Communications Minister Faith Muthambi must pay the legal costs of taking the SABC ad hoc committee’s report on judicial review from her own pocket, the DA said on Friday.
The party would write to Muthambi to demand that she pay for the costs of a legal challenge herself, DA deputy chief whip Mike Waters said.
“Muthambi is doing her utmost to avoid accountability by taking the report, which was adopted in the National Assembly on Tuesday by most parties, including the ANC, on review.
“She claims she was not given proper notice of the allegations against her and as a result was ‘substantially prejudiced’ in her ability to respond meaningfully. This is a bold-faced lie.”
Ministry spokesperson Mish Molakeng confirmed earlier on Friday that the ministry intended taking the report on review. Her reasons would be made known once the process got underway.
Waters said Muthambi was given ample opportunity to reply to the allegations before the committee and was allowed to submit a written response to the findings contained in the report before its final publication.
“If the minister had one ounce of shame, she would do the honourable thing and resign, not use public money to try and defend the indefensible.”
Waters said they had written to the Public Protector to request an urgent investigation into Muthambi. The DA claimed that she “lied under oath, gave false and misleading evidence to the committee and used her position to unduly benefit Hlaudi Motsoeneng”.
Motsoeneng to hold press conference
Motsoeneng, the SABC’s former COO, told News24 he would brief media next week to discuss the contents of the SABC inquiry report.
His lawyer, Zola Majavu, said he had written to National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete about the matter. He would not comment on its contents publicly until Mbete had acknowledged its receipt.
He said he did not have any instructions to take the report on review.
The Star reported on Friday that Muthambi wrote to Mbete to say she was taking the “irrational and unlawful” ad hoc committee report on review. She reportedly wrote she felt “ambushed” and that her constitutional rights had been violated.
She wanted the implementation of the inquiry’s recommendations halted until the court made a ruling, the report read.
Ad hoc committee dissolved
Ad hoc committee chairperson Vincent Smith told News24 he was not aware of the letter, or Muthambi’s intentions. Now that the committee had been dissolved, only Mbete had the authority to speak on the matter.
Parliament’s spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said they had been alerted to the reported letter through the media, but could not confirm if Parliament had received it.
He said it would be made public once the Speaker’s office had processed it.
On Tuesday, Parliament formally adopted the report of the ad hoc committee looking into the SABC board. The report recommends that Muthambi be referred to Parliament’s ethics committee so it could investigate her role in amending the SABC board’s memorandum of incorporation and in appointing Motsoeneng to chief operating officer in July 2014.
It recommends that President Jacob Zuma reconsider Muthambi’s suitability to continue leading the department.
Only the United Democratic Movement opposed its adoption, citing the committee’s decision not to invite Motsoeneng to give evidence.