Secretary to Parliament joins Speaker in keeping report on SABC Inquiry liars locked away

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The Acting Secretary to Parliament, Penelope Tyawa, has joined the Speaker of the National Assembly in trying to keep the report into those who lied during the SABC Inquiry from public scrutiny.

On 20 June 2017 I submitted an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to gain access to a report from Parliament’s Legal Services Unit detailing any witnesses who gave contradictory or misleading evidence during the SABC Inquiry.

The report was one of the key recommendations of the SABC Inquiry Report. Significantly, it was to be completed within 60 days “with the aim of criminal charges being laid”.

Yesterday, the Acting Secretary denied my application and, instead, made a vague undertaking that the report would be made available “by the end of August or soon thereafter”.

Bizarrely, Tyawa denied my application on the basis of section 24(1)(c) of PAIA which relates to a record that “has been prepared for submission to any legislature or a particular person but is yet to be submitted”.

This reasoning is laughable as Parliament’s Legal Services Unit completed the report and submitted it to Parliament on 5 June 2017 via its representative, the NA Speaker. It is now precisely the representative of Parliament, Baleka Mbete, who is protecting the persons implicated in the report by refusing to table it, which she is required to do “without delay” as per NA Rule 337(e).

I have written to the Acting Secretary asking her to correct her “typo” and look forward to her realisation that the NA Speaker is the representative of Parliament and not an entity independent thereof.

Clearly the report into those who lied during the SABC Inquiry implicate senior ANC and government officials, and Mbete is once again prioritising her role as ANC Chairperson over her role as Speaker.

Despite Mbete’s efforts, the DA will not allow those who misled the SABC Inquiry or provided false testimony, under oath, to escape accountability. Lying to Parliament is a serious offence and will not go unpunished.

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