Thami Ntenteni’s appointment to the board of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) last week may be unlawful, Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis has said.
This is because Ntenteni, who was once a spokesman for former President Thabo Mbeki, was reportedly convicted of culpable homicide in 1998 and sentenced to more than a year in prison without the option of a fine.
Ntenteni is also in line to become a councillor at communications regulator Icasa. His is one of eight names shortlisted by parliament for five vacant council seats.
According to Davis, the MDDA Act states that no one may be appointed to the MDDA board if they have been convicted since 1993 of a schedule 1 offence under the Criminal Procedure Act and been sentenced to not less than a year in prison without the option of a fine. The Icasa Act has the same rules about the appointment of councillors to Icasa.
According to reports at the time, Ntenteni was sentenced to as much as seven years in prison following a car accident in which a woman died and three people were injured. He was also convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
“If, as indicated in press reports, Ntenteni was sentenced to a year or more in prison (without the option of a fine) he would be ineligible for the MDDA board and the Icasa council,” Davis said. “At this stage we do not have official confirmation that he was sentenced to more than a year in prison, although it would explain the gap on his CV between 1998 and 2001.”
Attempts by TechCentral to reach Ntenteni, through the MDDA, for comment proved fruitless. However, a letter from communications portfolio committee chair Joyce Moloi-Moropa, and seen by TechCentral, suggests that the State Security Agency has vetted and cleared him.
President Jacob Zuma appointed Ntenteni to the board of the MDDA on Friday, 19 June, after parliament recommended him for the position earlier in the month. The national assembly was scheduled to consider Ntenteni’s appointment to Icasa on Tuesday, but this was postponed to focus on other matters.
“It would be wrong to pre-judge Ntenteni’s eligibility for the MDDA board and the Icasa council without all the information. But, in the light of reports in the public domain, we cannot allow this appointment to go unchallenged until we know for sure it is legally valid,” Davis said. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media