'This is how Parliament must work': SABC inquiry MPs congratulate each other

Cape Town - In a rare showing breaching party lines, MPs of the SABC inquiry on Friday congratulated each other after adopting their final report into the state of the public broadcaster.

At the end of the meeting, relieved and exhausted looking MPs joked with each other during their allotted minute for closing remarks.

"The ANC is kinda moving in the right direction," EFF MP Fana Mokoena said to the ruling party MPs.

ANC MP Fezeka Loliwe said the ANC delegation had never missed a day, and that opposition parties were welcome to follow their "exemplary" work.

Waters congratulated the ANC on giving their closing remarks in one minute, saying they may need to get used to doing it after the 2019 general elections.

MPs also thanked the backroom staff who worked tirelessly on the document, and the media and public for their interest in their work.

READ: SABC inquiry adopts final report

Open, robust, fair

ANC MP Hlomane Chauke told News24 after the meeting that his party was happy with the report.

He described the grueling three-month process as open, robust and fair.

"This is how Parliament must work generally. If Parliament can operate in the manner it operated, we won't have a situation where we have to run to the courts, or to the Public Protector.

"We had to do that because we had failed [in the past]."

Mokoena described the inquiry as a first, professional and largely effective.

"We are happy with the recommendations against the minister. We would have liked more investigation into the state capture allegations at the SABC, but we are not going to get everything," he said.

"We are happy that the inquiry unearthed some of the starvation of our coverage during the elections."

Committee chairperson Vincent Smith said the process had been a marathon and had tested the mental and physical abilities of MPs, but that he was happy with the outcome.

"All in all, I think members worked as a team across party lines.

"Where we had differences, we were able to resolve them, not because we met each other as political parties, but we were all of the view it was Parliament we were trying to protect and serve."

Smith said he hoped it was a sign of how parties could work together in Parliament.

DA to keep 'close eye' on implementation

The DA, meanwhile, welcomed the adoption of the final report.

It commended the work done by the committee, but said it was unfortunate that the SABC had to deteriorate to such an extent before something was done.

"It is apparent that the ANC had no political will to address the rot within the National Broadcaster and any attempt by the DA to use parliamentary mechanisms were blocked," a party statement said on Friday.

The party said it became evident that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi "not only lied to the committee in her responses, but was also the central figure in ensuring that former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng continued his reign of terror at the SABC".

The DA was the only party that wanted to take further action against Muthambi. All other parties resolved to refer these breaches to the Ethics Committee and the president for investigation.

"The DA will keep a close eye on the implementation of the recommendations.

"If, after a reasonable time, these recommendations are not implemented effectively, the DA will not hesitate to institute criminal or other charges against any persons, including the Minister, who willfully mislead the committee."

The report will be tabled in Parliament on Monday.

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