Last remaining board member Mbulaheni Maguvhe’s urgent application to prevent a parliamentary inquiry in the affairs of the SABC was turned down in the Western Cape High Court.
Judge Siraj Desai ruled that: “Because of the obvious urgency of the court on this matter, I would tend decline it,” he said reasons would follow.
He further ordered that he had to foot the legal bill for his own legal team as well as those of the four other respondents, including parliament.
Maguvhe’s advocates Thubani Masuku and Kgomosoane Mathipa had argued that an inquiry by the ad hoc committee into the fitness of the board was unfair as he had already been pre-judged by MPs.
Masuku tried to reason that an independent inquiry should be held as there was no “fairness and justice” in the “frightening” committee.
“It’s pre-judgment my lord… You are already stuffed,” said Masuku.
Maguvhe approached the high court last weekend after the committee issued a subpoena that as the last remaining non-executive chairman he had to participate in hearings to determine the fitness of the body to exercise its fiduciary responsibilities.
He has argued that a hearing would be unfair as MPs, specifically DA members Phumzile van Damme and Mike Waters had called for the dissolution of the dysfunctional board of one and charged that it was politically compromised.
Legal Council for Van Damme and Waters Anton Katz said the MPs had agreed that they were open to having their minds changed during the course of the ad hoc committee hearing.
Parliament’s advocate Denzil Potgieter earlier stated that by virtue of being MPs, parliamentarians would have strong views and there was nothing wrong with that.
Katz also indicated that it was a misunderstanding on the part of Maguvhe that he would be be held personally liable.
The inquiry was about the board of the SABC even though it was only constituted of one person.
It was not about a person but about the board of the corporation.