Fights with ANC colleagues: Committee chair has had enough

Communications portfolio committee chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa has resigned. Picture: LIZA VAN DEVENTER
Communications portfolio committee chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa has resigned. Picture: LIZA VAN DEVENTER

Parliament’s communications portfolio chairperson, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, could soon be leaving her position after months of bitter fighting with her ANC colleagues.

Moloi-Moropa, regarded as one of the most competent and hardworking committee chairs, has in the past famously clashed with axed SABC chairperson Ellen Tshabalala and has had running battles with Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

Muthambi has taken to snubbing invitations to attend committee meetings after being given a rough ride on several occasions.

City Press has seen a letter addressed to ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe in which Moloi-Moropa complains that she encountered more problems than she could cope with as chair of the committee.

Written last week, Moloi-Moropa’s letter, in which she requests to be relieved of her parliamentary responsibilities, is understood to have already been sent to Luthuli House.

Mantashe refused to speak on the matter when contacted, so City Press was unable to establish whether it had reached his desk.

In the letter, Moloi-Moropa explicitly states that she had, in the course of her duties, been forced to take positions and “pursue policies” that differed from those of the governing party.

“I met serious challenges beyond what I can carry and therefore cannot successfully deliver the mandate vested in me to the best of my abilities.

“I do need to indicate that in the course of my duties as chairperson of the portfolio committee on communications, I was increasingly placed in a position of having to accede to pursuing policies I understood to be, at worst, in conflict with those of the ANC or, at best, at variance with those policies,” it reads.

Moloi-Moropa, who thanked the ANC for deploying her, also cited her husband’s health as a reason for her departure.

She said he had suffered a stroke and that caring for him as well as executing her duties as treasurer of the SA Communist Party (SACP) demanded her full-time attention.

“It becomes unbearably heavy if carried alongside a challenging portfolio committee such as communications, combined with the family challenges.”

Although those close to her confirmed that she was indeed leaving, Moloi-Moropa was coy when contacted by City Press.

“I have a lot of things I have raised with Gwede, but all issues are internal; it’s not about washing my hands,” she said.

City Press has reliably learnt that a decision to recall her to serve full time at SACP headquarters in Johannesburg was taken by SACP officials frustrated at how she was sidelined in the committee and in the ANC caucus.

“It was finalised after the party’s special national congress in July,” said two party members.

Moloi-Moropa is said to be close to party boss Blade Nzimande.

Moloi-Moropa was left exposed after ANC members in the portfolio committee made an about-turn in July about the appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as permanent chief operating officer of the SABC.

The ANC MPs changed their minds after earlier endorsing legal advice from Parliament to the effect that the removal of three SABC board members who had voted against Motsoeneng’s permanent appointment was not in line with the Broadcasting Act.

Solly Mapaila, SACP second deputy general secretary, previously told City Press the ANC had to attend to the issue of how the MPs had turned against Moloi-Moropa. The party has been calling for Motsoeneng to be fired, following damning findings against him by the Public Protector

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo confirmed that the party was in the process of building full-time member capacity at head office.

“If a decision is taken that she must come back, she must.”

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