SABC chair turning MPs into clowns: EFF MP

By Drum Digital
14 October 2014

SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala was treating MPs like clowns, an EFF MP charged on Tuesday after her lawyers threatened to withdraw from an inquiry into whether she lied about her qualifications.

"Ms Tshabalala is turning us into clowns, is turning the institution of Parliament into a merry-go-round," Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said as he rejected a request for the inquiry by Parliament's portfolio committee on communications to be postponed so that her advocate could prepare her defence.

"The politics of corruption in South Africa are not going to be resolved when we take so long to answer small questions," he said.

Ndlozi was referring to demands by MPs that Tshabalala stop her "delaying tactics" and simply give MPs a yes or no answer as to whether she in fact had a BCom degree and a post-graduate degree in labour relations.

The University of South Africa (Unisa) has since stated that its records reflect she has neither of the qualifications.

Tshabalala's advocate Norman Arendse, who was apparently only briefed on Monday, rejected MPs' accusations that the request for postponement was meant to deliberately delay the inquiry.

"We are not ready to participate. If you rule to continue, we will ask to be excused, including the SABC chair," Arendse said.

"We think it would be highly prejudicial to her [Tshabalala]... to proceed in her absence."

A frustrated Congress of the People MP Willie Madisha retorted: "You are defying [us]. You are telling the people of our country to go to hell because you will walk out."

Committee chairwoman Joyce Moloi-Moropa warned Madisha to desist from using strong language as she sought to assuage tensions which rose time and again during proceedings.

DA MP Gavin Davis also rejected the request.

"It's not our problem that counsel was briefed late. I don't see how that can be grounds for a postponement," he said.

Earlier, ANC MPs expressed outrage at the delay in the commencement of the inquiry.

"There's one thing we want. If you have those qualifications, why must we postpone to another day," said ANC MP Maesela Kekana.

"We are tired of these people who make this beautiful republic to be a banana republic."

Moloi-Moropa suggested the inquiry be postponed to Thursday, but Arendse indicated he and Tshabalala would not attend due to other commitments.

The committee reluctantly agreed to postpone the inquiry to a later date to be discussed and confirmed by members.

"Although we have a tight programme with other committee activities, it is in the interest of natural justice that we postpone this inquiry to a date that will be confirmed by the committee," said Moloi-Moropa in a statement.

Tshabalala faces two charges. She is alleged to be guilty of misconduct in terms of the Broadcasting Act for misrepresenting and/or lying about her qualifications in her curriculum vitae.

She is also accused of lying under oath when she stated her qualifications were stolen during a burglary.

-SAPA

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