The SOS Coalition welcomes the resignation of Ellen Tshabalala from the SABC Board.
Tshabalala was, on 3 December 2014, found guilty by Parliament of willfully or negligently and under oath misrepresenting her qualifications to Parliament as well as perjuring herself under oath.
Pleased as we are to see her exit from our public broadcaster, we are, nevertheless, dismayed and saddened that she chose to drag this matter for as long as she did, bringing an SABC Board that has for years been mired in controversy and scandal into further disrepute. Indeed, she continues to claim, and without evidence, that she holds these qualifications and that it is UNISA’s integrity and not hers that is so severely compromised.
What Tshabalala teaches us is that liars and perjurers will never proposer. She reminds us that Parliament must exercise greater care and scrutiny in ensuring that only the best candidates of the utmost integrity are allowed to lead our public institutions. She further shows us that by taking ownership of our SABC and remaining committed to visionary and accountable public broadcasting in South Africa, the people of this country can begin turning this ship around, however long it might take.
Tshabalala’s resignation is not the end of the road for this matter. Indeed, several things remain outstanding in realising the accountable SABC we deserve.
Having been found guilty of misconduct, we call on the Portfolio Committee on Communications to require Tshabalala to pay back all sitting fees that were accrued in her role as SABC chairperson.
We further call on the President of the Republic of South Africa to direct the National Prosecutions Authority to initiate a criminal investigation into her contravention of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act.
A clear example must be made of Tshabalala that liars will never prosper in the SABC or any other public institution, because the people of South Africa deserve an SABC that works.
The SOS Coalition represents a broad spectrum of civil society stakeholders committed to the broadcasting of quality, diverse, citizen-orientated public-interest programming aligned to the goals of the South African Constitution. The Coalition includes a number of trade union federations including COSATU and FEDUSA, a number of independent unions including BEMAWU and MWASA; independent film and TV production sector organisations including the South African Screen Federation (SASFED); a host of NGOs and CBOs including the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), SECTION27 and a number of academics and freedom of expression activists.