The Democratic Alliance will go to court to oppose the interdict against members of Parliament’s ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board, the party said on Tuesday.
The SABC board’s last remaining member, Mbulaheni Maguvhe, approached the Western Cape high court over the weekend to stop the ad hoc committee from beginning its work this week.
“The interdict by the last remaining board member, Prof Mbulaheni Maguvhe, is a last ditch attempt to intimidate members of parliament and to protect the SABC from scrutiny. It will not succeed,” DA federal executive chairman James Selfe said.
“In essence, the interdict seeks to delay and frustrate the important work of the national assembly to hold to account our public broadcaster which has in the past few months acted as a law unto itself.”
Selfe said the interdict sought to disqualify three members of the committee on the basis that they were biased; set aside the summons to produce documents to the committee; suspend all proceedings; and compel the national assembly to reconstitute the committee.
He described the application as a “costly and unnecessary exercise” by one man who is seeking to cling to power for his own sake.
The matter will be argued in court on Friday.
The committee was due to begin its witness interviews on Tuesday, but they have been postponed by a week due to Maguvhe’s application.
Maguvhe cited alleged “bias and prejudice” against him from opposition MPs Phumzile van Damme, Floyd Shivambu and Liesl van der Merwe.
Twenty-four witnesses meanwhile have been successfully contacted and will appear before the committee once the court case has been concluded.
A further six, including former public protector Thuli Madonsela, declined for a number of reasons including travel commitments around the time scheduled for the hearings.
Committee chairman Vincent Smith said he was confident that parliament would win the court case against Maguvhe and would be “ready to roll” thereafter.