Skip to Content

Of public broadcasters and qualifications

Lifestyle Section - Opinion

  According to our records, no qualification was awarded to the mentioned individual. These are the words that appear in a letter from Unisa's executive director of legal services and information, Jan van Wyk, in response to a Promotion of Access to Information Act enquiry by City Press newspaper in July. The “mentioned individual” is SABC board chairperson Zandile Ellen Thsabalala. The qualifications which Ms Thsbalala does not have, despite her vehement insistence to the contrary, are a BCom degree, and a post graduate qualification in labour relations.

It is now mid-November, which means this situation has continued for four months, with Ms Thsabalala now challenging the parliamentary communications portfolio committee through the courts, in an attempt to circumvent its inquiry into her claimed qualifications. She has hauled in the big guns, with advocate Norman Arendse riding shotgun in the most recent salvo when she appeared before the committee on October 14, and managed to postpone proceedings once more, to October 23.

Then came the whammy, when she persuaded the Cape High Court on November 3 to slap an interdict on Parliament while the court considers whether or not the inquiry is of a disciplinary nature or not. If it is, then Ms Thsabala contends, and she would be right, that she is entitled to a fair and objective hearing, constituted within the framework of labour law, and that the communications portfolio committee is not such a fair and objective body. Talk about a red herring.

Of course, Ms Thsbalala is not the only one at the SABC dealing with embarrassing questions about qualifications.

COO Hlaudi Mostoeneng is accused of lying about his non-existent matric qualification on his employment application form.

Interestingly, and unusually, there is full co-operation across party lines on this one, with the entire committee, headed by ANC chairperson Joyce Moloi-Meropa, unanimous in its recommendation that Ms Tshabalala be suspended pending the outcome of the inquiry.

That has of course not happened, because apparently, due to a procedural error, the recommendation never made it to the desk of Jacob Zuma.

And it’s not as if Ms Tshabalala hasn’t had ample opportunity to produce the qualifications that she claims she has. Parliament has asked her on two occasions to see her certificates, but she missed both deadlines, August 12 and 31, claiming that they were in a bag stolen in a house burglary.

How long would it take her to obtain new certificates from Unisa, considering the gravity of the matter? A week? Two weeks? But hang on a mo, Unisa has already stated in writing that she doesn’t have the qualifications she claims she has, from said institution. Or what about the South African Qualifications Authority?

Ms Thshabalala is entitled to process an online inquiry which will provide her with a transcript of her qualifications, provided of course they do actually exist in the National Qualifications Database.

Whether or not Ms Tshabalala is footing her own legal bills, and a heavyweight like Mr  Arendse does not  come cheap, is unknown at this time, but at the very least Parliament’s counsel must be paid for series rendered, and as per usual, it is the beleaguered tax payer who must foot the bill.

Come on Ms Thasbala, its time to put up, or shut up.

Written by Norman McFarlane You are reading Of public broadcasters and qualifications articles

View a complete list of the Bolander Property distribution points. Click Here...

Who's Online

We have 139 guests online