“This follows a second unanimous agreement among committee members that Tshabalala be suspended pending the outcome of the parliamentary inquiry on 3 December,” Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis said in a statement on Friday.
“The committee believes that Tshabalala’s suspension is crucial given the various delaying tactics she has employed to stall the inquiry. What should have been a quick process has been dragged out for far too long. Already, there are indications that Tshabalala’s legal team is pushing for another postponement.”
If the speaker agrees, the matter will then be referred to President Jacob Zuma.
Last week, the Western Cape high court refused to grant an order to Tshabalala to halt the continuation of the inquiry into whether she lied about her qualifications.
“We are vindicated. What it means for us is that we can proceed with our work,” said communications portfolio committee chair Joyce Moloi-Moropa.
Tshabalala is accused of lying about her academic qualifications when applying for the job of SABC chair. She stated on her CV that she had a BComm degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa) and a postgraduate degree in labour relations.
Unisa has since stated that, according to its records, she has neither of these qualifications.
“The charges against Tshabalala are extremely serious, and the prima facie evidence against her is very compelling,” Davis said on Friday. “Given the seriousness of the charges and the length of time it may take to finalise the matter, it is essential that she be suspended without delay.”
He said Tshabalala’s continued involvement at the SABC is “problematic” because it “gives her a financial incentive to drag out the inquiry since she is paid as board member for the meetings she attends”.
In addition, Davis said, she “cannot possibly focus on the mammoth task of turning the SABC around with such serious charges hanging over her” and she “may be tempted to use the power of her office to assist her in her legal battle”.
“We saw last week that she delegated the authority of CEO to [chief operating officer] Hlaudi Motsoeneng, despite a court ruling that he must be suspended and disciplined. Giving an equally compromised ally power over the budget and administration of the SABC can only assist her, to the detriment of the SABC.”
Davis said that if Zuma suspends Tshabalala, it will “help quell rumours published in a Sunday tabloid that he has a conflict of interest in this matter”.
The Sunday Sun alleged in a report at the weekend that Tshabalala had had an affair with Zuma. According to a report on the City Press website, Tshabalala angrily denied the allegations and is considering legal action against the tabloid. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media, with Sapa