Xolani's Daily Comment

Ellen Tshabalala's qualifications: Will we see justice done?

The circus went back to parliament yesterday ...

Or maybe it is permanently based there these days.

SABC chair 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 withcopies of her qualifications and to brief her lawyers.

ANC MP, Maesela Kekana was quoted as saying "there's one thing we want. If you have those qualifications, why must we postpone another day? 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. Ndlozi asked Tshabalala "we are inquiring a simple thing. Do you or do you not have the qualifications?"

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 (CV).

She is also accused of lying under oath when she stated her qualifications were stolen during a burglary. Tshabalala 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. The University 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. Tshabalala seems to be playing for touch and trying to exploit available legal avenues. The question is, is she learning from the best maybe? I don't know.

Here's what's important: There's a legal principle that says justice is blind, that it doesn't care whether you are politically connected or not. We would like to see Parliament put their foot down and make sure that this principle is applied here.

A few hours ago in Durban judgement in the fraud case of former KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Vincent Mdunge was postponed again. He's accused of presenting a fake matric certificate when he joined the police in 1987 and the judgement on the case had been expected on Wednesday.

He faces three charges of fraud and one of uttering. The question I'm asking is will we see Tshabalala go to court just like Mdunge or is she too politically connected to have to set foot in court?

Xolani's comment on the questions around SABC Chair Ellen Tshabalala's qualifications
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