SABC Chairperson: Why Parliament Panel lied to us – NOT Zuma

Despite his previously and often questionably appointments, it is unfair to blame SABC Chairperson’s appointment on President Jacob Zuma.

It is important to note that our Universities should also not only play a role when asked to but as institutions of higher learning whose efforts impact on our development as a country, they should play any role when the need arises and not always awaiting to be asked for an opinion.

While obviously the blame rest with the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa for interviewing the SABC Board Chairperson Zandile Tshabalala and the fact that it had dismally failed to run a background check on her and even failing to verify her qualifications with the concerned higher learning institutions she claimed were awarded to her by the institution – the fact that those concerned institutions of higher learning NEVER bothered to bring Tshabalala’s lies to Parliament, Communications Portfolio and The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa at the time leaves much to be desired.

I now wonder whether they wanted what we are now sitting with: a Tshabalala who, according to City Press today, may have been dishonest and therefore committed fraud by claiming to have a particular or any qualifications which is all a lie.

Further, the newspaper report implies that Tshabalala not only lied to Parliament’s Communications Portfolio but also lied to President Jacob Zuma. This because during her appointment, President Jacob Zuma indicated in a statement through his spokesperson Mac Maharaj that:

“Ms Tshabalala served as chairperson of the interim board. She holds a BComm Degree, a Postgraduate Diploma in Labour Relations and an International Bankers Licentiate Diploma. She has a widespread experience and exposure in Business Development (including SMME Development), International Relations, Banking and Marketing. She has held senior positions in various corporate companies including Standard Bank, Transnet and South African Post Office. She also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Moral Regeneration Movement, African Academy for CADD Training, member of the Board of trustees for the Self Help Association of Paraplegics and a member of the Board of Directors for Port Shepstone Harbour Development Company.”

Worse, if the City Press report today is true she has none of the qualifications she claimed she had been awarded with by the said higher institutions of learning – Tshabalala lied to South Africans too. Read together with Public Protector’s report on Hlaudi Motsoeneng and his alleged falsification of his Matric certificate when he joined the SABC years ago – this shows how much the SABC appears to be rotten from the top.

If the City Press report is true, it then makes sense why the SABC Board – led by Tshabalala herself as its Chairperson – rubber-stamped Hlaudi’s appointment despite his qualification brought into question by the Public Protector’s findings and recommendations and that none of her (Public Protector’s) recommendations seem to have ever been implemented especially where, among others, Hlaudi is concerned. Remember, this is the Tshabalala that reportedly said there is “no crisis at the SABC” early this year.

In early March this year Mail & Guardian reported that then Communications Minister Yunus Carrim, disapproved Tshabalala’s nomination as SABC CEO by the SABC Board. This after he had first sought legal advice and only later to turn it down.

Frankly, I am not trying to shift blame from those who had appointed Tshabalala but am merely ask this question: When the said higher learning institutions became aware or it was reported that Tshabalala had been awarded her claimed qualifications by them then – last year that is before or at the time of her appointment as SABC Board Chairperson – what did they actually do?

Did they ever investigate her claims?

In fact, I would further suggest that any higher learning institution’s Journalism and Media Studies department ought to have helped ensure – by digging really – whether Tshabalala was who she claimed to be. Did they dig more on her qualifications claims?

Or are these questions unreasonable?

We know very well that the old man’s appointment – if not almost anything and everything that he touches – have become more controversial than any of SA’s former Presidents, and the list is long. And that’s no reason for him to take the wrap for this. At least that is my view.

Now that the truth seems to be out – what of Tshabalala’s positions held outside of the SABC, if any?

How is this new revelation going to impact on her other work elsewhere, including directorship in all concerned organisations such as Standard Bank, Transnet and South African Post Office?

Who should take the blame for this?

It is my view that Parliament’s panel that interviewed her should take responsibility and be held accountable for Tshabala’s seemingly botched and fraudulent appointment and NOT President Jacob Zuma (emphasis), if the City Press report is anything to go by. This because when he confirmed the appointment he trusted Parliament panel that interviewed and recommendation her with their own responsibilities, that they will do their job with due diligence, including background checking and qualifications verification with the concerned higher learning institutions. But they did not, did they?

But whether Parliament’s panel that recommended her will now lay fraud charges against Tshabalala following the City Press report remains to be seen.

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