Former public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela will not be able to give evidence before parliament’s ad hoc committee established to probe the SABC board, as she will be travelling during the hearing dates.
Committee chairperson Vincent Smith on Tuesday said they had been unsuccessful in arranging an appropriate date for Madonsela to appear in parliament during the two weeks set down for hearings.
Smith informed committee members that six witnesses from its list of approximately 30 witnesses had indicated they would not be able to give testimony as well.
An application to interdict the parliamentary inquiry by the only remaining board member, its chairperson Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe, is expected to start in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.
The court hearing coincided with the special committee’s meeting to begin its work into the beleaguered public broadcaster. Smith said witness testimonies would have to be postponed by a week due to the application.
Former SABC group CEO Jimi Matthews has also indicated he will be travelling during the hearing dates, while former board members Thembinkosi Bonakele and Nomvuyo Mhlakaza have argued that they would add little to the process because they are no longer part of the board.
Former SABC employee Verona Durwakhah is currently involved in a labour dispute with the broadcaster at the Labour Court and has been added to the list of witnesses.
Parliament’s evidence leader successfully contacted 24 other witnesses including four members of the “SABC 8”.
The committee has complained that the SABC has failed to comply with a November 21 deadline to submit important documents to it.
Another stumbling block to its work appears to be current Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s request to have three staff members testify on behalf of her office in camera, which has angered MPs who argued their testimonies should not be behind closed doors.
The committee has until December 15 to prepare a report and present it to the National Assembly.