The Democratic Alliance has released its annual report card of South Africa’s cabinet ministers, giving communications minister Faith Muthambi a failing grade. Her counterpart, Siyabonga Cwele at telecommunications & postal services, has scraped through with an “E”.
The opposition political party gave Muthambi, who is in charge of South Africa’s digital terrestrial television migration project, an “F” and said she has been “nothing short of an unmitigated disaster” in 2016.
“Minister Muthambi’s bungling of the digital migration programme will mean that the 5m identified indigent households cannot benefit from the promised set-top boxes,” the DA said.
But, it said, Muthambi’s “biggest policy failure” is the SABC. “She failed to ensure that Hlaudi Motsoeneng was suspended and that an independent disciplinary inquiry into Motsoeneng’s fitness to hold office was held,” it said.
It recommended Muthambi’s “immediate expulsion” as a cabinet minister.
Cwele at telecoms & postal services, meanwhile, received an “E” from the DA (see the tables below for the full list).
According to the DA, Cwele “lacks an appreciation of the dynamic and innovative nature of the ICT sector and its needs”.
“He has a narrow developmental state approach and believes ICT’s focus is the ‘social good’ rather than economic growth and cash generation, its spinoffs for the fiscus and development.”
The party said the national integrated ICT policy white paper, produced by Cwele’s department and gazetted in October, differs in critical aspects with its previous iterations that were the product of years of public participation.
“Its plan for a national wireless open-access network is an untested concept, the details were never publicly discussed, it is anticompetitive, it is investment inhibiting and promises to tie up the sector in years of litigation and uncertainty.
It said Cwele’s conflict with communications regulator Icasa over the allocation of high-demand spectrum is likely to head to the constitutional court, “further delaying the use of this essential resource by broadband-starved South Africans”.
Cwele and Muthambi were not alone in getting poor grades from the DA.
Indeed, many members of President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet — and Zuma himself — scored either “F” or “F-“.
Those with failing grades include Batahbile Dlamini (social development), David Mahlobo (state security), Des van Rooyen (cooperative governance), Dipuo Peters (transport), Lynne Brown (public enterprises), Maite Nkoana-Mashabane (international relations), Mildred Oliphant (labour), Mosebenzi Zwane (mineral resources) and Nathi Nhleko (police).
Science & technology minister Naledi Pandor and finance minister Pravin Gordhan emerged best of the class for the DA, with both both receiving “B” grades. — (c) 2016 NewsCentral Media