Muthambi went against Constitution, MP tells inquiry

DA MP Phumzile van Damme says that Communications Minister Faith Muthambi overstepped the mark by meddling in SABC affairs.

FILE: Minister of Communications Faith Muthambi. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – Communications Minister Faith Muthambi acted against the Constitution and in breach of the Broadcast Act and the executive code of ethics by interfering in the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) affairs.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Phumzile van Damme says the parliamentary inquiry’s draft report should make this point.

Members of Parliament (MPs) from other parties have also spoken out against the minister’s role in the SABC’s woes.

The ad hoc committee in charge of the probe is racing against time to finalise its preliminary report and recommendations.

Van Damme says that Minister Muthambi overstepped the mark by meddling in SABC affairs and helping to ensure that Hlaudi Motsoeneng was appointed chief operating officer.

“By influencing the SABC board to appoint Mr Motsoeneng she used her position as minister to unfairly influence the SABC board and unfairly benefit Mr Motsoeneng.”

Van Damme says this means Muthambi is in breach of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act. She believes she’s also violated the Constitution and the Broadcast Act.

The Economic Freedom Fighter’s Fana Mokoena says that Muthambi failed to recognise the separation of powers.

“The shareholder (Muthambi) was actively trying to centralise power in her office and removing it from the president, from Parliament, from everybody else and to put it in her office.”

MPs have also been highly critical of the board’s failure to do its job properly.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)