Now that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, has finally tabled the report from Parliament’s Legal Services Unit identifying those who mislead or lied to the SABC Ad Hoc committee, she must ensure that criminal charges are laid against them.
The recommendation in the report of the Ad Hoc committee on the SABC inquiry was that Parliament itself lay charges against the individuals who misled the committee.
As Speaker, Mbete is the Constitutional Head of the National Assembly and must ensure that a recommendation of a report adopted by the National Assembly, including the ANC, is duly implemented.
The recommendation read: “Parliament’s Legal Services Unit, with the assistance of the Evidence Leader, should within 60 days from the adoption of this report by the National Assembly, identify the persons who misled the inquiry or provided false information or false testimony with the aim of criminal charges being laid”.
The report identified the following individuals as giving misleading or contradictory evidence and they are liable to a fine or imprisonment, or both:
- Former Communications Minister, Faith Muthambi – whose testimony “could be seen as an attempt to mislead the Inquiry”.
- Former Company Secretary, Theressa Geldenguys – for her “failure to inform the Committee that she was no longer the company secretary […] which could be considered as an attempt to mislead the Inquiry”.
- Former SABC CEO, James Aguma – who might have provided the Inquiry with an email which “purports to lack authenticity as being that generated by the [Companies and Intellectual Property Commission] CIPC”. The report states that “in order to establish this fact conclusively further investigation needs to be undertaken to ascertain whether the email was generated by the CIPC”.
- Former SABC Board Chair, Prof. Mbulaheni Maguvhe – Prof. Maguve and Minister Muthambi provided contradictory testimonies regarding the labour dispute between the SABC 8 and the SABC, which“could be indicative of Prof. Maguvhe misleading the Inquiry”.
- Former SABC Board Chair, Dr Ben Ngubane – “[the] testimony offered by Dr Ngubane could be seen as an attempt to mislead the inquiry and that false information was presented to the Inquiry”.
Although the DA welcomes the tabling of this report, the reality is that it is almost 12 weeks overdue and has been sitting on the Speaker’s desk since the 5th of June.
Mbete must now ensure that she fully complies with the full recommendation of the report and lay criminal charges.
Misleading Parliament is a serious offense and the DA will ensure that this report will not stay just another report.
A clear message must be sent to those who think they can lie, under oath, to Parliament – lying will not be tolerated. It is now up to the Speaker to ensure that this message is sent otherwise the DA will ensure it is heard loud and clear.