SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala received a tongue-lashing from MPs on Tuesday for trying to “delay” an inquiry into whether she lied about her qualifications.
Tensions rose when Tshabalala’s advocate Norman Arendse asked Parliament’s communications portfolio committee for a postponement to prepare his client’s defence, as he was only briefed on Monday.
MPs from across the political spectrum reacted with anger, saying Tshabalala had been asked several months ago to furnish Parliament with copies of her qualifications and to brief her lawyers.
“There’s one thing we want. If you have those qualifications, why must we postpone to another day,” said ANC MP Maesela Kekana.
“We are tired of these people who make this beautiful republic to be a banana republic.”
Economic Freedom Fighters MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi agreed, accusing Tshabalala of not taking Parliament seriously and trying to “trick MPs into delaying tactics”.
“We are inquiring a simple thing. Do you or do you not have the qualifications?” Ndlozi asked.
“Don’t waste our time. Answer the question.”
The committee was adjourned so that the request could be discussed behind closed doors.
Tshabalala faces two charges. She is alleged to be guilty of misconduct in terms of the Broadcasting Act for misrepresenting and/or lying about her qualifications in her curriculum vitae.
She is also accused of lying under oath when she stated her qualifications were stolen during a burglary.
Tshabala stated in her CV that she had a BCom degree from the University of South Africa (Unisa).
She also claimed to hold a post-graduate degree in labour relations.
Unisa has since stated that its records reflect she has neither of the qualifications.
A Unisa representative was present at Tuesday’s inquiry, and will likely testify during proceedings.