SABC board must be summoned to Parliament - Phumzile van Damme

Members and minister must give reasons for CEO’s suspension, DA says

DA requests summoning of SABC board and Minister Muthambi following CEO's suspension 

19 November 2015

The DA has written to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Joyce Moloi-Moropa requesting that the SABC’s board, and the Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi be summoned to Parliament to provide reasons for the suspension of the SABC’s CEO.

This follows the announcement by the SABC yesterday of the suspension of its CEO, Frans Matlala, a mere four months after his appointment. 

The Spokesperson of the SABC, Kaizer Kganyago is said to have told journalists that the SABC “does not have to account to the public” about why its CEO has been suspended.

Mr Kganyago’s view is patently wrong. The SABC is funded by the public through allocations from National Treasury, and license fees paid by the public; and it therefore most certainly has to account to the public.

Not only does the SABC board and the Minister have to provide its reasons, they also also has to respond to allegations that Mr Matlala’s suspension was unlawful and a result of a purge.

According to media reports Mr Matlala was suspended for co-operating with Treasury in an investigation into board chairman, Obert Mughave and raising objections regarding irregularities related to the appointment of a law firm to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Minister Faith Muthambi is said to have given the go-ahead for the suspension without allowing Mr Matlala the opportunity to make representations in his defence.

Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, as the appointment authority must come clean on the reasons for the suspension, as well as these allegations so Parliament may satisfy itself that this suspension was above board.

For too long the SABC has lurched from crisis to crisis. The DA will not sit aside while another crisis looms. We will not rest until we are provided with the reasons of the suspension, and the allegations responded to, and trust that the Chairperson of Parliament’s portfolio committee on Communications will agree with our view and summon both Minister Muthambi and the SABC board to account.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Comminucations, 19 November 2015