Those who lied in SABC Inquiry must be charged – Phumzile van Damme

DA says it would appear as if some individuals gave contradictory evidence or may have misled Parliament

Parliament needs to lay criminal charges against those who lied in SABC Inquiry

29 May 2017

The ball is in Parliament’s court for it to now implement recommendations from the SABC Inquiry Report pertaining to it.

The SABC Inquiry Report recommended that Parliament does the following:

41.1     Misleading/Contradictory evidence

41.1.1  Any witness who gave contradictory or misleading evidence must be investigated by Parliament for possible breaches of the Privileges Act.

41.1.2  Parliament’s Legal Services Unit, with the assistance of the Evidence Leader, should within 60 days from the adoption of this report by the National Assembly, identify the persons who misled the inquiry or provided false information or false testimony with the aim of criminal charges being laid.

The 60-day deadline expires on 5 June 2017, next week Tuesday.

During the SABC Inquiry, it would appear that the following individuals gave contradictory evidence or may have misled Parliament:

- Former Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi, who denied that she had ever interfered in board matters and her relationship with the Guptas, despite evidence to the contrary;

- Former Company Secretary, Theresa Geldenhuys, who may have submitted doctored Board minutes to Parliament;

- Former SABC Board Chair, Ellen Tshabalala, who testified that there was political interference at the SABC and failed to provide evidence in that regard, when requested;

- Former SABC Board Chair, Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe, who testified that he did not brief his lawyers to launch an interdict against the SABC inquiry in his personal capacity, despite his lawyers clearly stating in court that Maguvhe submitted the application for the interdict in his personal capacity; and

Former SABC Board Chair, Dr Ben Ngubane, who testified that there was no political interference at the SABC, despite evidence to the contrary. He also insisted that The New Age arrangement made good business sense and that there was no cost to the SABC, despite evidence to the contrary.

On Tuesday, Parliament’s Legal Service will brief the Communications Portfolio Committee on the recommendations of the report.

We trust that at this meeting, Legal Services will provide full details of the outcome of its investigation, provide the names of the individuals who misled the inquiry and/or provided false information, and when criminal charges will be laid.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 29 May 2017