Committee again moves to suspend Ellen Tshabalala - Gavin Davis

DA MP says new memorandum sent to Speaker calling for SABC Chairperson's suspension

Committee moves to suspend Tshabalala, again

The Communications Portfolio Committee has sent a new memorandum to the Speaker of the National Assembly calling for the immediate suspension of Ellen Tshabalala as SABC Chairperson.

This follows a second unanimous agreement amongst Committee members that Ms. Tshabalala be suspended pending the outcome of the parliamentary Inquiry on 3 December.

The Committee believes that Ms. Tshabalala's suspension is crucial given the various delaying tactics she has employed to stall the Inquiry. What should have been a quick process has been dragged out for far too long. Already, there are indications that Ms. Tshabalala's legal team is pushing for another postponement.

The charges against Ms. Tshabalala are extremely serious, and the prima facie evidence against her is very compelling. Given the seriousness of the charges and the length of time it may take to finalise the matter, it is essential that she be suspended without delay.

Ms. Tshabalala's continued involvement at the SABC is problematic for a number of reasons:

It gives her a financial incentive to drag out the Inquiry since she is paid as Board Member for the meetings she attends;

She cannot possibly focus on the mammoth task of turning the SABC around with such serious charges hanging over her; and

She may be tempted to use the power of her office to assist her in her legal battle. We saw last week that she delegated the authority of CEO to Hlaudi Motsoeneng, despite a court ruling that he must be suspended and disciplined. Giving an equally compromised ally power over the budget and administration of the SABC can only assist her, to the detriment of the SABC.

We trust that the Speaker will understand why it is imperative that Ms. Tshabalala be suspended pending the outcome of the Inquiry. If the Speaker agrees to recommend Ms. Tshabalala's suspension to President Zuma, we trust that he will act on it. The President's suspension of Ellen Tshabalala would certainly help quell rumours published in a Sunday tabloid that he has a conflict of interest in this matter.

Statement issued by Gavin Davis, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, November 21 2014

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