Office of the Chief Whip
Stunt by SABC delegation at Parliament Disgusting
07 December 2016
The Office of the ANC Chief Whip is gravely dismayed and shocked by the disrespectful and contemptuous conduct of SABC representatives today during the meeting of the parliamentary ad hoc committee probing the SABC Board's fitness to hold office. The representatives, led by the only remaining board member and chairman Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe, staged a walkout in the middle of the ad hoc committee meeting after Prof Maguvhe's demand for all documents to be converted to brail was rejected as another stalling tactic. The ad hoc committee had written to Prof Maguvhe asking him to indicate five days ahead of his appearance if he would require any assistance with translation, to which he responded by stating that he would have the documents converted himself. However, today Prof Maguvhe demanded that Parliament convert the documents to brail on the spot. When this was rejected, he summoned his entourage and staged a walk-out in the middle of the committee meeting.
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. 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. The SABC representatives have also refused to hand over certain documents necessary to the probe as requested by the committee.
Today's walkout, including refusal to provide Parliament with documents, was designed to disrupt the work of Parliament and show contempt for Parliament's constitutional powers.
In terms of section 7 of the Powers, Privileges, Immunities of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures Act, a person may not "while Parliament or a House or committee is meeting, create or take part in any disturbance within the precincts". 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".
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. We will strongly urge Parliament to act decisively and nip this abhorrent conduct in the bud.
ISSUED BY THE OFFICE OF THE ANC CHIEF WHIP