Two more SABC board members have been removed. This follows the recent dismissal of Hope Zinde, who was clear that her removal was illegal. The Media Online reports.
Acting chairperson of the board, Professor Obert Maghuve, said in a statement Ronnie Lubisi and Rachel Kalidass were removed over non-specific allegations of “fraudulent conduct and non-disclosure of conflict of interest leveled against certain board members…”
DA shadow minister for communications, Gavin Davis, has now requested that the chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committee on communications, Joyce Moloi-Moropa, expand a legal enquiry into the removal of Zinde to include Lubisi and Kalidass. He says the actions of the board chairperson and the minister are “patently illegal”.
He said he had a “growing sense of unease” at what was taking place at the public broadcaster’s board. He said the Broadcasting Act was “very clear that board members can only be removed – after due inquiry – by the President acting on the advice of the National Assembly”.
But communications minister Faith Muthambi claims the SABC is governed by the Companies Act, not the Broadcasting Act, as it is a state owned entity like Eskom or Transnet. The Companie Act gives the minister power to remove board members.
Kalidass reportedly told Business Day she was still a member of the board as the process to remove her was unlawful. “People are misquoting the Companies Act and taking no notice of the current Parliamentary and legal process that is under way. This shows that the removals are motivated by malice and it is a purge,” she said.
Zinde earlier expressed similar sentiments. “I wish to assure the citizens of South Africa that I, still a non-executive board member of the SABC, as I have not been served with any documentation to the contrary, nor informed thus, have and will continue to serve the Public Broadcaster in the same steadfast, honest, truthful, focused, vigorous, professional and UNFEARFUL manner that I have been serving it since I was appointed to date,” she wrote after her removal.
Davis said Zinde alleged that the board meeting was not quorate and that the vote was taken in her absence. He said he’d asked Maghuve if this was true. “In response, Professor Maghuve would only say that the meeting followed ‘due process’. He would not divulge how many board members were present when the decision was taken to remove Ms Zinde. Furthermore, no clarity was given as to how members voted, and whether Ms Zinde was given a fair opportunity to make her case,” he said.
He believes the portfolio committee should launch an inquiry into the allegations. Moroi-Moropa said in response she had started the process of “verifying the correctness on the application of the Broadcasting Act” and was awaiting the outcome that will be decided by parliament’s legal and constitutional development unit.
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