President Zuma must suspend Ellen Tshabalala without delay
14 December 2014
The Presidency has confirmed receiving a letter from the Speaker of the National Assembly requesting the President to consider suspending Ellen Tshabalala for misrepresenting her qualifications.
We call on President Zuma to immediately suspend Ellen Tshabalala, pending her removal from office by a resolution of the National Assembly.
It is well known that President Zuma and Ellen Tshabalala have a close personal and professional relationship. It has also been reported that Zuma personally saw to it that Tshabalala was on the ANC's list of candidates to the SABC Board.
The President now has an opportunity to rise above any conflict of interest by swiftly implementing Parliament's recommendation to suspend Tshabalala.
There are several good reasons for the President to suspend Tshabalala immediately:
1. An Inquiry held by the Communications Portfolio Committee found that Tshabalala had lied to Parliament about her qualifications and that she had committed perjury when she lied in a sworn affidavit.
2. Tshabalala has announced that she will try to tie up the process in more litigation, thus delaying it further and causing more upheaval and brand damage to the SABC.
3. Tshabalala is making irrational decisions at the SABC, such as delegating the authority of CEO to Hlaudi Motsoeneng despite the damning findings against him in the Public Protector's report.
It is a weakness in our law that it is the sole prerogative of the President to suspend an SABC Board Member. Fortunately, no such presidential discretion exists when it comes to the permanent removal of a Board Member from office.
But the parliamentary process for Tshabalala's removal can only happen in February next year when the House reconvenes. Until then, the President must do the right thing and suspend Tshabalala as he is empowered to do in terms of section 15A (2) (a) of the Broadcasting Act.
The people of South Africa are tired of this protracted saga. President Zuma can end it by suspending Tshabalala without delay.
Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, December 14 2014
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