SABC members walk out of Parliament inquiry

2016-12-07 11:43
Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Parliament. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Parliament's inquiry into the SABC board will continue its work, despite members of the broadcaster walking out of the inquiry in protest on Wednesday.

Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, the last remaining board member, on Tuesday launched a late appeal against the High Court's decision to dismiss his request for an interdict last week, ad hoc committee chairperson Vincent Smith revealed.

The committee broke for 30 minutes on Wednesday to discuss the way forward.

"After listening to the legal team, and taking advice from legal counsel, we go back to the point we made when we started, that Parliament would not be deterred from its work," Smith said after their private meeting.

"There is no court order as we speak from continuing its work, and so shall it be. We will continue, today."

Following the resumption of the meeting, Maguvhe laid another complaint.

He said the documents the inquiry would be using this week, including the Auditor General's report and the Public Protector's report, were not in Braille, and would "jeopardise" him.

Maguvhe is partially blind.

Smith replied that SABC secretary Theresa Geldenhuys had notified the committee on November 18 before Maguvhe was scheduled to appear that they would transcribe the documents into Braille themselves, and therefore denied his late request.

Executive members, including Maguvhe, acting CEO James Aguma and chief executive of corporate affairs Hlaudi Motsoeneng, then walked out.

Expedited appeal

Smith told the ad hoc committee earlier on Wednesday that Judge Siraj Desai had not given reasons yet for his decision to reject Maguvhe's interdict request.

"If that is the position, I'm unclear on what basis an appeal could have been made," he had said.

Smith said it was the opinion of Parliament's legal counsel to proceed cautiously, with a preference to expedite the appeal in the High Court before proceeding with the hearings.

All MPs who spoke agreed that Parliament's legal team should expedite the appeal process "as soon as possible".

DA MPs Mike Waters and Phumzile van Damme wanted the committee to still proceed on Wednesday, as there was no court order to halt the inquiry.

IFP MP Narend Singh, though, said it was important for Parliament to respect the right of a citizen to appeal a decision, to maintain the moral high ground.

EFF MP Fana Mokoena said Maguvhe needed to provide reasons to Parliament as to his decision, in his personal capacity, given that there was no longer a board.

A representative from the auditor general was speaking at the time the SABC walked out of the inquiry.

Read more on:    sabc  |  mbulaheni maguvhe  |  media  |  parliament 2016

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