The chairperson of the South African Broadcasting Cooperation, Ellen Tshabalala on Thursday obtained an order stopping the enquiry into whether she lied about her academic qualifications. The order, which is referred to as an interim interdict, was issued by Western Cape High Court.
Ellen Tshabalala stands accused of lying to the board of the SABC in her Curriculum Vitae. She stated in the CV that she was in possession of a B. Comm degree from the University of South Africa as well as a post graduate degree in labour relations. However, the university where she claims to have done her degree, UNISA, has disputed this information and have said, according to its records, she did not have any of those qualifications.
On Wednesday, the legal representatives of the SABC boss served a notice of the motion on the speaker of the National Assembly, the portfolio committee on communications, the president of The Republic of South Africa and the minister of communications. The purpose of the motion was to request the court to determine if the proceedings before the committee constituted a disciplinary hearing or not. While, in response, the members of parliament insisted that they were merely conducting an inquiry, Tshabalala seemed to be of the opinion that the whole process was turning into a disciplinary hearing of sorts.
The members of the portfolio on communications had, on 16 October, recommended that Ellen Tshabalala be suspended from her job pending the outcome of the committee’s investigation. According to the South African constitution, only President Jacob Zuma can dismiss or suspend Tshabalala from her position. This is because President Jacob Zuma is an appointing authority.