SABC’s Mbulaheni Maguvhe cries foul over Parliament debacle

Mbulaheni Maguvhe, the chairman of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), cried foul over Parliament’s ad hoc committee set up to probe the affairs of the public broadcaster. He was speaking at the press conference at the African Pride Hotel in the Cape Town city center after he, his legal team and SABC executives walked out of the official start of the inquiry by Parliament’s ad hoc committee.

“The process is not fair,” Mbulaheni Maguvhe told journalists. “How would the scribe know what would be sensible to me? Or would they just write everything down?” he asked. “I have the right to legal representation and to any relevant information that I might need. I’m not happy with the way things are unfolding and the process is not fair. I am not stalling the inquiry by making these requests,” he said, referring to the claims made by the committee members that he was using stall tactics. Further explaining that the committee had offered him the services of a scribe instead of translating documents into braille.

Meanwhile Hlaudi Motsoeneng said he had been requested to attend proceedings so as to explain what has been going on at the SABC, “We respect the ad hoc committee and will cooperate with them but they also need to be careful. They should not fall into a trap of being used by other people,”  Motsoeneng was quoted saying.

The walk out by the SABC executives did not sit well with African National Congress (ANC) chief whip Jackson Mthembu. “The walkout and the irrational request by Maguvhe and other SABC representatives today are the latest in a series of stalling tricks aimed at frustrating the work of the ad hoc committee,” Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

“The committee is already behind schedule due to Maguvhe’s court interdict, which was rejected by the Western Cape High Court on Friday. Late yesterday afternoon, on the eve today’s meeting, Maguvhe launched an urgent appeal with the hope of interdicting the probe from going ahead,” Mthembu’s statement continued.

“The committee is already behind schedule due to Maguvhe’s court interdict, which was rejected by the Western Cape High Court on Friday. Late yesterday afternoon, on the eve today’s meeting, Maguvhe launched an urgent appeal with the hope of interdicting the probe from going ahead,” Jackson Mthembu was quoted.

“The utter disrespect that the SABC chairman and his lackeys continue to demonstrate against Parliament, including the very institution they lead, represents a serious attack against these public institutions and the people of South Africa,” Mthembu said.

“Depending on the gravity of the conduct, such disruptions are punishable by a fine or an imprisonment for up to three years, the act also prescribes a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months against a witness who is before a committee of Parliament who refuses to ‘produce any document in his or her possession or custody or under his or her control which he or she has been required to produce,” Jackson Mthembu’s office said in a statemement.

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