A timeline of the Ellen Tshabalala affair - DA

Controversy over SABC chairperson's dodgy CV set in motion by City Press story on July 4 2014

Ellen Tshabalala timeline

18 July 2013

Interim SABC Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala applies for a position on the permanent SABC Board. Natie David Shabangu, an ANC employee based at Luthuli House, nominates Tshabalala on an ANC letterhead.

On her CV Tshabalala claims that she has a Diploma in Labour Relations from UNISA and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UNISA.

23 July 2013

Ellen Tshabalala deposes an affidavit at Sandton police station that states:

"I, Ms. Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, 580802 0896 082 ID, wish to declare that around 2001 - 2002 my house was broken into and goods were stolen. The matter was reported to the police in Randburg. Amongst other items which were stolen was my bag which contained all my academic records, certificates and all my private documents. As a result I could not submit the required credentials except for one copy of my certificate[s] I acquired in 2012."

3 October 2013

President Zuma appoints Ellen Tshabalala Chairperson of the SABC Board.

4 July 2014

Journalist Jeanne van der Merwe of City Press receives a letter from UNISA's Executive Director of Legal Services JC Van Wyk that states:

"According to our records no qualification was awarded to the mentioned individual."

13 July 2014

The City Press breaks the story on its front page with the headline: "SABC Boss Lied to Parliament."

14 July 2014

DA MP on the Communications Portfolio Committee, Gavin Davis, writes to the Committee Chairperson to request an Inquiry into the allegations as envisaged in section 15 of the Broadcasting Act.

15 July 2014

Committee Chairperson Joyce Moloi-Moropa writes to Davis to say that the matter has been referred to Parliament's legal unit.

29 July 2014

During a Portfolio Committee meeting, the DA asks Moloi-Moropa for an update on the progress of Parliament's legal unit. Moloi-Moropa replies that the Committee would be notified of the legal opinion "in due course."

30 July 2014

Moloi-Moropa receives a confidential legal opinion on the matter from Parliament's legal unit.

30 July 2014

Moloi-Moropa writes to Tshabalala requesting a "full response" to the allegations and asks her to "confirm or deny" them. She also requests the necessary information to independently verify the qualifications. The deadline given is 12 August 2014.

11 August 2014

Tshabalala writes to Moloi-Moropa requesting until 31 August to "take all appropriate and necessary steps, available to me in law, to protect and redeem my reputation due to the damage that has been visited upon my dignity." Tshabalala commits to having a status report ready by 19 August.

14 August 2014

Davis writes to Moloi-Moropa to ask "when the Legal Unit is expected to furnish the Committee with an opinion on this matter."

14 August 2014

Moloi-Moropa writes to Tshabalala requesting a written response to the 30 July letter by 26 August 2014.

19 August 2014

Following the DA's request to put the Tshabalala matter on the Portfolio Committee's agenda, Moloi-Moropa arranges a briefing by Parliament's legal unit. The Committee is told that there is a legal basis for such an inquiry, that there is a prima facie case against Tshabalala and that the Committee is empowered in law to hold such an Inquiry.

26 August 2014

Tshabalala writes to Moloi-Moropa informing her that: "UNISA has not been able to furnish me with any detail of my true statement of results." Tshabalala states further that UNISA "has challenges of mixed records and they have put measures in place to investigate all related queries."

9 September 2014

The Portfolio Committee unanimously decides to conduct a formal Inquiry into the allegations that Tshabalala lied about her qualifications.

16 September 2014

The Portfolio Committee unanimously resolves to recommend Tshabalala's suspension with immediate effect. It also announces that the Inquiry is due to begin on 25 September.

17 September 2014

A memorandum is sent to the Speaker recommending that Tshabalala be suspended pending the outcome of the Inquiry.

17 September 2014

Tshabalala writes to Moloi-Moropa to "register my apprehension in the manner in which I have been unfairly treated and vindicated (sic) by the Portfolio Committee." At issue was the Committee's decision to recommend Tshabalala's suspension without giving Tshabalala a hearing.

23 September 2014

Moloi-Moropa writes to Tshabalala to say that the President, not the Committee, that is the appointing body. Any request for a hearing must therefore be made to the President.

23 September 2014

Tshabalala is served with a ‘Notice of Hearing' in which she is requested to appear before a Parliamentary Inquiry on 25 September to answer two charges against her:

Charge 1: Misconduct - for allegedly lying about her qualifications to the National Assembly

Charge 2: Perjury - for allegedly lying in a sworn affidavit

23 September 2014

It is reported that Luthuli House is pressuring Tshabalala to resign from her position before she is removed. The DA issues a statement urging Tshabalala not to resign but to "face the music in Parliament instead."

23 September 2014

The Committee decides to postpone the Inquiry (originally set down for 25 September) until 14 October in order to give Tshabalala adequate time to prepare.

1 October 2014

The DA reveals that Tshabalala was paid R 936 000 in 2013/14 for chairing 34 Board Meetings - an average of R 13 371 per meeting. The DA argues that Tshabalala may be liable to pay back the money if found guilty of lying about her qualifications in terms of the SABC's fraud and corruption policy.

