Committee determined to thrash out details of SABC deals

The ad hoc committee tasked with the inquiry is set to sit late into the night as MPs thrash out what should and what should not be included in their report.

MPs at work on their draft report following an inquiry into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)’s fitness to hold office. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Members of Parliament (MPs) drafting Parliament’s draft report on its inquiry into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board are determined to include specific details about alleged “suspicious arrangements” the SABC entered into with The New Age, Multichoice and other companies.

The ad hoc committee tasked with the inquiry is set to sit late into the night as MPs thrash out what should and what should not be included.

Earlier on Thursday, committee chairperson Vincent Smith ruled against calling the SABC’s former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng to testify, after most MPs rejected the United Democratic Movement’s (UDM) appeal that he be allowed to put his side of the story.

For most of the hearings, this committee has demonstrated how effective Parliament can be when MPs act together across all parties to hold the executive to account.

But UDM chief whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa’s plea saw the wheels come off.

“If we fail to call Mr Motsoeneng, this committee will have to live with the double stigma of bias and illegitimacy, and this would undermine the excellent work we have done so far.”

All the other parties slammed the idea, saying it was not a disciplinary inquiry and that Motsoeneng and the SABC had had the opportunity to cross-examine every witness, but chose not to do so.

The ACDP's Steve Swart says, “The ad hoc committee will work late into the evening and all of tomorrow to finalise its draft report.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)