Broadcast signal distributor Sentech received a hard rap across the knuckles from members of parliament’s communications portfolio committee on Tuesday for its late distribution of crucial documents.
“This is disrespect of the highest order,” ANC MP Eric Kholwane said, after members heard an apology and explanation from Sentech board chairman Quraysh Patel for MPs only receiving copies of his organisation’s revised strategic plan that morning.
The committee was to have been briefed on the state-owned institution’s new plan, but copies of the document were first seen by members at the 10am meeting.
MPs were adamant they needed more time to study the 2010/11 strategic plan before listening to the briefing.
They called for the meeting to be cancelled, despite an appeal from committee chairman Ismail Vadi that it proceed. “This is a long-scheduled meeting. Why are the documents late?” Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille demanded.
De Lille said the committee could not proceed, and expressed concern over the cost of the Sentech delegation coming to parliament.
An angry Kholwane said the committee was not a “walk-over” and its members had to receive documents ahead of meetings so they could analyse them.
“We can’t deal with a turnaround strategy at such short notice. We are not going to accept this. We want the document so we can analyse it ourselves. We are not proceeding with this matter,” he declared.
Patel appealed to the committee to hear the Sentech briefing, saying he had intended no disrespect, and accepting blame for the late distribution of the documents.
“We can give you an appraisal. There are many problems with what is happening in Sentech. These are going to increase. I appeal to you — let Sentech do its presentation.”
But MPs were unanimous the meeting could not go ahead. “The message is quite clear; we are not going to accept the Sentech presentation,” Vadi said, before closing the meeting.
Earlier in August, Sentech’s outgoing head of operations, Maxwell Nonge, was suspended. His suspension followed that of other senior Sentech staff earlier this year. — Sapa