CityPress - - News - ANDISIWE MAK­I­NANA and HLENGIWE NH­LA­BATHI news@city­press.co.za

n ANC study group meet­ing at which Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi crit­i­cised com­mu­ni­ca­tions port­fo­lio chair­per­son Joyce Moloi-Moropa was the pre­cur­sor to a port­fo­lio com­mit­tee meet­ing the fol­low­ing day at which the ANC changed its mind and dumped le­gal ad­vice it had re­ceived on the dis­missal of three board mem­bers.

ANC MPs who sit in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions port­fo­lio com­mit­tee made a dras­tic U-turn last week and dis­tanced them­selves from Par­lia­ment’s le­gal opin­ion, which they had wel­comed only a month ear­lier.

The le­gal opin­ion stated that any re­moval of an SABC board mem­ber that is not ef­fected in line with the pro­vi­sion of the Broad­cast­ing Act was in­valid and un­law­ful.

Muthambi had ear­lier in the year in­formed the com­mit­tee that she had fol­lowed the Com­pa­nies Act in the re­moval of the three board mem­bers.

Par­lia­ment’s le­gal ad­vice would, there­fore, have in­val­i­dated her de­ci­sion.

The trio was be­lieved to have voted against the ap­point­ment of con­tro­ver­sial chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng in July last year.

Ac­cord­ing to ANC sources, at a meet­ing of the ANC’s study group on June 22, in prepa­ra­tion for the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee meet­ing, Muthambi came down hard on her ANC col­leagues for op­pos­ing her and align­ing them­selves with the par­lia­men­tary le­gal opin­ion.

Sources say the meet­ing went on for four hours.

An MP who was part of the meet­ing told City Press: “It was a very dif­fi­cult meet­ing. It could have been wrapped up in 20 min­utes, but it started at 5.30pm and went on un­til 9.12pm, dis­cussing this le­gal opin­ion.”

Muthambi al­legedly clashed with MoloiMoropa for en­dors­ing Par­lia­ment’s ad­vice, and also ac­cused her of hav­ing taken the side of the dis­missed board mem­bers.

Muthambi al­legedly com­plained that MoloiMoropa was com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Hope Zinde, one of the dis­missed board mem­bers, be­hind her back and Moloi-Moropa was forced to apol­o­gise for this.

Mem­bers of the com­mit­tee across the po­lit­i­cal party spec­trum ini­tially wel­comed Par­lia­ment’s le­gal ad­vice and re­solved to call Muthambi to give her re­sponse to it.

On June 23, Muthambi dis­missed Par­lia­ment’s le­gal ad­vice, say­ing it con­tra­vened and of­fended the doc­trine of sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers. She said Par­lia­ment’s role was to make laws – not to in­ter­pret them.

ANC MPs agreed with her, clearly chang­ing their tune.

Moloi-Moropa did not at­tend the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee meet­ing the fol­low­ing morn­ing and Dikeledi Tsotetsi chaired the meet­ing in­stead.

Muthambi’s spokesper­son, Mishack Mo­lak­eng, de­nied that his boss bul­lied ANC MPs to change their views on the mat­ter.

“I’m not sure what you mean by bul­ly­ing. You pro­vide no ev­i­dence of the al­le­ga­tions you make. I am, there­fore, un­will­ing to com­ment on un­sub­stan­ti­ated al­le­ga­tions,” he said.

Moloi-Moropa did not want to com­ment “since I was not there when the port­fo­lio com­mit­tee con­cluded the mat­ter”.

The SA Com­mu­nist Party’s sec­ond deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary, Solly Ma­paila, said the ANC had to at­tend to the is­sue of how the MPs turned against Moloi-Moropa, who is a se­nior mem­ber of the SA Com­mu­nist Party.

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