6 October 2014

The DA writes to President Zuma to determine why Tshabalala has not been suspended. The Presidency issues a statement to say that it has received no such request from Parliament.

7 October 2014

It emerges that the Portfolio Committee's recommendation to suspend Tshabalala has been overruled by the House Chairperson, Cedric Frolick. In an undated letter to Moloi-Moropa, Frolick states that the President will be informed of the Inquiry's outcome once it has been conducted, and that "the suspension of the Chairperson of the SABC is up to the discretion of the President."

14 October 2014

The Inquiry - postponed from 25 September - is held in a Cape Town hotel. Tshabalala's lawyer, Norman Arendse SC, employs a range of delaying tactics to get the Inquiry postponed again. The DA does not support the postponement on the grounds that Tshabalala had "been given ample time (three weeks) to prepare for it."

The new date for the Inquiry is set for 23 October.

23 October 2014

Tshabalala obtains a court interdict to prevent the Committee from proceeding with the Inquiry on the grounds that she will not get a fair hearing. The case is set down for 3 November.

30 October 2014

The DA enlists the services of a qualifications verification agency to do a background check on Ms. Tshabalala's academic record at UNISA. It is revealed that, according to the National Qualifications Register, "the candidate was last registered in 1996, qualification incomplete."

3 November 2014

At the court hearing, Arendse argues that the Inquiry is in fact a disciplinary hearing and that certain rights should therefore be accorded to Tshabalala. Parliament's legal team argues that it is an Inquiry set up in accordance with the Broadcasting Act and, in any event, all rights of natural justice have been afforded to Tshabalala.

12 November 2014

Judge J Baartman dismisses Tshabalala's court challenge. It is welcomed by all members of the Portfolio Committee as a vindication of the parliamentary process. Committee resolved to call Tshabalala to an Inquiry the following week on 18 November, and to again recommend Tshabalala's suspension. Portfolio Committee is forced to postpone Inquiry until 3 December due to Tshabalala's non-availability.

17 November 2014

The Sunday Sun reports that: "Ellen (Tshabala) and the "father of the nation" (President Jacob Zuma) have allegedly been an item for years. And this well-kept secret has become the subject of gossip in the corridors of power, at Luthuli House and Parliament."

19 November 2014

A second memorandum is sent to the Speaker communicating the Committee's resolution that Tshabalala be suspended. The memorandum makes the case that Tshabalala is causing the delays and infers that she will continue to do so unless she is suspended. It also sets out, in detail, the evidence obtained from UNISA, namely that:

Tshabalala did not obtain a senior certificate endorsement ("matric exemption") that entitled her to university studies.

Tshabalala first enrolled for a BCom degree at UNISA in 1988, subject to her obtaining a conditional exemption certificate from the Matriculation Board.

The conditional exemption was granted based on her age.

Tshabalala registered for three courses in 1988: Business Economics 1, Industrial Psychology 1 and Economics 1.

The UNISA records show that Tshabalala cancelled Business Economics 1, was not admitted to write the Economics 1 examination and failed Industrial Psychology 1.

In 1996, Tshabalala attempted to register for Business Management 1, Introduction to the Economic and Management Environment and Industrial Psychology 1.

Her registration was cancelled by UNISA in August 1996 due to the Matriculation Board's refusal to issue Tshabalala with a conditional exemption certificate.

Tshabalala's academic record for the BCom states: "the above qualification has not been completed."

UNISA's records show that, in 1995, Tshabalala registered at the Graduate School of Business Leadership for a one-year programme in Labour Relations.

Tshabalala passed two out of the six modules required to complete the programme.

21 November 2014

Carol Paton, writing in Business Day, alleges that President Zuma "personally added Ellen Tshabalala to the ANC communications committee's list of candidates for the board, which was submitted to the ANC caucus in Parliament."

26 November 2014

The DA reveals that Tshabalala has delegated the authority of SABC CEO to its current COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng until the end of the year. The DA states that this is manifestly irrational given the Public Protector's findings against Motsoeneng and again calls for Tshabalala's suspension.

3 December 2014

The Committee meets to hold the Inquiry. Tshabalala is absent but sends her attorney, Mr Tilney, in her place. Tilney reveals that Tshabalala has lodged an application for leave to appeal that, in his view, suspends the Inquiry. Mr Vanara of Parliament's legal unit cites case law to make the point that the Inquiry can only be suspended by a specific court order to that effect.

The Inquiry continues in Tshabalala's absence with testimonies from Jan van Wyk of Unisa's legal unit and Thembinkosi Ngoma, the secretary of the Portfolio Committee.

After hearing the evidence presented, the Committee finds Tshabalala guilty of misconduct for lying to Parliament about her qualifications and lying in a sworn affidavit.

The Committee will now submit a memorandum to the Speaker to the effect that:

1. A resolution is tabled in the National Assembly when it meets next year to have Tshabalala removed from her position as SABC Chairperson. If adopted, this resolution will be sent to the President who will have 30 days to remove Tshabalala from office.

2. The Speaker informs the President of the Committee's findings and recommends Tshabalala's immediate suspension as SABC Chairperson. In terms of the Broadcasting Act, it is the President's prerogative whether she is suspended or not.

Issued by the DA, December 3 2014

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