Parliamentary inquiry needed into Hope Zinde allegations - Gavin Davis

DA MP says Act does not allow the SABC Board Chairperson, or the Board as a whole, to remove a member

DA requests parliamentary inquiry into Hope Zinde allegations

18 March 2015

The DA has written to the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, requesting a parliamentary inquiry into allegations against SABC Board Member Hope Zinde.

This follows yesterday's portfolio committee meeting in which it emerged that the SABC Board's process to remove Zinde was fundamentally flawed.

In the committee meeting, Acting SABC Chairperson, Professor Obert Maghuve, confirmed that the Board had removed Zinde. "She's removed. Once we remove... she's removed," he said. 

However, according to Section 15 of the Broadcasting Act, only the appointing body can remove an SABC Board Member. "Appointing body" is defined in the Broadcasting Act as "the body charged with the appointment of members of the Board in terms of section 13 of this Act."

Section 13 of the Act states: "The twelve non-executive members of the Board must be appointed by the President on the advice of the National Assembly." In other words, the appointing body, as defined by the Broadcasting Act, is the President acting on the advice of the National Assembly. 

It follows that neither the SABC Board Chairperson, nor the SABC Board as a whole, can remove Hope Zinde from her position on the Board. Only the President, upon advice of the National Assembly, can do so.

In a statement following the Board's decision to remove her, Zinde alleged that the Board Meeting was not quorate and that the vote was taken in her absence. In committee yesterday, Professor Maghuve would not divulge how many Board Members were present when the decision was taken to remove Zinde. Furthermore, no clarity was given as to how board members voted, and whether Zinde was given a fair opportunity to make her case.

Section 15 of the Broadcasting Act states that an SABC Board Member can only be removed following "due inquiry." As we saw with the Ellen Tshabalala case, there are certain processes and procedures that need to take place in order for an inquiry to be legitimate. 

The DA believes that Zinde must be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations against her in an open inquiry conducted by the Portfolio Committee, following due process. 

We must uphold the principle that all are equal before the law. We cannot subject different Board Members to different processes when allegations of misconduct are levelled against them. 

Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, March 18 2015

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