The ministry of communications, led by Faith Muthambi, will have responsibility for running South Africa’s digital terrestrial television migration project, a well-placed source has told TechCentral.
A presidential proclamation further clarifying the respective roles of the departments of communications and telecommunications & postal services is set to be published in the Government Gazette on Friday, the source says. The proclamation will make it clear that it is Muthambi and not her counterpart at telecoms, Siyabonga Cwele, who will lead the project, according to the source.
Muthambi’s spokesman, Ayanda Hollow, declined to comment ahead of the publication of the proclamation. “Let’s hear the presidency put the statement out. Let’s give the presidency space to put it up there.”
Cwele’s spokesman, Siya Qoza, could not be reached for comment.
TechCentral reported earlier this month that Zuma’s office was mulling issuing a new proclamation to determine the transfer of functions between the two departments. Zuma announced after the general election in May that the old department of communications would be split into the two new departments.
The Democratic Alliance has said the decision to split the departments has led to a turf war between Cwele and Muthambi.
Zuma’s decision to split the department has thrown South Africa’s already long-delayed digital television migration project into further disarray.
Delays in the project are holding up the allocation of radio frequency spectrum needed by telecoms operators to deliver next-generation mobile broadband to South African consumers.
Following the split of the old department of communications, a range of legislation has been assigned to the new department of communications. This includes the Broadcasting Act, the Film and Publications Act, the Media Development and Diversity Agency Act and, controversially, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act.
The SABC and government’s communications arm, GCIS, also report into the new department, prompting the DA and others to describe it as the “department of propaganda”. – © 2014 NewsCentral Media