ANC MP Lerumo Kalako accused DA MPs Phumzile van Damme and Gavin Davis of apartheid-era “special branch interrogation” for questioning an SABC board candidate’s listing of President Jacob Zuma as a reference on her CV submitted to Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications.

The candidate, Cikizwa Dingi, a director in the company that appointed Thamsanqa jamtjie as the sign language interpreter at former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

When asked about this by Van Damme, Dingi said: “Yes, I am aware of that matter. I do not see the relevance of the nomination to that matter. It was a matter between an employee and employer.”

Davis noted that Dingi’s CV stated that she had worked as a volunteer in the office of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and asked her whether she agreed with the minister’s defence of former deputy minister of higher education and training Mduduzi Manana, who is charged with assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm.

 Dingi answered that she was under the impression that she was being interviewed for the SABC board and that she was not there on behalf of any political party or leader.

“I find that question very irrelevant,” she added.

Davis then asked her if she agreed with the ANC’s policy of cadre deployment and if she believed a deployed cadre should be loyal to the ANC.

“I do not see any relevance of any political questions,” Dingi answered.

Committee chairperson Humphrey Maxegwana said “delving into issues of political parties is going to cause problems”, and added that Dingi was free not to respond.

Van Damme indicated that she wanted to raise a point of order, but Maxegwana denied her request.

“No, no, no, let’s not do this,” he said.

Davis said Dingi’s references indicated that she was an ANC deployee to the board. In response, Dingi asked him where in the Broadcasting Act did it say that a candidate may not have ministers as references.

After Davis’ questioning, it was EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi’s turn.

“Chairperson, let us allow the candidate to go home,” began Ndlozi.

“You can’t allow a candidate to come and mock Parliament,” he said.

The ANC didn’t agree to this request.

Ndlozi said among Dingi’s references were Zuma, ministers Dlamini and Lindiwe Zulu and ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu.

“We are worried about political influence,” said Ndlozi.

“Look at my work experience,” Dingi replied.

To which Ndlozi retorted: “I just did, Jantjie is your work experience.”

After Dingi’s interview, a heated discussion among the MPs followed. ANC MP Nokuzola Tolashe appealed to the committee to “protect the process”.

Davis said: “The candidate we just interviewed paraded her political credentials, we have to go there, we have to interrogate.”

Maxegwana reiterated that a candidate couldn’t be questioned on party policies.

Kalako said the “point is that the DA is acting like the special branch”.

“I won’t accept the attitude of the DA – instead of asking questions they want to ridicule a person!” he said.

Ahead of Dingi a former Zimbabwean judge, Chris Greenland, was interviewed. He was appointed as a judge in 1983 by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, but left Zimbabwe in 1992 and became a South African citizen in 1998 as his father was South African.

Ndlozi asked why he left Zimbabwe.

He said the spirit of a sangoma told him in 1992 that his life was in danger and that Zimbabwe would collapse.

“So you left on the advice of a spirit?” said Ndlozi.

“Many would say you would want to be the Mugabe of SABC at 74. Why should we put you on the SABC board?”

Greenland replied: “Most people like me, they’re not going to say I’m like Mugabe.”

Ndlozi explained that he was referring to his advanced age, to which Greenland responded by challenging Ndlozi to a round of golf.

Ndlozi asked him what his favourite television show on an SABC channel was.

“Checkpoint,” he replied.

“Checkpoint is on eNCA!” said a laughing Ndlozi.

The interviews are set to continue well into Friday night.