SABC board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe
Parliament – As promised, MPs on Thursday decided to use their power of summons to get South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board chairman Mbulaheni Maguvhe to appear and testify before a parliamentary inquiry into the embattled broadcaster's affairs.

Maguvhe, who was set down to testify at 4pm on Thursday afternoon, failed to appear before the ad hoc committee conducting the inquiry, leading to committee chairman Vincent Smith telling MPs they had two options – continue with the inquiry in the absence of the board chairman, or issue a summons.

Following revelations by former board members and an ex-group chief executive officer that due process and laws were often not adhered to at SABC board level when decisions were taken, MPs said it was crucial that Maguvhe answer to these allegations. In the end MPs unanimously supported a move to issue him with a summons to account to Parliament.

"My view is that he's accountable, together with his contingent, to the Parliament of South Africa, to the people of this country, through the body of elected persons, in this case the National Assembly," said African National Congress (ANC) MP Jabu Mahlangu.

"There is no way we can allow anyone to defy Parliament. My recommendation is that a summons be issued."

Mahlangu's views were echoed across party political lines.

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) MP Steve Swart said given the testimony about the board on Thursday, Maguvhe should be made to assist the committee to reach a conclusion.

ANC MP Makhosi Khoza said the defiance shown on the part of Maguvhe was paralysing MPs in their inquiry and led to a situation in which Parliament "is being subverted".

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Fana Mokoena went a step further, saying that although the committee did not agree with him, "this is an act of defiance to both himself as a normal citizen of this country, but two, as chairperson of the board which is a parastatal.

"It is time that we ask Mr Maguvhe to give us reasons why he should not be dismissed for many reasons, including to sabotage these proceedings..."

African News Agency