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'Maguvhe has no choice but to appear before inquiry after failed interdict'

The committee will resume its work within five days and about 30 witnesses are expected to make submissions.

SABC offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN – The Parliamentary committee investigating the South African Broadcasting Corporate (SABC) board says Mbulaheni Maguvhe has no choice but to appear before the inquiry after losing his bid to interdict the probe.

Maguvhe is the only non-executive member remaining following a series of resignations.

He had his application to have a subpoena set aside stuck down with costs at the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

The ad-hoc committee will resume its work within five days and about 30 witnesses are expected to make submissions.

Committee chairperson Vincent Smith says Maguvhe is one of the people who will have to appear.

“We’ve given him a date and we expect him to appear on that date, I think it’s on Thursday on 9 December.

“So if he doesn’t come on day one and he doesn’t come on the last day that’s his choice but on the day that we’ve scheduled him we expect him to attend because the court just said now that we’ve the right.”

POLITICAL PARTIES WELCOME COURT DECISION

Political parties have welcomed the Western Cape High Court’s decision to dismiss Maguvhe’s application to interdict a Parliamentary inquiry.

The Democratic Alliance has described it as a last ditch attempt by Maguvhe to cling on to power and avoid accountability.

The Inkatha Freedom Party said the verdict is a victory for justice.

The African National Congress’s Vincent Smith, who’s also ad-hoc committee chairperson, said he warned the case was frivolous.

“I feel vindicated. I think it was unnecessarily waste of four days, but of course everybody is entitled to access to justice.”

Lawyers for Maguvhe argued the ad-hoc committee would have been biased against their client because some Members of Parliament have expressed public views about the board.

But Judge Siraj Desai did not agree with their contention.

“I make the following order; the application is dismissed. The first applicant to pay the costs, reasons to follow at later stage.”

Advocate Denzil Potgieter for Parliament described Maguvhe’s claim of partiality as a preemptive strike.

He said his lawyers did not provide evidence to support this claim.

Desai had described the board as non-functional and non-existent with Maguvhe as “the last man standing”.

Smith said the application was a waste of time.

“I don’t think they had a leg to stand on. I think it was an exercise of delaying and the arguments raised by the applicants didn’t have anything of substance.”

Smith added he expects Maguvhe to abide by the court’s ruling.

“I do expect the chair of the board and everybody who feels they might be adversely affected to be here to hear firsthand so they can’t argue that they were spoken about in their absence.”

The inquiry is expected to kick off in Parliament sometime next week.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)