SABC: ANC U-turn on Legal Opinion Undermines Rule of Law
23 June 2015
Today, in the Communications Portfolio Committee, the ANC used its majority to squash Parliament’s legal opinion that the removal of three SABC Board Members was invalid.
This was an about-turn from the Committee’s unanimous view on 26 May that the legal opinion was a valid basis upon which to take action.
The Committee's unanimity was later confirmed in a letter I received from the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, on 2 June. In it, she wrote that the legal opinion had been“endorsed by the Committee.”
However, ANC members today denied that the Committee had previously agreed on the validity of the legal opinion. Some dismissed the letter sent by Moloi-Moropa (who was absent) as a “love-letter” that should be ignored.
It is unfortunate that the ANC today turned its back on the Constitution and the South African people, choosing to side with Minister Muthambi instead.
After hearing the Minister’s argument today, the DA is more convinced than ever that the Board’s removal of Rachel Kalidass, Hope Zinde and Ronnie Lubisi was unlawful. The Minister was simply unable to put forward a cogent and convincing argument that the Companies Act is a legally valid instrument to remove SABC Board Members.
The unlawful removal of these Board Members, at the nudging of the Minister, has profound ramifications for the constitutional independence of the SABC. If left unchallenged, the Minister and her handpicked stooges will continue to arbitrarily and unlawfully purge independently minded SABC Board members on a whim.
Now that the ANC members of the Portfolio Committee have washed their hands of this matter, the only recourse left is to challenge the removal of the three SABC Members in court. The DA will consider its options in this regard.
Statement issued by Gavin Davis MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, June 23 2015