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MPs reject SABC request for witnesses to testify in camera

The inquiry is sitting for a third day after resuming hearings this week after a legal attempt to stop it from proceeding failed last week.

FILE: The SABC offices in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Picture: Tshepo Lesole/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Parliamentary inquiry investigating the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board has rejected requests that some witnesses give testimony in camera.

The inquiry is sitting for a third day after resuming hearings this week after a legal attempt to stop it from proceeding failed last week.

The ad hoc committee also intends to issue summons to the only remaining non-executive board member, board chairperson professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, who failed to appear before the committee.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have been unanimous in rejecting requests that some testimony be made in private.

Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile van Damme says the SABC is a public broadcaster and South Africans deserve to know what's happening.

“The SABC accounts to Parliament so they must provide the documents for us.”

The EFF’s Fana Mokoena has raised concerns that some witnesses have allegedly been threatened.

“I do think we should send a very strong message to whoever at the SABC or anywhere else, who are threatening people coming to this platform.”

Former SABC board member Krish Naidoo and former acting group CEO Phil Molefe are expected to make submissions to the committee on Friday.

At the same time the Presidency, following a walkout by the SABC delegation this week, has reminded officials at state-owned companies that they are required to respect Parliament and abide by its requirements without exception.

The presidency's Bongani Ngqulunga explains: “This is very important, our Constitution requires them to do so. We are be celebrating 20 years since the Constitution was brought into law and it’s very important that everybody does that.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)