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For­mer chair­per­son ac­cuses politi­cians of in­ter­fer­ence

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

FOR­MER SABC chair­per­son Ellen Zandile Tsha­bal­ala is set to name a num­ber of politi­cians who in­ter­fered in the run­ning of the SABC in her re­port to Par­lia­ment.

This fol­lows her con­fir­ma­tion to the na­tional leg­is­la­ture that she would to­day make sub­mis­sions to the ad hoc com­mit­tee prob­ing the pub­lic broad­caster.

The chair­per­son of the ad hoc com­mit­tee, Vin­cent Smith, said Tsha­bal­ala would have to list the politi­cians who had in­ter­fered in the busi­ness of the cor­po­ra­tion.

Tsha­bal­ala had ini­tially sin­gled out SACP general sec­re­tary Blade Nz­i­mande as one politi­cian who had in­ter­fered on SABC mat­ters. But the SACP at the week­end warned Tsha­bal­ala that it would take le­gal ac­tion against her “for not telling the truth”.

It said Nz­i­mande – as leader of the party – had raised is­sues about dig­i­tal mi­gra­tion, and this did not con­sti­tute po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence.

Tsha­bal­ala had also told MPs dur­ing the hear­ings on the SABC on Fri­day that, other than Nz­i­mande, both the ANC and DA had also been in­volved in po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence.

DA chief whip Mike Wa­ters warned Tsha­bal­ala that she must not con­fuse ac­count­abil­ity with po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence.

The com­mit­tee said she must pro­duce a list of politi­cians who were guilty of po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence. The com­mit­tee gave her un­til to­day to make the sub­mis­sion.

Dur­ing the hear­ings on Fri­day, Tsha­bal­ala and her then pre­de­ces­sor, Ben Ngubane, de­fended the ap­point­ment of Hlaudi Mot­soe­neng.

Ngubane left the SABC in March 2013 fol­low­ing in­fight­ing in the board. The board was sub­se­quently dis­solved by Par­lia­ment af­ter al­most all its mem­bers re­signed.

It was suc­ceeded by Tsha­bal­ala’s board, which was also mired in con­tro­versy and in­fight­ing. She quit in De­cem­ber 2015 af­ter she was caught ly­ing about her qual­i­fi­ca­tions. She had claimed that she had a BComm de­gree from Unisa, but this was de­nied by the in­sti­tu­tion.

Tsha­bal­ala and Ngubane were the last wit­nesses to give ev­i­dence to the com­mit­tee. Most of the wit­nesses, who were ei­ther ex­ec­u­tives at the SABC or non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors of the board, have fin­gered Mot­soe­neng as the man at the cen­tre of the con­tro­versy.

The re­port will be dis­cussed by the com­mit­tee later this week. It is ex­pected to be part of the ev­i­dence to be in­cluded in the draft and fi­nal re­port of the com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee has an­other few weeks to go be­fore it fin­ishes its re­port, which will be tabled be­fore the full sit­ting of the House.

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