'We need to execute this member, politically'
Parliamentarians have requested an investigation into Faith Muthambi despite her being axed as minister
Former cabinet minister Faith Muthambi’s woes are far from over despite her dismissal from the executive as MPs want tough action taken against her for “misdeamours” in her previous job.
This comes after the national assembly’s portfolio committee on communications on Tuesday resolved to write a letter to Speaker Baleka Mbete, asking her to explain why criminal charges have not yet been laid against Muthambi for lying to parliament during the inquiry into the governance issues at the SABC.
The ad hoc committee that probed the affairs of the SABC in 2016 had recommended that parliament should file criminal charges against Muthambi and several other SABC executives after they were found to have deliberately misled the legislature during the probe.MPs from across the political spectrum within the communications committee have also decided to request Mbete to order the joint ethics committee to launch an investigation against Muthambi for breaching the Executive Ethics Act during her tenure as Communications minister.
This comes after it emerged last year in the “Gupta leaks” that Muthambi had shared confidential cabinet documents on digital migration with the Gupta brothers and their business associates, who at the time were the owners of TV news channel ANN7.
“As a committee we have failed to impress it upon the Speaker to lay those charges. She has sat on her hands and we have sat on our hands. If we believe that charges must be laid against Muthambi, then a letter must come from this committee to say: ‘Hello Speaker, we have a report that said lay charges against Muthambi, it’s been months, why has that not happened’,” said DA MP Phumzile van Damme.COPE MP Willie Madisha also echoed the same sentiment.
“I agree with other members that we execute this member, politically. This member, if it's feasible, must go to jail … this person cannot represent the people of South Africa,” he said.
Madisha and Van Damme had earlier argued that an inquiry similar to the one conducted by parliament on Eskom to be instituted to probe Muthambi’s alleged leak cabinet memos to the Guptas.
But this was rejected by ANC MPs who said the ethics committee was capable of dealing with that matter.
“There’s this craziness about inquiries as if parliament can’t do its work without inquiries,” said Lerumo Kalako of the ANC.
“I agree with the letter, let’s send the letter to the Speaker. We need to ask that question, when are we going to act against those who misled parliament, when are we dealing with them.”
ANC MP and committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said another meeting between them, ANN7 and pay-TV owner MultiChoice has been scheduled after the recces period to get answers on reports that the DStv owner had paid an advance to the owners of the news channel for them to influence government policy on digital migration at a time when Muthambi was Communications minister.
She was axed when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his new cabinet in February.