Ellen Tshabalala: I’m not deflecting qualifications probe

2014-09-16 15:15

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She managed to dodge questions on her qualifications today, but next week SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala will have to answer on her “qualifications” to an inquiry set up by the parliamentary portfolio committee on communication.

Committee chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa confirmed today that it would conduct the inquiry, which will start next Thursday. Tshabalala will be called and the MPs serving on the committee will receive all relevant documents, which are to be treated as confidential.

Initially, Moloi-Moropa said she would “have to look into” whether the inquiry will be open to the public or behind closed doors, but after the ANC, Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters called for it to be open, she ruled that this would be the case.

Tshabalala, who was appointed in October, stated on her CV submitted to the committee when they interviewed her for the post that she had a BCom degree from the University of South Africa, as well as a postgraduate degree in labour relations.

In July, City Press reported that the university had confirmed that Tshabalala did not have these qualifications. The university only made the information available after an application was made in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The committee will also recommend to the National Assembly that Tshabalala be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry. If the National Assembly agrees, it will be up to president Jacob Zuma to make the final decision.

During the committee’s meeting today, DA MP Gavin Davis reiterated this request for the chair’s suspension, which was initially requested by the ANC at last week’s meeting. Davis is concerned that Tshabalala might try to influence the investigation.

Earlier this morning the SABC made a presentation to the committee.

Davis asked Tshabalala if she was conducting an investigation into leaks within the SABC board to “deflect” attention away from the allegations against her.

She denied this and said that she was conducting an investigation to ensure proper governance.

“If I write to members of the board and say it is confidential, I expect it to be confidential,” she said.

She complained that as soon as she sent letters, they were leaked to the media.

She also accused Davis of being “malicious” when he asked her about her qualifications, because she provided an explanation on why she couldn’t produce her qualifications to the committee. She said that they were in a bag that she had lost.

The committee last week rejected her explanation.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi also stepped up to bat for Tshabalala, saying it was “unfair” to ask her about her qualifications because “administrative action” was under way.

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