SABC inquiry at Parliament: So what happens now?

Still a long way to go for SABC board inquiry before report to Parliament on February 28

There is still a long way to go before the parliamentary ad hoc committee on the SABC board inquiry presents its report to Parliament on February 28.

The committee was established by a resolution of the National Assembly last month to conduct an inquiry into the remaining three members of the SABC Board regarding their fitness to hold office.

It was established after the board members objected to the Portfolio Committee on Communications conducting the inquiry‚ citing fear of prejudice.

The 11-person committee began its inquiry last month even though two other board members resigned after the committee was established.

Committee chair Vincent Smith said because SABC board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe remained on the board‚ the inquiry must continue.

From November 15 until Thursday 15 December‚ the committee has heard testimony from a number of witnesses‚ including Maguvhe‚ former board members‚ Communications Minister Faith Muthambi and the “SABC 8” – eight senior producers and journalists who were suspended and seven of whom were later reinstated following a public outcry.

Smith had expected the SABC management to present its evidence on Wednesday afternoon‚ but SABC Acting CEO James Aguma asked to present a written response to the board.

Smith ruled that the SABC management will be given a chance to respond to a draft report that will be prepared by the ad hoc committee and presented to affected parties in the middle of January.

Smith indicated on Thursday that there had been requests that former SABC chairpersons Ellen Tshabalala and Ben Ngubane be interviewed.

Smith said the committee had been able to make contact with Ngubane‚ who said he would be available on January 10‚ when the committee reconvenes. Smith said there was hope the committee could also interview Tshabalala on January 10.

“We will now start drafting our report and will slot in those two’s inputs so that we have the draft report.”

Smith said in the week beginning January 9‚ the committee members will look at its initial base document and strengthen it in the manner the committee would like to craft it.

“Round about 15 January‚ we will send that crafted or strengthened document to all affected stakeholders and afford those stakeholders two weeks to make comments on our base document and to return those comments to us by the end of January.

“Immediately (after) we’ve received them or the deadline for responses has come and gone‚ we will reconvene and start crafting a final document and which we will hopefully adopt as a committee and present to parliament within the timeframes Parliament has asked us to do our job‚” Smith said.

The Democratic Alliance said during the past few days‚ the committee had heard testimony describing complete collapse of good governance at the public broadcaster.

“The DA will now plough through the 577 documents provided by the SABC to the Ad Hoc committee with the view of getting to the bottom of what has happened at the SABC‚ to devise concrete steps about what needs to happen to fix the SABC‚ and to hold those responsible accountable‚” said Phumzile van Damme‚ the DA’s national spokesperson who is also a member of the committee.




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