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SABC inquiry: Muthambi to face further investigation?

Earlier on Thursday, MPs wrestled with how far it can go in taking action against Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

A screengrab of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi answering questions in Parliament.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament’s inquiry into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has wrapped up for the day. It reconvenes tomorrow to finalise and adopt its draft report.

Members of Parliament (MPs) still have to finalise the report’s recommendations, which will also be debated on Friday.

Earlier, MPs wrestled with how far it can go in taking action against Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

During the inquiry, MPs heard that Muthambi pressured the board into appointing Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer when the Public Protector had made damning findings against him.

The Democratic Alliance believes that Minister Muthambi violated the Constitution, the Executive Members’ Ethics Act and other laws by failing to properly oversee the SABC board and giving contradictory evidence.

African National Congress MPs have urged caution over the wording of the inquiry’s draft report.

Dr Makhosi Khoza said: "There might be an assumption that probably those in the ruling party are going to try and be soft or whatever (on the minister). I’m just appealing for us to be objective in the way we are crafting our observations."

Khoza says the inquiry’s approach was inquisitorial.

"This is not a disciplinary hearing."

The report’s likely to say Muthambi appears to have broken the law, with this to be decided by further investigation.

DISAGREEMENTS OVER RECOMMENDATIONS

Parties have also locked horns over how to deal with the recommendations of the inquiry into the SABC board.

ANC MP Juli Kilian proposed waiting to finalise the inquiry’s recommendations until affected parties have submitted their responses to the draft report.

"I would like to suggest that we’re actually exposing our process to the situation where we’ve made our conclusions before we’ve had the input on our observations and the body of our report."

But the DA and other opposition parties opposed the move.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme said: "Why are we now at the 11th hour getting cold feet and saying no, we must not touch the recommendations? We need to be firm, we need to give strong recommendations and when we submit the report for comment we’ll submit a full report."

The EFF’s Fana Mokoena cautioned that the ad hoc committee risked sabotaging the good work it had already done.

The ANC’s Hlomane Chauke denied the party was “running away” from making the recommendations, saying the committee needed more time to strengthen them.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)