I am no 'white male babysitter' - DA MP

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Communications Minister Faith Muthambi interacts with National Youth Development Agency beneficiaries in Nelspruit as part of the Ministerial Imbizo Outreach Programme on 5 September 2014.

JOHANNESBURG - In response to being called a "white male babysitter", DA MP Gavin Davis said that the ANC uses the race card to deflect attention from the real issues.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi refferred to Davis as a "white male babysitter" in an exchange of words over the running of the SABC.

Muthambi made the statement on Wednesday after Davis, last week, accused her of "unlawful interference" in the SABC board. 

Muthambi had allegedly written letters to some board members asking them to furnish her reasons why they should not be suspended.

Davis said, "The minister cannot appoint or remove board members. The minister has no role to play in the board appointment - only the president has that role. The structure is set up this way in order to prevent politicisation of the board.

"It is interesting that the investigation on Ellen Tshabalala went on for six months and the minister did not get involved. She followed due processes and allowed parliament to investigate.

"It is very strange that the minister would now start interfering in the removal of board members when she didn&39;t do any of that in the case of Ellen (Tshabalala)."

He said, "Let&39;s stick to the law. If she has issues with board members, she can approach the Portfolio Committee on Communications and allow a proper and lawful investigation to take place."

In her statement, Muthambi said, "(I) will not allow a perception to be created that if you are a black woman minister, you need a white male babysitter."

"It is indeed questionable that honourable Davis&39;s level of activism coincides with the appointment, albeit on an acting capacity, of a black person at the helm of a public institution."

Muthambi was referring to SABC acting CEO Hlaudi Motsoeneng, who has been under fire for allegedly lying about his qualifications.

Davis said that the claims that he is attempting to "babysit" are absurd. "The fact that she would bring up the race card is unfortunate.

"She is only bringing up racial stuff to draw attention away from the real issue, which is her unlawful interference in the board. The fact that she would do this means that my comments on her conduct have hit a nerve."

The Department of Communications was not available for comment.

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