EFF files perjury charges against tourism board member

The war between MPs in the portfolio committee on tourism and members of South African Tourism (SAT) has reached boiling point with the EFF filing perjury charges against agency board member, Kholeka Zama for “lying ”.

The perjury case was opened at Plain Street police station in Cape Town last month by EFF MP Anthony Matumba, who accused Zama of allegedly lying to the portfolio committee.

In an affidavit attached to the case docket, Matumba charged: “On the 19th of May 2023, Ms Kholeka Zama lied to parliament in a portfolio committee in which SA Tourism and the minister were presenting the SA Tourism annual performance plan. “She told the portfolio committee that on May 3, a letter was sent to the SA Tourism executive on April 27, informing them of the withdrawal of the delegation of authority, and the delegation of authority was restored back to management.”

He said the SAT board resolution dated May 3 clearly indicated that Zama’s letter of April 27 was not withdrawn, and the delegation of authority taken from the officials through the letter was not restored. The criminal charges deal a double blow to Zama as they were laid after committee chairperson Thandi Mahambehlala wrote a letter and sought permission from chair of chairs Cedric Frolick to initiate “consequence management” against her. She said Zama misled the oversight body not only once but twice. “On two separate occasions, Ms Zama blatantly lied to the committee about board activities. On May 9, 2023, at a meeting held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban, Ms Zama told the committee that she had written a letter to South African Tourism as an acting chairperson based on the decision taken by the board to take away the delegation of authority from the executives of the entity.

“It then emerged at a meeting on May 23, 2023 that Mr Tim Harris (board chairperson) had instructed Ms Zama to write that letter, and it was not based on a board decision,” Mahambehlala told Frolick.

She continued: “Secondly, on May 9, 2023, Ms Zama informed the committee that Mr Tim Harris and Mr Zwelibanzi Mntambo (SAT board members) had tendered apologies for not attending the committee meeting. She indicated that the reasons stated by the two board members for their absence were that they would only attend an official meeting called by parliament.

“It transpired on May 23, 2023, that Ms Zama had once again misled the committee, as Mr Tim Harris, during the meeting, advised the committee that he never said he would only attend an official meeting of the committee as he considered the meeting of May 9, 2023 as official parliament business.”

The developments are part of the ongoing tiff between the committee and Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille. A committee member said the MPs generally felt the interim board was assuming a hard-line attitude against the oversight body, akin to De Lille, who has been on a collision course with the committee since her appointment. “The minister has been very hostile, telling us she does not account to the portfolio committee, claiming she only accounts to the president.

“That attitude is now displayed by the SA Tourism board, which is emboldened by her,” said a committee member. But De Lille made a U-turn, saying she had no problem with the committee and was committed to toeing its line as an oversight committee. On the perjury case opened against Zama, De Lille said the law had to take its course.

“The minister will continue to respect the honourable members as she is an honourable member herself. There is nothing where they differ that cannot be worked out between the minister and the committee,” said the minister’s spokesperson Zara Nicholson. “The minister will continue to answer their questions because the role of parliament is to hold the executive to account. In terms of untested allegations against Ms Zama, the law must take its course.”


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