DA: Less pressure on Zuma after Tshabalala quits

2014-12-17 18:38
Ellen Tshabalala (City Press)

Ellen Tshabalala (City Press)

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Johannesburg - The DA on Wednesday welcomed SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala's resignation.

"Tshabalala's resignation is also an elegant solution for President [Jacob] Zuma who was under pressure to suspend her pending the outcome of the parliamentary process," Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis said in a statement.

The process for Parliament to remove her would have started in February, when the House reconvened.

"It has been five months since the DA requested a parliamentary inquiry into allegations that Tshabalala lied about her qualifications. It was an unnecessarily protracted saga caused by the various delaying tactics employed by Tshabalala and her legal team."

Davis said detectives had been assigned to investigate the perjury charges against her.

The presidency confirmed on Wednesday that Zuma received and accepted her resignation as board member and chairperson.

"The president thanks Ms Tshabalala for her contribution to the public broadcaster and wishes her all the best in her future endeavours," spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

Deputy board chairperson Prof Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe would act as chairperson until Zuma appointed a replacement.

Tshabalala has been under fire for not providing proof of her qualifications, as requested by a parliamentary committee.

Davis said credit was due to all the members of the communications portfolio committee, especially the colleagues from the African National Congress.

"They pushed ahead with the parliamentary inquiry, despite the well-known connections that Ellen Tshabalala has in the upper echelons of the party," he said.

"Let this sordid saga be a lesson to other qualifications fraudsters inside and outside the SABC. The people of South Africa are not prepared to tolerate public officials who lie and cheat their way to the top."

On Saturday, Maharaj said in a statement that National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete had asked Zuma to consider suspending Tshabalala following the outcome of the committee's inquiry.

Tshabalala failed to obtain her qualifications

University of SA (Unisa) executive director for legal services Jan van Wyk told the inquiry recently that though Tshabalala had registered for her BComm degree in both 1988 and 1996, she failed to obtain the qualification.

According to Unisa records, she also registered for a diploma in labour relations in 1995. During the academic year, she passed two, failed two, and did not write two of the modules.

In January 1996, she was allowed to rewrite the two she did not write the previous year. She obtained a score of 13% for her human resources module, and a score of 35% for labour relations.

Unisa then wrote to Tshabalala informing her she did not qualify to redo the course.

The committee found Tshabalala guilty of two counts of misconduct earlier this month. One for stating on her CV that she had obtained the two qualifications when she applied for the job as SABC chairperson.

The other charge related to an affidavit she submitted to Parliament stating that her qualifications had been stolen during a burglary at her home.

Tshabalala accused the committee of deciding her fate before its inquiry was completed. She said the committee had asked Zuma to suspend her prior to the decision being made.

"That says it all. Their decision was taken long ago before the inquiry," she told reporters in Johannesburg on 5 December.

She argued, through her lawyer Michael Tillney, that the committee's decision to recommend that she be removed from office was "procedurally unfair".

Tshabalala rejected Van Wyk's testimony as "hearsay", saying Unisa had been having problems with its records and computer system, and they could not be trusted.

She said she had tried numerous times to get a copy of her qualification from Unisa, but had failed because of its computer problems.

Read more on:    da  |  ellen tshabalala  |  jacob zuma

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