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That’s a wrap: Parly inquiry into SABC board to resume next year

So far, witnesses have painted a bleak picture of political interference, censorship and SABC funds being channeled to support the Gupta TV channel, ANN7.

FILE: The Houses of Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Parliament's ad hoc committee conducting the inquiry into the fitness of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board has wrapped up its work for the year.

The inquiry is expected to resume next month, with the committee set to deliberate a draft report on 10 January.

The committee will also consider when former SABC board chairpersons Ellen Tshabalala and Ben Ngubane can be scheduled to attend the inquiry.

The committee has reiterated its call to all witnesses who gave testimony to still furnish any additional information that they may have.

So far, witnesses have painted a bleak picture of political interference, censorship and SABC funds being channeled to support the Gupta TV channel, ANN7.

The committee heard that Hlaudi Motsoeneng usurped power from former CEO Lulama Mokhobo.

The former CEO says she was treated with contempt by many in the organisation, including Motsoeneng who went over her head on big decisions.

It also emerged that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi put pressure on the public broadcaster’s board to permanently appoint Motsoeneng.

Muthambi, who was grilled by the committee when she testified, said the board’s failure to exercise its duties was not her responsibility alone.

The minister also denied interfering with editorial decisions at the SABC.

In a statement, the committee expressed concern about being denied documents by the SABC under the pretext that it could compromise the commercial competitiveness of the corporation.

The chairperson of the committee, Vincent Smith, said he regarded the conduct of the SABC as tantamount to the subverting of Parliament’s constitutional duty to conduct effective oversight.

“We feel strongly that the SABC has misled a committee of Parliament and treated it with contempt.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)