Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) laid criminal charges against former Communications Minister current MP and Chairperson of the COGTA portfolio committee, Faith Muthambi.
This follows the release this week of the report of the “Commission of Inquiry into Interference in the Decision-making in the Newsroom of the South African Broadcasting Corporation,” which revealed that Muthambi violated the Broadcasting Act, when she on several occasions interfered in editorial decisions at the public broadcaster.
This means that Muthambi misled Parliament during the SABC Inquiry in 2016. During her testimony she explicitly said she “never” interfered in the editorial decision of the public broadcaster.
This is now the second time, following Parliament’s Legal Services in August 2017 finding that she has “tried to mislead Parliament”.
Her misleading of Parliament is in contravention of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliaments and Provincial Legislatures Act.
Section 17(2) of the Act states that a person who:
- commits an offence […] is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to both the fine and the imprisonment:
o (2) (b) (ii) to give false evidence before a House or Committee; and,
o (e) (ii) whether or not during examination under Section 15, willfully furnishes a House or committee with information, or makes a statement before it, which is false or misleading.
It is on this basis of a criminal act that the DA has today laid charges against Muthambi.
A complaint has already been laid regarding her unsuitability to be an MP following this and other misdeeds with Parliament’s Ethics Committee.
The DA firmly believes that it is paramount for Muthambi to face the full might of the law for her apparent violation of the Powers, Privileges and Immunities Act and for misleading Parliament during the SABC Inquiry.
The onus is now on the South Africa Police Services (SAPS) to deal with the former Minister and MP, to investigate Muthambi without fear or favour. We will relentlessly pursue SAPS to ensure that this is not yet another criminal complaint against an ANC politician swept under the carpet.
The DA will continue to fight to ensure that the public interest always come first and that the SABC remains a public broadcaster, and not a platform for ANC corruption and wrongdoing. A fully independent SABC is in the interests of all South Africans.