Pakamile Pongwana, an ICT industry veteran who led Icasa as CEO before a controversial exit four years ago, passed away last week, TechCentral has learnt.
Pongwana was CEO of Icasa from November 2013 until August 2017, when the parties reached a “mutual separation agreement” over misconduct allegations.
Prior to joining Icasa, Pongwana worked at Vodacom as managing executive for regulatory affairs, a role he fulfilled for eight years from 2005.
A former colonel in the South African National Defence Force after the first democratic elections in 2004, Pongwana – who received military training in Russia – served as a deputy director-general in the department of communications, where he was responsible for overseeing the drafting of the Electronic Communications & Transaction Act. He was also the civil servant appointed to oversee Telkom’s initial public offering on the JSE and the New York Stock Exchange.
Pongwana was educated at St Johns College in Umtata in what is now the Eastern Cape. He had a B Compt (financial accounting and auditing) from Walter Sisulu University and an MBL from the Unisa School of Business Leadership.
His career in the ICT sector ended in ignominy in 2017 after he resigned under a cloud from Icasa. This was after he had been placed on “precautionary suspension”. Icasa did not provide any details behind the suspension and subsequent “mutual separation”, but City Press reported at the time that the regulator had received legal opinions that he should face a disciplinary hearing over the alleged sexual harassment of an employee, among other charges.
He was replaced as Icasa CEO by Willington Ngwepe, the authority’s former chief operating officer, who continues in the role to this day.
Update: In a statement on Monday, Icasa said it was “deeply saddened” by Pongwana’s passing. “His legacy of instilling a high-performance culture within Icasa has continued to this day,” it said. – © 2021 NewsCentral Media