‘Parliament has no right to act against Ellen Tshabalala’

2014-11-03 15:01

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Embattled SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala’s lawyer has asked the Western Cape High Court to rule that Parliament was conducting a disciplinary inquiry against her and had no right to do so.

Norman Arendse today told the court that Parliament’s portfolio committee on communication failed to indicate the legal basis on which it was acting against Tshabalala for allegedly misrepresenting her academic qualifications.

But, he said, since the committee believed it had the power under the country’s broadcasting legislation to recommend to the National Assembly that she be suspended and potentially dismissed, it was running a disciplinary inquiry.

“We grapple with the chairperson [of the committee] saying this is a parliamentary process, not a hearing,” he argued.

Arendse said if the court were to agree with him that in fact his client was facing a disciplinary hearing, she had legal rights, including that of a presumption of innocence.

He added that it was therefore “astonishing” that committee chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa said the onus was on Tshabalala to produce copies of the degrees she claimed to hold.

Denzil Potgieter, for Parliament, argued that Arendse was mistaken in arguing the inquiry amounted to a disciplinary hearing, and that it was an ordinary administrative process.

It was one, he added, that had left the ordinary man in the street wondering why Tshabalala did not simply produce proof of her university qualifications and lay the matter to rest.

He said that to characterise it, as Arendse sought to do, as a disciplinary inquiry would “impose the nature of an adversarial inquiry, which this is not”, as that would give the committee the powers to impose disciplinary sanctions.

The committee could only make a finding, and it was then up to the National Assembly to make a recommendation to the president.

Potgieter argued that the principles of legal fairness still applied, regardless of the nature of the inquiry, and that therefore Tshabalala’s argument was not made in good faith.

“The dispute was simply conjured up by the applicant to prevent the inquiry from being held on 23 October, 2014,” he added.

Judge Elizabeth Baartman reserved judgment.

Tshabalala has been locked in a stand-off with MPs for months after it was reported in July that she had misrepresented her qualifications.

She stated on her CV that she had a BCom degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa) and a postgraduate degree in labour relations. Unisa has since stated that, according to its records, she had neither of these qualifications.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.