Zuma considering Tshabalala’s suspension

2014-12-13 22:37

President Jacob Zuma is still considering the request of National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to suspend the chairperson of the SABC board, Ellen Tshabalala, from her position.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj confirmed this afternoon that Zuma had received a letter from Mbete asking him to consider suspending Tshabalala following the outcome of an inquiry by Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications into her alleged misrepresentation of qualifications.

The parliamentary committee recommended that Tshabalala be suspended with immediate effect.

This after the committee found her guilty on two misconduct charges relating to allegations that she misrepresented her qualifications to Parliament and that she lied under oath when she said in an affidavit that her qualifications had been stolen during a burglary at her home.

The committee held its inquiry on December 3, after three postponements as Tshabalala and her lawyers asked for more time to prepare for the inquiry and dragging the committee to court, challenging the process.

She did not attend the inquiry and was found guilty in absentia.

Tshabalala was charged of misconduct by misrepresenting or lying about her academic qualifications in her CV submitted to the National Assembly while she was a member of the SABC’s interim board and during the nomination process for members of the current SABC board.

Tshabalala claimed that she possessed a BCom degree and a postgraduate diploma in labour relations from the University of South Africa (Unisa). She was also charged with lying under oath.

The committee claimed that in an attested declaration made on July 23 2013, she made a statement, knowing it to be false, by claiming that she could not furnish copies of her academic qualifications as she had lost them in a house burglary around 2001 or 2002.

But Unisa denied Tshabalala obtained such qualifications from the institution. Unisa’s executive director for legal services, Jan van Wyk, told the inquiry that Tshabalala did not obtain any qualifications from Unisa; that she registered for BCom in 1988 but that in that year she cancelled Business Economics 1, and was not admitted to write the Economics 1 examination and failed Industrial Psychology 1.

Van Wyk also revealed that in 1996, Tshabalala attempted to register for Business Management 1, Introduction to the Economic and Management Environment and Industrial Psychology 1. Unisa cancelled her registration in August 1996 due to the matriculation board’s refusal to renew her conditional exemption certificate.

In 1995, Tshabalala registered at the Graduate School of Business Leadership for a one-year programme in labour relations.

Tshabalala passed only two out of the six modules in the programme and therefore did not complete it.

The committee recommended that Tshabalala be suspended from her position immediately pending adoption of the committee’s report by a sitting of the National Assembly next year, in which it recommends that she be dismissed.

Mbete wrote to Zuma on December 8 informing him about the committee’s decision and requesting that he suspend the SABC chair with immediate effect.

Zuma, as the appointing body, is the only one who can suspend or dismiss an SABC board member, as per the Broadcasting Act.

It has not been a good month for Tshabalala following the guilty verdict by the communications committee. It was revealed earlier this week that she has not been reappointed to the Transnet board and in a response to a written parliamentary question on Friday, Zuma revealed that Tshabalala’s membership in the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council expired in October this year.

Zuma was responding to a question from the DA’s Geordin Hill-Lewis’ question, who wanted to know about the consultative process followed in appointing Tshabalala into that council.

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