Clowns and merry-go-rounds at SABC hearing

2014-10-14 16:17

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Ellen Tshabalala, beleaguered chairperson of the SABC board, turned MPs into “clowns” and Parliament into a “merry-go-round”.

This was according to Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, one of the members of the portfolio committee on communications, who grew frustrated as Tshabalala managed to temporarily derail the committee’s investigation into whether she lied about her qualifications.

She appeared at the committee’s hearing with legal heavyweight, Advocate Norman Arendse, SC, at her side.

Arendse promptly asked for a postponement, citing the fact that he was appointed only recently and hadn’t had time to familiarise himself with the case.

He also argued that Tshabalala only received the official charges on Friday, that they had been altered and that they didn’t know there would be witnesses.

Several members of the committee indicated that Tshabalala had ample time to prepare for the inquiry.

It would have been on September 25, but was postponed to today, exactly three months since Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis requested the inquiry.

She was informed of the inquiry on July 30, and was given an opportunity to respond. The committee rejected her response that she lost her qualifications.

MPs’ frustrations were visible when Arendse asked for a postponement of two weeks and said he would not be available on Thursday, the date proposed by the committee’s chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa.

Arendse threatened to walk out if the inquiry proceeded today.

Moloi-Moropa said she didn’t accept the excuse that Arendse had been briefed late.

Maesela Kekana, ANC MP, said: “The nation must know we are talking about qualifications that were lost 13 years ago, but she still hasn’t produced them.”

Davis wanted the inquiry to continue there and then, noting that it had already been postponed.

Ndlozi said: “Mrs Tshabalala is turning us into clowns and Parliament into a merry-go-round.

“If it takes us as a country three months to answer the question whether she has the qualifications she says she has, it is embarrassing.”

Congress of the People MP Willie Madisha said it was extremely unfortunate and their asking for a postponement was a delaying tactic.

“What they said is: ‘We will defy you. We will walk out.’ It is wrong,” Madisha said.

Tshabalala sat blank-faced with her arms folded across her chest.

Moloi-Moropa dismissed the committee.

The inquiry will be reconvened next week.

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