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Ad hoc committee meets to elect chairperson for inquiry into SABC board

An ad hoc committee will meet “for the first time” on Tuesday to elect a chairperson to deal with the inquiry into the fitness to hold office of the remaining three members of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) board.

But it is unclear if the meeting will go ahead after two of the board members — Nomvuyo Mhlakaza and Aaron Tshidzumba — tendered their resignations at the weekend‚ leaving only chairperson Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe remaining.

The ad hoc committee was formed by the National Assembly after the SABC board members objected to the Portfolio Committee on Communications holding the probe‚ citing “prejudice as the main reason‚ and requested that another committee be appointed to carry out the inquiry”.

When it meets on Tuesday‚ it will “receive legal advice on how to proceed with the inquiry and to consider and adopt the committee programme”.

Portfolio committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana had previously said that the “decision to institute an inquiry into the board of the SABC was taken in the public interest‚ in order to establish facts regarding the state of affairs at the public broadcaster and ascertain the fitness of the current members of the board to hold office”.

Maxegwana said the committee “will provide the necessary information to the ad hoc committee in order to allow it to perform its functions in full”. 

Maxegwana had‚ on receipt of the remaining board members’ objection‚ referred the issue to the National Assembly’s Chair of Chairs “for guidance”‚ but noted that the communications committee “is empowered to investigate or inquire into and make recommendations concerning executive organs of state‚ constitutional institutions‚ and other bodies or institutions”.

The committee had‚ more than a month ago‚ agreed to hold an inquiry into the SABC board after it quizzed the board on controversial executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s new appointment as group executive for corporate affairs‚ following the Supreme Court of Appeal’s dismissal of his challenge to a judgment which ruled that his earlier appointment as chief operating officer was unlawful.

In that meeting‚ SABC board members Vusi Mavuso and Krish Naidoo dropped a bombshell when they resigned‚ citing the “shenanigans” at the public broadcaster.