Parliament has reappointed Marcia Socikwa as a councillor at the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) for a second term. Socikwa was one of two shortlisted candidates for the position, the other being SABC group public affairs manager Nomonde Gongxeka.
Communications minister Roy Padayachie returned his final recommendation of Socikwa to the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications last week, which the committee accepted.
Congress of the People MP Julie Killian raised concerns about the appointment of Socikwa to the council, saying the party would press Padayachie to enforce performance agreements for Icasa staff.
Cope originally backed the nomination of Gongxeka as the new councillor. However, Killian accepted the minister’s choice of Socikwa. “We had hoped for new blood at Icasa. I think there is more dynamism needed at the regulator,” she said.
Both the ANC and the IFP representatives accepted Socikwa’s appointment, saying Icasa was in need of continuity and that Socikwa could provide that.
Two more positions on council open up in June next year and parliamentary portfolio chairman Eric Kholwane says that would be ample opportunity for “new blood”.
Socikwa’s appointment will be met with surprise by industry. She played a direct role in Icasa’s decision in 2009 to try to stop Vodacom’s listing on the JSE.
The portfolio committee came under fire during the interview process in February for failing to question Socikwa about her involvement in the debacle, which sent the rand into a tailspin.
Vodacom’s listing, which was coupled with Telkom’s decision to sell 15% of its stake in Vodacom to the UK’s Vodafone for R22,5bn, was almost scuppered by Icasa, which reversed an earlier decision to sanction the deal after coming under pressure from trade union federation Cosatu.
A high court battle ensued between Cosatu and Icasa on one side and government and Vodacom on the other. The court allowed the listing to proceed, but not before enormous reputational damage had been done to the country. — Staff reporter, TechCentral