Minister of Communications Ayanda Dlodlo Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Johannesburg - The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) has accused Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo of tarnishing its reputation after she stated that the qualification verification process of permanent SABC board members was delayed.

SAQA CEO Joe Samuels said Dlodlo's department was supplied with the requested information within the two-day deadline. ''The SAQA would like to put it on record that it verified the qualifications of persons recommended to serve on the SABC board within the requested two days. This is contrary to some reports that stated that SAQA had missed the Thursday, 5 October 2017 deadline,'' Samuels said.

''It is unfortunate that SAQA’s reputation has been tarnished in this way, because we take our work and responsibilities seriously and have made every effort to ensure that the department of communications received information within the requested time, as well as to confirm that they had received it.''

He said SAQA received the written request to verify board members' qualifications from the department of communications on Tuesday October 3 at 1.48pm and by 9.30am on Thursday October 5 SAQA had completed the work and submitted the outcome to the department. ''SAQA also confirmed twice through telephone [calls] that the officials within the department had received the information before 10am on the same day.''

This follows after Dlodlo announced this week that the verification process would be completed within two days, but that did not mean that the long-awaited board appointment by President Jacob Zuma would also be done within the two days. She defended Zuma amid accusations from the Democratic Alliance that he was delaying the appointment process.

Parliament completed the interviews of candidates for the new board three weeks prior to the interim board’s of term of office expired on September 26 and submitted its recommended board members’ list to Zuma to make the appointments. He has yet to do so.

About midday on Thursday, Dlodlo told journalists she had yet to receive the information from SAQA. ''I did say at the portfolio committee, that was so badly reported, that I am awaiting a response from SAQA to assist us in verifying qualifications of the incumbents to the board… I have not received a response as yet. We spoke to SAQA this morning and they said they would respond to us in writing. I am awaiting for that,” Dlodlo said after addressing the Nation Brand Forum organised by Brand SA in Johannesburg.

Samuels said SAQA had different "packages" and the one chosen by the department had a two-day turnaround time for requested information. ''All qualifications are verified against what is recorded on the National Learners’ Records Database (NLRD) and if the information sought is pre-1992, there is a need to work through archives to verify the qualifications.''