Ellen Tshabalala. Picture: ARNOLD PRONTO
Ellen Tshabalala. Picture: ARNOLD PRONTO

PARLIAMENT’S portfolio committee on communications has resolved to hold a hearing into allegations that South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala lied about her academic qualifications.

In Tuesday’s session of the committee it emerged that she had not met the August 26 deadline to submit proof to Parliament’s legal unit that she held a degree from the University of SA and a postgraduate diploma. The original deadline was August 11 and Ms Tshabalala requested an extension.

The committee will decide next week whether to recommend to the National Assembly that Ms Tshabalala be suspended.

Media reports of more than a month ago that Ms Tshabalala did not have the qualifications she claimed to have rocked the SABC, as she is the second high-ranking official of the public broadcaster to be accused of doing so.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report on the SABC in February found that its chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, lied about having a matric.

President Jacob Zuma appointed Ms Tshabalala to her present position in October last year, she was recommended by the committee.

On her curriculum vitae she said she had a bachelor of commerce degree and a higher diploma in labour relations.

The National Assembly, through the communications committee, conducts public interviews with candidates for SABC board positions.

Should a candidate lie on his or her CV it is considered perjury and carries the same sanction as lying to Parliament, which could result in a criminal conviction.

Senior parliamentary legal adviser Ntuthuzelo Vanara told the committee it could recommend to the National Assembly that Ms Tshabalala be suspended, and then conduct an inquiry into the matter.

Committee chairwoman Joyce Moloi-Moropa said a letter would be sent to Ms Tshabalala informing her of the committee’s resolution.

Democratic Alliance MP Gavin Davis requested the letter be sent immediately to Ms Tshabalala so the matter could dealt with quickly.

Mr Davis said: "The chairperson of the SABC board, as the custodian of public broadcasting in SA, needs to be held to the highest standards of ethics and accountability."