquiry.

The board staged a walkout during the first day of hearings this week after the only remaining member, Mbulaheni Maguvhe, who is partially-sighted, demanded documents in Braille.

Radebe said, while the SABC walkout had not been discussed as it had happened while they were in a meeting, it was important for the institution to co-operate with Parliament and its oversight.

"I do hope that all those at the SABC read the statement by the Presidency. They should always remind themselves that we need to live by the Constitution. We need to walk the talk," Radebe said.

Earlier in the day, the Presidency said all public officials and entities had to abide by the oversight requirements of Parliament at all times, without any exception.

"The management and staff of government departments as well as board members, management and staff of state-owned entities and companies are all accountable to Parliament for the functions assigned to their ministers.

"All public entities and departments were reminded to respect the other arms of the state, the judiciary and Parliament," he said.

Traditional Courts Bill

Meanwhile, Radebe said Cabinet was pleased that a lot of students in higher education institutions across the country had responded positively to calls to salvage what was left of the 2016 academic year.

They were going to keep working with stakeholders to ensure normality in the 2017 year, he said.

Cabinet has approved three bills, including the problematic Traditional Courts Bill, to be introduced to Parliament.

An earlier version of the bill was rejected after criticism from opposition parties and women's rights groups, who said the bill trampled on the rights of women, especially in rural areas.

The bill would improve access to justice services by all, with the view to promote social cohesion, Radebe said.

He said there had been extensive consultation with all stakeholders who had raised concerns about the bill.

"We are fairly confident that the bill has addressed all the issues that have come forward. Because at the end of the day, the aim of this bill is that traditional courts must be in line with the Constitution. As we speak, justice in those areas is being dispensed using apartheid-era legislation," he said.

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