SABC inquiry chairperson expressly denies any political influence

Vincent Smith says he is not receiving any instructions from Luthuli House or the ANC chief whip on how to run the committee.

A video screengrab shows Vincent Smith listening to deliberations in Parliament.

JOHANNESBURG – Chairperson of the inquiry into the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Vincent Smith has expressly denied decisions around its report were influenced by political pressure.

On Friday the committee submitted its draft report without recommendations for remedial action –much to the dissatisfaction of Democratic Alliance (DA) members, who walked out of the committee meeting.

It was decided that those implicated, including Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and former board member Ben Ngubani, should first be given a chance to respond, before the committee would write up any recommendations.

During an interview on Cape Talk on Saturday morning, Smith said there is nothing suspicious about a decision that all parties agreed with, barring the DA.

“If what we produce we are able to defend [and] has been done largely in the open so that South Africans can see it and then you still judge us to have been lacking credibility, then we must accept. But I think it would be preemptive right now, because all political parties except the DA felt that recommendations would not be appropriate.”

Smith says he is not receiving any instructions from Luthuli House on how to run the committee.

“Not only are we not receiving [instruction] from the ANC at Luthuli House, we are not even receiving from the chief whip of the ANC. I can say to you right now, on my mother’s honour, that I have not – and nobody has come to influence the ANC’s position from Luthuli House or even from the leadership of the ANC in Parliament.”

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)