We will summons Maguvhe if necessary - SABC inquiry chair

2016-12-07 22:24

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Cape Town - Parliament's ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board will summons Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe to appear before it if necessary, its chairperson has said.

Members of the ad hoc committee held a press briefing on Wednesday following the first day of its inquiry into the SABC, which saw the broadcaster's delegation walk out of proceedings in protest.

Maguvhe told the media that he would not appear before the committee because he felt "bullied" and "his rights have been violated".

"Parliament will summons him if needs be," Committee chairperson Vincent Smith told journalists after Maguvhe's press briefing.

"We have the right to summons him," Smith said, adding that the committee disputed Maguvhe's claim that his rights had been violated.

"We will summons him to appear and at that point if he does not, we will make a decision on the way forward."

Maguvhe is scheduled to appear before the committee on Thursday at 16:00.

'We have every right to proceed'

Maguvhe launched a last-minute appeal on Tuesday against the Western Cape High Court's decision dismissing his request for an interdict to stop the committee's work.

Smith rejected Maguvhe's claim that the committee was acting illegally by sitting while his appeal was still to be heard in court.

"As of this morning there was no court order that barred us from proceedings," he continued. "In fact our legal team went even further that we had strong legal grounds to continue.

"We are absolutely in our rights to have proceeded."

Addressing SABC executive Hlaudi Mostoeneng's allegations that the committee is politically biased, Smith said: "We are politicians, this is a political arena and every member here belongs to a political party.

"We have attempted to be fair and neutral, and from my party X or your party Y, it does not automatically translate that there is a political agenda. Our agenda is accountability."

IFP MP Narend Singh said the SABC's apparent defiance would not stop the ad hoc committee from dealing objectively with facts.

ANC MP Makhosi Khoza said it was a "sad day" when the country's highest legislative body was being questioned.

"Questioning the legitimacy of this committee is questioning the institution itself," she said.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said she was very proud of the committee after it stood its ground against "one man" who was trying to delay accountability.

'Braille issue a delaying tactic'

EFF MP Fana Mokoena told Maguvhe he should not allow himself to be used by people who have no interest in the SABC at heart.

Smith also said Maguvhe's allegations that his rights as a "blind person" were being violated should be rejected with the contempt they deserve.

"We deliberately today asked the Auditor General, the Public Protector and the portfolio committee: have you ever been asked to provide documents [to the professor] in Braille? They never have.

"So this issue about not respecting the professor because he is [partially-sighted] and he needed Braille really is a delaying tactic and we must call it what it is."

Smith repeated that the SABC's own secretary Theresa Geldenhuys indicated on November 18 that they would transcribe the necessary documents into Braille for Maguvhe.

He also said it would be the last time they would respond through the media.

Maguvhe earlier told the media that he had felt bullied, belittled and disrespected by the ad hoc committee.

The inquiry will recommence at 09:30 on Thursday. On the list of witnesses are former board members Vuyo Mavuso, Lulama Mokhobo and Ronny Lubisi, and Maguvhe himself.

Read more on:    sabc  |  mbulaheni ma­gu­vhe  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  parliament 2016

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