Parliament confident it will press on with SABC inquiry

The committee’s chairperson Vincent Smith says Mbulaheni Maguvhe never requested documents be converted to braille.

The SABC delegation briefs the media following its walkout in Parliament on 07 December 2016. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – Parliament’s portfolio ad hoc committee, tasked with investigating the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board’s fitness to hold office, says it will continue with its proceedings as planned and is confident it’s on the right side of the law in continuing with its inquiry.

The board’s sole remaining member, Mbulaheni Maguvhe, led a walkout of a SABC delegation out of committee proceedings on Wednesday.

This came after Members of Parliament turned down another last-ditch attempt to delay the probe.

Maguvhe, through his legal team, requested that reports of the Auditor-General, Public Protector and Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) be translated to braille as not doing so could jeopordise him.

The committee’s chairperson Vincent Smith says Maguvhe never requested the documents be converted to braille.

“We wrote to all witnesses on 17 November and indicated that if anybody needed any sort of translation, they should inform us. The very next day we got a letter from the SABC, asking us to provide all documents for the process in word format.”

Smith says their work will continue.

“There’s been no decision on the appeal. The judge hasn’t even given reasons for initial dismissal of it. So, as far as we’ve concerned, as things stand we’re still entitled and legally strong to continue with the proceedings, until the court indicates otherwise .”

Smith says Maguvhe abandoning proceedings will not deter the committee from fulfilling its mandate.

“Parliament will summon him if need be. We have the right to summon him. We dispute the fact that we violated his rights as we said earlier on, but I don’t think it’s his call about whether he’ll appear here or not.”

The inquiry is scheduled to run until 15 December and then resume in January.

The committee has to submit its findings to Parliament by the end of February.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)