Democratic Alliance MP and shadow communications minister Marian Shinn has called on communications minister Dina Pule to take “whatever legal steps necessary” to withdraw the appointment of Rubben Mohlaloga as a councillor of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa). This is after reports that Mohlaloga has been charged with fraud.
According to media report, Mohlaloga has been charged with defrauding the Land Bank of R6m and should therefore “not be considered for a position of responsibility in a chapter nine entity until he has been cleared of wrongdoing”, Shinn says.
Mohlaloga is due to start his employment at Icasa in January, along with two other new councillors whose names were chosen by Pule from a shortlist of five and approved by the national assembly in November, Shinn says. ITWeb reported on Tuesday that Mohlaloga was arrested in October and is out on bail of R20 000.
“Icasa councillors, because of the value placed on their independence and integrity, must be above reproach and it is untenable that a candidate councillor who has not yet taken up tenure should start his highly paid career with a criminal charge hanging over his head,” Shinn says.
“At the time of his interview by parliament’s portfolio committee on communications in September, Mohlaloga had apparently not been criminally charged so could probably honestly answer that there was no criminal record or conflict of interest issue that would nullify his appointment,” she says. “But his subsequent criminal charge should have been made known to minister Pule before she made her final choice on 21 November. If Mohlaloga failed to inform … the department of communications of the criminal charges against him this casts doubt on his integrity and suitability for the post.”
Shinn says the DA had opposed Mohlaloga’s inclusion in the shortlist of prospective councillors sent to Pule. “We felt he was inadequately qualified for the position and had not proven himself capable in his current post of chief director of e-content policy development at the department of communications, where one of his responsibilities was the development of the set-top-box manufacturing support strategy.
“We also objected to the ‘cadre-deployment’ support he got from ANC members of the committee because of his previous tenure as an ANC MP serving on the communications and international relations portfolio committees before 2009, his previous employment in the Limpopo provincial legislature and his tenure in the ANC Youth League.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media