Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications will only hold an inquiry into the fitness of the SABC board later this year, to ensure that justice is not subverted.
Committee chair Humphrey Maxegwana released a statement on Wednesday saying the inquiry, which was due to be held this week, had been postponed after the committee sought legal advice on Tuesday.
He said the committee would take the advice they had received to abide by the rules of natural justice, and would now prepare for the hearing.
“The committee is committed to proceeding with the inquiry at its earliest convenience,” the statement read. “The inquiry is a due process to which the rules of natural justice apply.”
The SABC board would be served with notices of the hearing by no later than 28 October.
The committee hoped to finalise the inquiry before the last sitting of the national assembly on 24 November this year.
A total of 26 people have indicated an interest in testifying at the inquiry, including former board members, employees and the SABC 8 — eight journalists who had been fired by the broadcaster, but reinstated by the labour court in July.
In the inquiry, the committee would look at:
- The board’s ability to discharge its fiduciary duties;
- The financial status and sustainability of the SABC;
- The SABC’s response to the public protector’s 2014 report, entitled “When governance and ethics fail”;
- Court judgments by the high court and rulings by communications regulator Icasa on the SABC’s “protest policy”;
- Resignations of two SABC board members on 5 October, and the implications thereof;
- Adherence to the broadcasting charter; and
- The SABC’s overall ability to carry out its duties in terms of the Broadcasting Act of 1999.
The committee resolved to institute the inquiry on 5 October, after board members Krish Naidoo and Vusi Mavuso resigned during the committee meeting in parliament, following the reappointment of former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng as general executive of corporate affairs.
Three of the remaining board members have told the committee they do not intend resigning, and would appear at the inquiry. The fourth has not yet responded.