15 June 2017

South Africa: DA in Bid to Find Out Who Misled SABC Inquiry

The Democratic Alliance will try to gain access to a report from Parliament's legal services unit identifying witnesses who gave contradictory or misleading evidence during the SABC inquiry.

It would do so using the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

During Thursday's National Assembly programme committee, DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters asked when the report would be tabled. He served on the ad hoc committee that conducted the inquiry into the SABC board's fitness to hold office.

He said National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete had indicated that, following legal advice, she would first hold talks with the implicated parties.

"It is unclear why she has chosen to do this, and under what authority, and how long this process will take. I asked, pointedly, if we could at least be given an assurance that report will not be sanitised or redacted," Waters said.

False testimony

The report was one of the key recommendations in the report of the SABC inquiry.

Parliament's legal services was tasked with identifying those who "misled the inquiry or provided false information or false testimony with the aim of criminal charges being laid".

MPs who served on the committee questioned the truthfulness of several witnesses, including former communications minister Faith Muthambi (now public service and administration minister), former SABC and Eskom chairperson Ben Ngubane, and former SABC board chairperson Obert Maguvhe.

This report on false testimony was completed by June 5, in accordance with the ad hoc committee's recommendations. A copy was handed to the Speaker's office, but has yet to be tabled in Parliament.

Waters said Mbete was obliged to table this report before the House as it was a recommendation of an ad hoc committee and not a personal undertaking.

It should also be referred to the communications portfolio committee, where the ad hoc committee originated.

"The ad hoc committee into the SABC was a stellar example of how Parliament, through diligence and multi-party co-operation, held the executive to account and addressed governance issues at an ailing state-owned entity.

"It would be a massive disservice to everyone involved in the committee that those who misled the enquiry or provided false testimony, under oath, be allowed to escape accountability and censure," he said.

Source: News24

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