The chairman of communications regulator Icasa will stay on in the role because the telecommunications and broadcasting authority claims it is not empowered to remove him.
Rubben Mohlaloga was recently sentenced to 20 years in jail for money laundering and fraud, it was reported on Friday. He is challenging the sentence on appeal, Business Day reported.
According to the report, Mohlaloga’s lawyers on Thursday applied successfully for leave to appeal the sentence, which relates to a R6-million Land Bank scam.
“Icasa has noted recent media reports and enquiries regarding the outcome of the court action relating to the chairperson of Icasa this week,” the regulator said in an e-mail sent to TechCentral in response to a question about Mohlaloga’s status following the sentencing.
“In terms of the provisions of the Icasa Act of 2000, all matters relating to the qualifications, appointment and/or removal of Icasa councillors (including the chairperson) lie outside of the jurisdiction of the authority,” it said.
“In the interim, and pending guidance from the responsible authorities, the status quo regarding the position of the chairperson of Icasa remain unchanged.”
‘Must be removed’
Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile Van Damme, the party’s spokeswoman on communications, said on Friday that she plans to raise the matter before the relevant parliamentary portfolio committee next Tuesday.
“He should have been removed long ago,” Van Damme said. “The Icasa Act states that anyone convicted of a crime must be removed.”
Mohlaloga first joined the Icasa council in July 2013 and became acting chairman in June 2016. He was appointed as full-time chairman in December 2017, despite an outcry from opposition political parties.
A statement by the Hawks last year said Mohlaloga and three others had been found guilty of defrauding the Land Bank. They transferred funds from the Agri-BEE fund, money intended for poor farmers, into a trust account and bought a farm for R2-million as well as an X5 BMW and a BMW 118i for Mohlaloga, who was an ANC MP and the chair of the portfolio committee on agriculture at the time. — © 2019 NewsCentral Media