DA renews calls for sacked SABC board members to be reinstated

This comes after Communications Minister Faith Muthambi's legal advisor was discredited.

A picture taken on 20 October, 2010 shows the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP"

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said the discrediting of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi's legal advisor serves to strengthen its call for the reinstatement of three South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board members.

It has emerged Daniel Mantsha was struck off the roll of attorneys in 2007, but Muthambi's department said he was readmitted in 2011.

DA MP Gavin Davis said his history is significant because it was on Mantsha's advice the minister recently overturned Parliament's legal opinion on the removal of the board members.

"Now that we know he's a discredited lawyer, it follows that the legal opinion that he gave to minister Muthambi must be discredited as well. And we think there are ample reasons that we need to go back to the drawing board as a portfolio committee and reconsider Parliament's legal opinion.

Last month, sacked SABC board member Ronny Lubisi confirmed he complained to the Chairperson of Parliament's Communications oversight committee about his "unlawful" removal.

He sent a letter to Joyce Moloi-Moropa in May asking Parliament to investigate the board's actions, but it doesn't appear as though his letter was formally tabled in the portfolio committee.

ANC Members of Parliament (MPs) have accepted the board's decision to remove three non-executive directors in March.

This despite Parliament's own legal opinion that the board was wrong to rely on the Companies Act to remove members.

The Broadcasting Act which governs the SABC, said only the president can remove a board member.

ANC MP Maesela Kekana remarked that in the absence of a formal complaint, the committee could conclude that the sacked board members were happy with the situation.

But in a letter authored by Lubisi to Moloi-Moropa, he asked Parliament to launch an inquiry into his dismissal.

Lubisi said he was removed unlawfully after Communications Minister Faith Muthmabi wrote to him asking him to resign over his alleged conflict of interest.

The SABC claimed he audited two companies involved with the public broadcaster, an allegation Lubisi denies.