Opposition parties have called for the sacking of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi for willfully violating the Constitution.
All MPs in the ad hoc committee set up to probe the fitness of the SABC board, except those representing the United Democratic Movement, made the call in the committee’s final report.
The report – which covered issues at the public broadcaster – has since been formally adopted by the National Assembly.
Minister Muthambi, who has been blamed for the crisis at the SABC, didn’t show up in Parliament on Tuesday as MPs debated the report.
The MPs outlined in the report that Muthambi might have violated the Constitution by, among other things, acting in a way that “improperly” benefited SABC former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
Recall that the inquiry committee was told in December 2016, that Minister Faith Muthambi compelled the SABC board into supporting the appointment of Motsoeneng in 2014, despite a report by the public protector, which found that he had fabricated a matric qualification.
Motsoeneng allegedly didn’t stop at increasing his salary, he also sacked other employees who disagreed with him and irregularly increased his salary from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year.
The SABC also went on to confirm his appointment as its Chief Operating Officer (COO), despite the Public Protector’s recommendation for him to be disciplined.
While the ad hoc committee’s final report does not make direct findings against the former COO, it, however, pointed out that Muthambi interfered in SABC board matters and undermined the Broadcasting Act.
Among other things, Minister Faith Muthambi also erred by making illegal amendments to the SABC’s memorandum of incorporation, which gave her and Motsoeneng total control of the broadcaster.
The Democratic Alliance’s Mike Waters urged President Zuma to reconsider the minister’s position on the cabinet.
Waters added: “The ad hoc committee found that the minister displayed incompetence in carrying out her responsibilities, in addition, the minister interfered in some of the board’s decision-making processes.
“The report recommends that given the minister’s violations, Parliament must refer these violations to the Constitution, the Privileges Act, the Executive Code of Ethics and the Broadcasting Act to the ethics committee and the Presidency for processing. In fact, we call on the president to reconsider her position on the cabinet.”
The call for the minster’s removal was also supported by EFF’s Fana Mokoena.
“The crises at the public broadcaster were a “symptom of a fascist and apartheid state”, meant to crush the opposition and promote factional interests.
We sincerely hope that the president will set aside his factional and self-enrichment interest and do the right thing for once in his life,” Mokoena said.
Inkatha Freedom Party MP Narend Singh said the president should “seriously consider removing the current minister”.
However, the UDM objected to the call, stating that the committee must also give Motsoeneng the opportunity to state his side of the story.
Meanwhile, the SABC interim board will be appointed in the coming weeks. The board will be saddled with the responsibility of implementing some of the report’s recommendations.
These tasks include instituting a forensic investigation into dodgy SABC deals, contracts, salary increases and bonus payments among others.