The Democratic Alliance has laid criminal perjury charges against SABC board chairwoman, Ellen Tshabalala. The charge relates to Tshabalala claiming in an affidavit that a bag containing her academic records and certificates had been stolen in a burglary “around 2001 to 2002”.
The party’s shadow minister of communications, Gavin Davis, said evidence produced at a parliamentary inquiry, conducted by the portfolio committee on communications, proved “conclusively” these documents the documents did not exist. The inquiry found Tshabalala of misrepresenting her qualifications and wants President Jacob Zuma to remove her from her post. She has 14 days to respond to the finding.
“Tshabalala therefore lied when she stated in a sworn affidavit that these documents were stolen,” Davis said in a statement. He said Section 9 of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act was unequivocal: “Any person who, in an affidavit, affirmation or solemn or attested declaration made before a person competent to administer an oath or affirmation or take the declaration in question, has made a false statement knowing it to be false, shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to the penalties prescribed by law for the offence of perjury.”
Davis said if convicted, Tshabalala would be liable to pay back the more than R936 000 she earned chairing SABC board meetings. The SABC’s own policy on fraud and corruption was clear that the public broadcaster was obliged to recover money from fraudulent activities.
Tshabalala, in the meantime, says University of South Africa records were “doctored” to reflect she did not have the degree and diploma she laid claim to in her CV. BDLive reported that in her affidavit produced by her lawyers at the inquiry, Tshabalala said the evidence was “hearsay” as the information was stored in Unisa’s computer system.
The head of Unisa’s legal services, Jan van Wyk, flew to Cape Town to present the university’s evidence. Van Wyk said Tshabalala had registered for a B.Com degree in 1988 and in 1996. The Mail&Guardian reported that she “she passed two, failed two and did not write exams for two of the modules. In January 1996, she was allowed to rewrite the two she could not write the previous year. She obtained a mark of 13% for her human resources module and 35% for labour relations. Unisa then wrote to Tshabalala informing her that she had not qualified to redo the course”.
Tshabalala indicated she would brief the media on the situation on Friday.
The SABC has not commented on the findings of the committee.
IMAGE: President Jacob Zuma must decide on the committee’s findings
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