Row flares over SABC re­port

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA

A ROW has erupted over a re­port of Par­lia­ment’s le­gal ser­vices, which iden­ti­fied peo­ple who mis­led the ad hoc com­mit­tee that in­ves­ti­gated the af­fairs of the SABC.

The re­port was handed to the of­fice of Speaker Baleka Mbete by the le­gal ser­vices about a month ago, but it has yet to be of­fi­cially tabled in Par­lia­ment.

The ad hoc com­mit­tee found that, in many in­stances, the ev­i­dence pro­vided by wit­nesses was con­tra­dic­tory.

It then rec­om­mended that the ev­i­dence leader should an­a­lyse the tes­ti­monies and that Par­lia­ment’s le­gal ser­vices should make ap­pro­pri­ate rec­om­men­da­tions.

Since the re­port was fi­nalised last month, the DA has been at­tempt­ing to ac­cess it, with­out suc­cess, de­spite fil­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion in terms of the Pro­mo­tion of Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act.

Yes­ter­day, DA MP Mike Waters ac­cused Par­lia­ment’s Act­ing Sec­re­tary Pene­lope Tyawa of hav­ing joined Mbete in with­hold­ing the re­port from be­ing tabled. This was after Tyawa de­nied his ap­pli­ca­tion.

In a let­ter to Waters, dated July 6, Tyawa said the re­port was with Mbete: “The Speaker in­tends to re­fer the re­port to the rel­e­vant struc­tures of the Na­tional As­sem­bly in ac­cor­dance (with) the Na­tional As­sem­bly’s rules.”

Tyawa as­sured Waters that he would be granted ac­cess to the re­port after its sub­mis­sion to Par­lia­ment by the end of Au­gust or soon there­after. She also ad­vised him that he could make a writ­ten sub­mis­sion after 30 days on re­ceipt of her let­ter on why he should be granted ac­cess to the re­port be­fore it was tabled.

Waters de­scribed the un­der­tak­ing to ta­ble the re­port next month as “vague” and the rea­son for deny­ing him ac­cess to it as “laugh­able”.

“Par­lia­ment’s le­gal ser­vices unit com­pleted the re­port and sub­mit­ted it to Par­lia­ment on June 5 via its rep­re­sen­ta­tive, the Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker. It is now pre­cisely the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Par­lia­ment, Baleka Mbete, who is pro­tect­ing the per­sons im­pli­cated in the re­port by re­fus­ing to ta­ble it, which she is re­quired to do with­out de­lay,” he said.

Waters said the re­port clearly im­pli­cated se­nior ANC and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, and that Mbete was once again pri­ori­tis­ing her role as ANC chair­per­son over her role as Speaker.

“De­spite Mbete’s ef­forts, the DA will not al­low those who mis­led the SABC in­quiry or who pro­vided false tes­ti­mony, un­der oath, to es­cape ac­count­abil­ity.

“Ly­ing to Par­lia­ment is a se­ri­ous of­fence and will not go un­pun­ished,” he said.

Par­lia­ment’s spokesper­son Moloto Mothapo said Mbete had to write to im­pli­cated peo­ple, invit­ing them to make sub­mis­sions by the end of July on the se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions they faced.

“In terms of the Pow­ers, Priv­i­leges and Im­mu­ni­ties of Par­lia­ment and Pro­vin­cial Leg­is­la­tures Act, a per­son who wil­fully fur­nishes a House or com­mit­tees with in­for­ma­tion, or makes a state­ment be­fore it, which is false or mis­lead­ing, is li­able to a fine or to im­pris­on­ment for a pe­riod not ex­ceed­ing two years or to both the fine and im­pris­on­ment.”

Mothapo also said Mbete would, after the lapse of the dead­line, pass the list of the af­fected in­di­vid­u­als and their sub­mis­sions over to the com­mit­tee.

“The Speaker is in no po­si­tion to dis­close the names of the af­fected in­di­vid­u­als pub­licly be­fore a com­mit­tee process has be­gun.

“Any in­sin­u­a­tion that the Speaker seeks to quash a par­lia­men­tary probe into these al­le­ga­tions is er­ro­neous and with­out ba­sis,” he added.

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