I stand by my allegations against Faith Muthambi - Gavin Davis

DA MP says minister's denials are contradicted by documentary evidence, the SABC spokesperson's own statement

DA stands by accusations against Muthambi

21 January 2015

In a rather hysterical press statement released earlier, Minister Faith Muthambi says that I have falsely accused her of unlawfully interfering in the SABC Board.

I stand by this accusation for the simple reason that I have seen the letter that she sent to certain SABC Board Members. 

In the letter, the Minister threatens to recommend Board Members' removal unless they give her good reasons for not doing so. One Board Member, Professor Bongani Khumalo, has already reportedly resigned as a result of the letter.

This ministerial interference in the SABC Board is unlawful because the Minister has no power in law to remove Board Members or recommend their removal. According to section 15A of the Broadcasting Act, it is up to Parliament to recommend the removal of Board Members after due inquiry into their conduct, not the Minister.

This is precisely why Parliament dealt with the allegations against former SABC Board Chairperson Ellen Tshabalala. When asked about the Tshabalala matter at the time, Minister Muthambi correctly replied that it was "in Parliament's hands."

So, if Minister Muthambi has evidence of misconduct by SABC Board Members, she must forward it to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee so that we can conduct an official inquiry as we did with the Tshabalala matter.

I have asked the Chairperson of the Communications Portfolio Committee to call Minister Muthambi before us to explain her unlawful interference in the Board. 

In her press release, the Minister also denies that there is an investigation at the SABC into the alleged ‘leaking' of documents. Perhaps she should talk to SABC Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago. Yesterday Kganyago said that a decision to investigate the source of the leaks had been taken at the "highest level" and that its purpose was to "find the culprits and deal with them accordingly." 

The DA stands by its accusations against the Minster for her interference in the Board, and against Hlaudi Motsoeneng for his bullying of SABC staff members. We look forward to taking these matters further in Parliament at the first available opportunity.

Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, January 21 2015

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