SABC board chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala has accused Parliament’s communications portfolio committee of conspiring and taking a decision against her before its inquiry was completed.
“The committee had, prior to the decision [on Wednesday], requested President Jacob Zuma to suspend me. That says it all. Their decision was taken long ago before the inquiry,” she told reporters in Johannesburg on Friday.
She argued, through her lawyer Michael Tillney, that the decision on Wednesday to recommend that she be removed from office was “procedurally unfair”.
“It implies I had a fair hearing. That was not the case,” Tillney said on her behalf.
“I was not there. The inquiry instituted is a disciplinary inquiry which was [supposed] to be procedurally fair”.
The committee found her guilty of two counts of misconduct.
The first charge relates to Tshabalala stating on her CV that she had obtained two qualifications when she applied for the job as SABC chair.
The other relates to an affidavit she submitted to Parliament stating that certificates of her qualifications were stolen during a burglary at her home.
Tshabalala’s legal team was also not present at the inquiry, even though it was entitled to be there.
“My legal counsel was not available on December 3.”
Requests for a postponement of the inquiry were ignored, said Tillney, adding that the committee had shown an unfair and uncompromising attitude.
He said the committee unilaterally imposed the December 3 date for the inquiry.
Tshabalala was given 14 working days to respond to the committee’s report, which contained its findings and recommendations.
The committee made its decision after a University of SA (Unisa) official told the inquiry that records showed Tshabalala had registered for a BCom degree and a labour relations diploma, but had failed to obtain either.
Unisa executive director for legal services Jan van Wyk testified that Tshabalala registered for her BCom degree in 1988 and again in 1996, but did not complete her studies.
She registered for a diploma in labour relations in 1995, when her results were so bad that she could not be readmitted again. She scored 35 percent for a labour relations module and 13 percent for a human resources module.
On Friday, Tshabalala rubbished his testimony as “hearsay”, saying that Unisa had been having problems with its records and computer system, and they could not be trusted.
She said she had tried numerous times to get a copy of her qualification from Unisa, but had failed because of its computer problem.
On Friday, she refused to accede to a reporter’s request for access to her graduation photos.
“I will not provide that to the media, I will prove it in court,” she said.
On Thursday, the Democratic Alliance laid a charge of perjury against Tshabalala for lying about the theft of the documents.