SABC’s Ellen Tshabalala resigns

SABC board chairperson Ellen Tshabalala has resigned with immediate effect, says the presidency.

Presidency spokesperson Mac Maharaj today said President Jacob 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,” he said.

“According to section 13(6) of the Broadcasting Act, 1999, the deputy chairperson of the SABC board automatically acts as chairperson until the president designates another chairperson.”

Deputy chairperson, Prof Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe will thus act as chairperson until Zuma appoints a replacement.

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

On Saturday, the presidency said Zuma would consider a request by National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to suspend Tshabalala.

Maharaj said Mbete had asked Zuma to consider suspending Tshabalala following the outcome of an inquiry by Parliament’s communications portfolio committee into her alleged misrepresentation of 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 had 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 relates to an affidavit she submitted to Parliament stating that her qualifications had been stolen during a burglary at her home.

Following the inquiry’s decision, 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 December 5.

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.

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