Ellen Tshabalala guilty of misconduct - Gavin Davis

DA MP says committee unanimously found that SABC chairperson lied about her qualifications

Ellen Tshabalala guilty of misconduct

3 December 2014

The Communications Portfolio Committee today found SABC Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala guilty of misconduct for lying to Parliament about her qualifications.

Today's finding is an excellent outcome, marred only by the frivolous and vexatious delaying tactics of Tshabalala and her legal team. It has been nearly five months of deadline extensions, postponements and a court interdict since the DA first requested the Inquiry back on 14 July. 

The Committee heard evidence from a representative of UNISA's legal team that:

1. Tshabalala did not obtain any qualifications from UNISA

2. She registered for B Com in 1988. In that year she cancelled Business Economics 1, was not admitted to write the Economics 1 examination and failed Industrial Psychology 1.

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

4. Her registration was cancelled by UNISA in August 1996 due to the Matriculation Board's refusal to renew her conditional exemption certificate.

5. In 1995, Tshabalala registered at the Graduate School of Business Leadership for a one-year programme in Labour Relations. 

Tshabalala passed only two out of the six modules on the programme and therefore did not complete it

It was the Committee's unanimous finding that Tshabalala lied about her qualifications when she applied to be a Board Member of the SABC. Accordingly, the Committee found her guilty of misconduct. 

The Committee also unanimously found that Tshabalala lied in the sworn affidavit submitted to Parliament in lieu of her academic records. She had claimed in the affidavit that she could not provide her qualification certificates as they had been stolen in a burglary.

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.

It is vital that the President moves to suspend Tshabalala without delay. The longer she stays in office, the more likely it is that she will take decisions that will adversely affect the SABC. Her recent decision to give Hlaudi Motsoeneng the powers of SABC CEO is an example of the damage she is capable of doing at the SABC.

Perhaps the best outcome of the Inquiry was the willingness by parties on all sides to work together to get to the truth of this matter. The political maturity on display was a silver lining in the storm cloud that has hung over Parliament in recent weeks.

Statement issued by Gavin Davis, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, December 3 2014

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