Politics / 19 December 2016, 7:30pm / ANA Reporters
Johannesburg – The Portfolio Committee on Communications on Monday welcomed the resignation of the last remaining board member and chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Corporation Board (SABC) Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe.
The committee said it had resolved during its October 5 meeting to ask all the remaining SABC board members to resign or face inquiry into their fitness to hold office.
"The committee feels vindicated, but maintains that Prof Maguvhe should have resigned earlier without resorting to delaying tactics that wasted the time of Parliament," the committee said in a statement.
"The committee is also concerned by the allegations that Prof Maguvhe might have misled the ad hoc committee on SABC Board inquiry, and call on the ad hoc committee to investigate the allegation."
On Monday, the Presidency said that President Jacob Zuma received and accepted the Maguvhe’s resignation. "The president has thanked Professor Maguvhe for his services during his tenure at the SABC and wished him all the best for his future endeavours,” the Presidency said in a statement.
The once defiant Unisa professor had vowed not to step down after one after another of his board members resigned, with two of them tending their resignations during a recent committee sitting in Parliament which sought to address the issues at the public broadcaster.
The Office of the African National Congress Chief Whip in Parliament on also welcomed Maguvhe's resignation. "While we regret that Prof Maguvhe's conscience took excruciatingly longer to speak to him, thereby causing further damage to the corporation's governance and frustrating Parliamentary intervention, we are confident that his exit will speed up the process of addressing leadership crisis at SABC," Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
"It is unfortunate that Prof Maguvhe chose to sacrifice his personal reputation and professional integrity by putting his selfish personal interests ahead of those of South Africans, who are the shareholders of the SABC," Mthembu said.
"The unacceptable obstinacy of board members who remain stumbling blocks to resolving corporate governance problems is a lesson which Parliament must learn from going forward. The Broadcasting Act might need to be revisited and tightened to ensure that inquorate Boards or individuals are not allowed to hold such important public institution to ransom."
Mthembu said that with Maguvhe's departure, they would wait for Parliament's conclusion of the inquiry, which may necessitate the appointment of an interim board.
Maguvhe, his legal team and senior SABC executives walked out of the official start of the inquiry by Parliament’s ad hoc committee into the affairs of the SABC earlier this month, saying that the process was not fair.
Maguvhe, who is blind, had through his legal team, requested from the committee that reports of the Auditor-General, Public Protector and Independent Communications Authority of South Africa be translated to braille, as not doing so could “jeopardise him”.
This was given short thrift by the multi-party committee though, which said he had been given ample time to prepare adequately for the hearings.
In the end, the committee had TO summon him to appear at the hearing.
The committee heard seven days of explosive testimony about the “rot” that had beset the broadcaster, with MPs vowing to dig deeper when it resumes its work early next year.
MPs on the committee expressed deep concern at the belligerent behaviour of those running the State-owned broadcaster and the influence of the controversial Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Maguvhe though, told the committee that he believed Motsoeneng was doing a “sterling job” and defended his decision to vote for Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment as chief operating officer (COO) in July 2014.