Johannesburg - The disclosure of SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala's academic records was above board and within the prescripts of the law, the University of SA (Unisa) said on Friday.
“We wish to place it on record that... from the outset, our handling of all requests to disclose our records in relation to Ms Tshabalala has been above board, within the prescripts of the law and our own policies,” it said in a statement.
The university said the way it had dealt with the matter was consistent with how it dealt with requests for disclosure of information related to all its students and alumni.
“The university did not at any stage disclose or order the disclosure of Ms Tshabalala's academic records to any party except those to whom we were legally obliged to.”
The parties included Tshabalala's lawyers, the Parliamentary portfolio committee on communications and the legal department of Media24, which was granted access to the records in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.
The university was confident in the integrity of its academic record system, which was reliable and not easily prone to manipulation, it said.
It had not received any legal action from Tshabalala and regarded the matter closed.
“We... have not received any notice by Ms Tshabalala to pursue legal action against the university or Mr Jan Van Wyk of our legal department...
“We have done whatever we were legally obliged to do in relation to this matter and regard this matter now closed.”
At a briefing earlier on Friday, Tshabalala accused Parliament's communications portfolio committee of deciding her fate before its inquiry was completed.
She argued, through her lawyer Michael Tillney, that the committee's decision to recommend that she be removed from office was “procedurally unfair”.
Her lawyer was unavailable to attend the inquiry, and requests for a postponement were ignored.
Tillney said the committee had shown an unfair and uncompromising attitude, and had unilaterally imposed the December 3 date for the inquiry.
The committee on Wednesday found Tshabalala guilty of two counts of misconduct.
The first charge related to her stating on her CV that she had obtained two qualifications when she applied for the job as SABC chair.
The other related to an affidavit she submitted to Parliament stating that certificates of her qualifications were stolen during a burglary at her home.
Tshabalala was given 14 working days to respond to the committee's report.
The decision was made after a Unisa official told the inquiry that records showed Tshabalala had registered for a BCom degree and a labour relations diploma, but had failed to obtain either.
Unisa executive director Jan van Wyk testified that Tshabalala registered for her BCom degree in 1988 and again in 1996, but did not complete her studies.
She registered for a diploma in labour relations in 1995, but her results were so bad that she could not be readmitted again. She scored 35 percent for a labour relations module and 13 percent for a human resources module.
Tshabalala rubbished his testimony as “hearsay”, saying that Unisa had been having problems with its records and computer system, and they could not be trusted.
She said she had tried numerous times to get a copy of her qualification from Unisa, but had failed because of its computer problem.
The Democratic Alliance has laid a charge of perjury against Tshabalala for lying about the theft of the certificates.
DA MP Gavin Davis said Tshabalala was trying to create doubt in the public domain to avoid suspension.
“Tshabalala's strategy is abundantly clear. She is attempting to create sufficient doubt to justify not being immediately suspended by President (Jacob) Zuma,” he said in a statement.
“It is a weakness in our law that only the president can suspend an SABC board member. This is particularly problematic if these two individuals are known to have a close relationship.”
Davis said there was nothing new about the information released at a briefing held by Tshabalala and her lawyer on Friday morning.
“Tshabalala did not say anything that she has not said before. All she did was reiterate her version of the story.”