SABC inquiry: Minister Muthambi must go
28 February 2017
The release of the damning final report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the SABC Board Inquiry shows one thing above all – that Faith Muthambi is not fit to hold the position of Minister of Communications. As such, the DA calls on her to do the honourable thing and resign. Should she fail to do this, then President Zuma must follow the recommendations on the report and remove Faith Muthambi from her position with immediate effect.
The findings of the committee reveal that Minister Muthambi abused her political power to interfere in the workings of the SABC, resulting in major systematic deterioration of the public broadcaster.
Her inability to govern her department has been highlighted in the report. The Minister, among other things:
Failed to advertise the post of COO of the SABC because she claims that Hlaudi Motsoeneng had done “a sterling job” as acting COO. By not advertising the post, and supposedly pressuring the Board to appoint her choice of candidate, she contravened Section 96 (2) (c) of the Constitution which states that no Cabinet Member must use their position to improperly benefit any other person. This was after the Public Protector had already released a report which found that Motsoeneng had lied about his qualifications.
Lied before the ad hoc committee when she stated that the amendments she made to the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) in October 2014, were submitted to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). The proof provided by the Minister to this effect is highly questionable and wasn’t accepted as authentic by the ad hoc committee. The CIPC, furthermore, confirmed that no such amendments were filed by the SABC resulting the MOI that was being used to run the SABC, unlawful. Thus, all actions taken by the Minister in terms of this said MOI are to be deemed invalid.
Stated that these amendments to the MOI were in line with the Broadcasting Act, which they clearly weren’t, considering that the amendments erodes the power and duties of the Board and centralises power in the Minister.
Stated that amendments to the MOI were met without any objections by the Board or the Committee, despite minutes from the meeting indicating that there were indeed objections by Board members.
These findings show that the Minister deliberately misled Parliament while under oath – which is a very serious offence. She not only contravened the Constitution by unduly benefiting Hlaudi Motsoeneng, but also the Broadcasting Act, the Executive Ethics Code, and the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act. Such an act of perjury must be followed with swift action against the Minister.
The DA will not sit by as the dishonest and ineffective Minister Muthambi continues to run her department and the SABC with impunity.
It is also unacceptable that the Minister failed to appear before the Portfolio Committee on Communications today to present her Departments Annual Report despite having previously confirmed her attendance.
Millions of South Africans depend on the SABC as a source of information and entertainment, and the President must ensure that the public broadcaster is free from political interference in order to protect the credibility of media.
Should no action be taken by the President to remove the unfit Minister of Communications the DA will take further steps to ensure that she is held accountable for her unlawful actions.
Issued by Mike Waters, Deputy Chief Whip of the Democratic Alliance, 28 February 2017