SABC inquiry to consider witness responses as deadline looms

Vincent Smith.Picture: Jan Gerber
Vincent Smith.Picture: Jan Gerber

The parliamentary ad hoc committee investigating the SABC will meet again on Tuesday with a deadline looming to complete its business.

On its agenda is a discussion of the responses to the draft report from witnesses who testified before the committee.

The committee met last week Tuesday for the same purpose but deferred the task until this week after only two people responded. All the affected parties had until last Thursday to provide their input on the report.

The committee will meet again on Wednesday when it is scheduled to finalise the report it will submit to the National Assembly, where it will be debated. The deadline for this is the end of this month.

But before then, the committee will have to finalise its recommendations, which proved to be a sticking point when the committee met last month.

The first sign of internal strife in the committee reared its head when the DA didn’t agree with the rest of the committee that its recommendations should not be included in the provisional report. When the committee adopted the draft report, the DA’s MPs on the committee, Phumzile van Damme and Mike Waters, were not present.

The rest of the committee members agreed that the recommendations should only be included after the witnesses had been given a chance to respond.

Meanwhile, storm clouds have gathered around the head of the committee’s chairperson, ANC MP Vincent Smith.

This weekend, City Press reported that Geoff Greyling, chief executive of South African Security Solutions & Technology (Sasstec), was accusing him of soliciting a R180 000 bribe to be paid into a United Kingdom university’s account for his daughter’s fees as a gesture of “good faith” to secure a R400-million tender by the correctional services department.

In an affidavit, Greyling accuses Smith of being behind a National Treasury investigation into whether Sasstec’s subsidiary, Integritron Integrated Solutions (IIS), was fraudulently awarded the tender.

Smith, who was praised by many commentators for his professional and independent conduct as chairperson of the ad hoc committee, denied the allegations with contempt.

He said he was not sure how an MP could give “political support” in the awarding of a contract, because the department awarded contracts.

The ad hoc committee’s inquiry was established by Parliament late last year amid controversy over the management and operation of the SABC.

Jan Gerber
Parliamentary journalist
City Press
p:+27 11 713 9001  e:
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