The charge by the Democratic Alliance follows the Communications Portfolio Committee’s finding that Tshabalala lied about her qualifications in a sworn affidavit. Her affidavit was submitted to Parliament as part of Tshabalala’s application for a position on the SABC Board.
Tshabalala’s affidavit, signed at the Sandton Police Station on 23 July 2013, states:
“I, Ms. Ellen Zandile Tshabalala, 580802 0896 082 ID, wish to declare that around 2001 – 2002 my house was broken into and goods were stolen. The matter was reported to the police in Randburg. Amongst other items which were stolen was my bag which contained all my academic records, certificates and all my private documents. As a result I could not submit the required credentials except for one copy of my certificate[s] I acquired in 2012.”
The Committee heard conclusive evidence that the academic records and certificates referred to in Tshabalala’s affidavit do not exist. Tshabalala therefore lied when she stated in a sworn affidavit that these documents were stolen.
Section 9 of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act states:
“Any person who, in an affidavit, affirmation or solemn or attested declaration made before a person competent to administer an oath or affirmation or take the declaration in question, has made a false statement knowing it to be false, shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to the penalties prescribed by law for the offence of perjury.”
To assist the police in the investigation, the DA has supplied the following documentary evidence:
- Tshabalala’s curriculum vitae which states that she has a degree and diploma from UNISA.
- A statement by the Portfolio Committee secretary indicating that Tshabalala provided a sworn affidavit in lieu of her academic certificates.
- Tshabalala’s sworn affidavit of 23 July 2013 which states that these certificates were stolen in a burglary.
- Tshabalala’s full academic record at UNISA which indicates that she has neither a degree nor diploma from UNISA.
If Tshabalala is convicted of perjury, she will be liable to pay back the money paid out to her for attending SABC Board Meetings. Last year, she was paid R 936 000 so this is likely to be a substantial sum for her full tenure.
According to the SABC’s fraud and corruption policy as stated on page 67 of last year’s Annual Report: “The SABC shall take appropriate steps, including legal action, to recover any losses from fraudulent and/or corrupt activities or any other wrongful act.”
We trust that the SAPS will treat the criminal charge laid today with the seriousness it warrants. This will send out a signal that qualifications fraud will not be tolerated at the SABC or anywhere else.