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Committee probing SABC board adopts draft report

The report’s adoption was not without drama as the Democratic Alliance walked out of the meeting.

FILE: MPs at work on their draft report following an inquiry into the SABC board's fitness to hold office. Picture: Gaye Davis/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s inquiry into the SABC has adopted its draft report.

Copies will now be sent to affected parties.

These include Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and former SABC board chairpersons Dr Ben Ngubane and Ellen Tshabalala among other witnesses who appeared before the inquiry.

The report’s adoption was not without drama as the DA walked out of the meeting.

The DA’s Phumzile van Damme says the party doesn’t support the report being sent out without the committee’s recommendations.

The draft report was adopted after the committee heard further evidence of intimidation against SABC journalist Suna Venter, who says she was shot in the face with an air pistol.

It’s emerged that Venter this week underwent surgery on the wound sustained in January.

Two pellets from an air rifle were removed.

Venter is one of the so-called SABC 8 who challenged censorship at the broadcaster.

Some of them last year received death threats, mysterious break-ins, tampering with their vehicles and other incidents.

Affected parties will now have about two weeks to submit responses to the report which will then be considered by the committee after which it will finalise its recommendations to Parliament.

The draft report will also be published on Parliament’s website.

Earlier on Friday saw heated debate in the committee.

Legal advice to the committee was that affected parties might challenge some of the committee’s findings or observations, and their responses should be taken into account before it finalises its recommendations.

Makhosi Khoza took exception to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) accusation that she and her fellow African National Congress Members of Parliament were now taking instructions from Luthuli House to water down the report.

"To those that suffer from this Luthuli House post-traumatic syndrome, we’re not controlled. We’re independent thinkers. There is no way we can make observations and then turn around and make different recommendations that are not speaking to the observations."

Earlier the DA, backed by the Economic Freedom Fighters and African Christian Democratic Part, lost a battle to blame the majority party for Parliament’s failure to act to halt the rot at the SABC.

The United Democratic Movement’s Nqabayomzi Kwankwa says Parliament must take collective responsibility.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)