Disgraced former SABC chairwoman Ellen Tshabalala says she resigned from her position because the controversy around her qualifications was taking its toll on her family, saying the public broadcaster is “bigger” than her.
On Wednesday the Presidency confirmed that President Jacob Zuma had received and accepted Tshabalala’s resignation.
Tshabalala resigned after a drawn-out parliamentary process which ended in the Western Cape High Court.
Zuma will now have the task of appointing a replacement for Tshabalala, who resigned with immediate effect.
In the interim, Tshabalala’s deputy, Professor Obert Mbulaheni Maguvhe, looks set to be the likely replacement, following Tshabalala’s sudden resignation.
Tshabalala said on Wednesday that if anyone or any party had any incentive to have her removed from the board, it would be the SA Communist Party (SACP) which has been vocal in its criticism.
“It could be the SACP, but definitely not the ANC. I am an ANC member and none or any of my leaders have ever called me to say you are going astray or anything,” said Tshabalala.
She also denied that she was pushed or told to resign by ANC leaders.
“Not at all. In consideration of all the negative (publicity in the media), the organisation naturally is bigger than me, so it is better to quit and solve all your other issues from outside,” said Tshabalala.
She said her family was “definitely” affected by the controversy and media re-ports. “It’s over now, it’s behind me. I can focus on the things I really want in life,” said Tshabalala. “I have been in business even when I was with SABC or Transnet, or any other board.
“I’ve been in business for years. So this is not like a lifeline for me.”
MPs and parties welcomed the resignation.
“For me this has shortened the entire process, which is good for the portfolio committee so that we can focus on filling the vacancies and also making sure the image of the SABC gets refurbished,” said communications committee chairwoman Joyce Moloi Moropa. “We just wish it had come earlier on.”
Moloi Moropa said it would be premature to comment on a possible replacement.
DA MP Gavin Davis said Tshabalala’s resignation was also an “elegant solution” for President Zuma who was under pressure to suspend her pending the outcome of the parliamentary inquiry which found her guilty of misrepresenting her qualifications.
“It has been five months since the DA requested a parliamentary inquiry into allegations that Tshabalala lied about her qualifications,” Davis said.
“It was an unnecessarily protracted saga caused by the various delaying tactics employed by Tshabalala and her legal team.”
The ANC in Parliament said the resignation brought to a conclusion the long drawn- out saga which “threatened the integrity and the credibility” of the public broadcaster.
Tshabalala was earlier found guilty on two misconduct charges in the parliamentary inquiry.
She faced two charges relating to allegations that she lied about her qualifications to Parliament and that she lied under oath when she said in an affidavit that her qualifications had been stolen during a burglary at her home.