Former Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi and former SABC board chairs, Ben Ngubane, Ellen Tshabalala and Mbulaheni Maguvhe, could face criminal charges.

This relates to the testimonies all three gave at last year’s SABC inquiry, where each was found to have either blatantly lied, or left out information during their testimony to the ad hoc committee in Parliament.

Towards the end of the inquiry, committee chair, Vincent Smith stated that should anyone be found to have misled Parliament, they would face criminal charges after it became clear that testimonies given by SABC management and Muthambi, were contradictory to those given by former and current SABC employees.

The SABC inquiry report recommended that Parliament does the following:

41.1 Misleading/Contradictory evidence

  • 41.1.1 Any witness who gave contradictory or misleading evidence must be investigated by Parliament for possible breaches of the Privileges Act.
  • 41.1.2 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 60-day deadline expires on 5th June next week Tuesday.

DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Phumzile van Damme, listed the following occurences where Parliament was found to have been misled:

  • Muthambi denied that she had ever interfered in board matters and her relationship with the Guptas, despite evidence to the contrary;
  • Former Company Secretary, Theresa Geldenhuys, may have submitted doctored Board minutes to Parliament;
  • Tshabalala testified that there was political interference at the SABC and failed to provide evidence in that regard, when requested;
  • Maguvhe, testified that he did not brief his lawyers to launch an interdict against the SABC inquiry in his personal capacity, despite his lawyers clearly stating in court that Maguvhe submitted the application for the interdict in his personal capacity; and
  • Ngubane, testified that there was no political interference at the SABC, despite evidence to the contrary. He also insisted that The New Age arrangement made good business sense and that there was no cost to the SABC, despite evidence to the contrary.

“On Tuesday, Parliament’s Legal Service will brief the Communications Portfolio Committee on the recommendations of the report. We trust that at this meeting, Legal Services will provide full details of the outcome of its investigation, provide the names of the individuals who misled the inquiry and/or provided false information, and when criminal charges will be laid,” van Damme said.