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

PARLIAMENT dominates the political landscape this week, with a series of committee meetings scheduled from Tuesday to Friday to discuss the auditor-general’s findings in the annual reports of national government departments.

However, at least three committee meetings dealing with controversial subjects are likely to steal the limelight.

On Tuesday, the portfolio committee on communications holds a hearing into allegations that South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala misrepresented her qualifications to Parliament.

She is expected to provide evidence that she has a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of SA and a postgraduate diploma in labour relations.

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.

Ms Tshabalala is the second-highest ranking official in the SABC to be accused of not having the qualifications they claim.

In February, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that the public broadcaster’s chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, had been appointed despite not having a matric certificate.

The National Assembly, through the communications committee, conducts public interviews with candidates for SABC board positions. President Jacob Zuma appointed Ms Tshabalala to the post in October last year after she was recommended by the committee.

On Wednesday, the powers and privileges committee resumes its inquiry into charges of misconduct against members of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), including leader Julius Malema, for disrupting Parliament during questions to Mr Zuma on August 21.

The committee last week heard testimony from parliamentary secretary Masibulele Xaso. on the events that unfolded in the house on the day, leading to a protest by the EFF that Mr Zuma did not answer their question The EFF had wanted a commitment from Mr Zuma that he would pay back a portion of the R246m in state money spent on his private residence in Nkandla, as requested by Ms Madonsela in her report on the matter.

The committee’s major task is to find a balance between the smooth running of Parliament, the powers of speaker Baleka Mbete as well as the rights of members to hold the executive accountable.

On Wednesday, the committee is expected to deliberate on the evidence placed before it and the provocative 89-point "explanation" submitted by the EFF last week before they pulled out of the hearing — alleging the committee was dominated by African National Congress (ANC) members and was biased.

On Thursday, the parliamentary ad hoc committee considering Ms Madonsela’s Nkandla report is expected to deal with the first draft of its final report to Parliament. The committee was to report back to Parliament on October 24, but was granted a one-week extension.

A submission to the committee last week by a KwaZulu-Natal-based civil society group, that it was ready to pay a portion of the Nkandla money on behalf of Mr Zuma, marked the first concession among his supporters that Mr Zuma is accountable.

In Gauteng, the ANC is this week expected to present evidence to the advisory panel established by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to assess the socioeconomic effect of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project and e-tolling.

The ANC Gauteng conference last week, where the provincial structure rejected e-tolling in favour of a fuel levy, gave an indication as to what kind of evidence the governing party will bring before the panel. Opposition parties have already made presentations to the panel.

SA’s nearly 1.3-million public servants may receive a response from state negotiators on a demand for a 15% across-the-board increase, a R3,000 housing allowance, and the elimination of lower categories of employees in a bid to close wage gaps within the service. The present wage agreement expires next April.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions also holds a special central executive committee meeting this week, where it will receive the ANC’s report and recommendations on healing its divisions.