Minister set on ignoring public protector: DA

The Democratic Alliance has accused DoC minister Faith Muthambi of tap-dancing around the public protector’s orders for remedial action at the SABC, calling it a “sickening display of accountability evasion”.

This follows a briefing to the portfolio committee held on Tuesday (26 August), on the progress in implementing the public protector’s report on the SABC.

The DA noted that Muthambi had until 16 August to finalise the remedial action required by public protector, Thuli Madonsela.

“It emerged today that most of the directions have not been actioned simply because the Minister and the SABC do not agree with them,” DA shadow minister of communications, Gavin Davis said.

According to the DA MP, responses given by Muthambi indicated that she was set on ignoring action sought by the public protector.

“The Constitution and the Public Protector’s Act enjoins the minister to implement the remedial action in a Public Protector’s report. If the minister does not agree with the Public Protector’s findings and directions, she needs to lodge a court application to take the report on review,” Davis said.

“She cannot simply ignore the directions that she does not agree with.”

When pressed on specific issues, Davis said that Muthambi claimed that she was not at liberty to discuss them because they were “sub-judice”, as the matter of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s appointment is before the Western Cape High Court.

“This is deeply ironic – in court, the minister is arguing that the Motsoeneng matter should be dealt with in Parliament. In Parliament, she is arguing that it should be dealt with by the courts,” Davis said.

The DA said it believes the minister’s claims of sub-judice are not applicable in this context, as its own review is separate to the public protector’s report, and referenced a decision by a parliamentary sub-committee last year that the sub-judice rule should not be interpreted “to prevent a general political debate on a matter before the courts”.

“It is not up to the minister to interpret parliamentary rules and procedure, only Parliament can do that.”

“The DA will not rest until there is accountability for the culture of corruption and fraud that has become entrenched at the SABC during Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s tenure,” Davis said.

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Minister set on ignoring public protector: DA