The department of communications has yet to find a candidate to fill its long-vacant position of director-general. However, Tiyani Rikhotso, spokesman for communications minister Roy Padayachie, says the process is “nearing conclusion”.
The department has been without a permanent DG for almost a year following the departure of Mamodupi Mohlala, who fell out with former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda. Mohlala is now head of the National Consumer Commission.
Harold Wesso has acted as DG since Mohlala left in July 2010.
Padayachie had said he would fill the position by the end of April. However, Rikhotso says the process has not yet been finalised.
Padayachie took the reins at the department in October. The DG post was advertised formally at the beginning of the year.
“I assure you that the process is nearing its conclusion,” says Rikhotso. He says the reason for the delay is that the department wants to ensure the right appointment is made. “You have to take into account the department and its history,” he says.
The axing of Mohlala by Nyanda and the legal wrangle surrounding the drama revealed a department in disarray, with many staffers demotivated.
Rikhotso says the department needs to make sure the successful candidate can overcomes the department’s historical problems and ensure the same mistakes are not made.
“The position is crucial to the stability of the department and it requires high-level skills,” he says.
Speculation is mounting as to who will get the job. Sources close to the department recently said that a former communications deputy director-general, Pakamile Pongwana, now a Vodacom regulatory affairs executive, is in the running. Pongwana was a deputy director-general at the department under former director-general Andile Ngcaba, who is now chairman of Dimension Data SA.
It’s understood Ngcaba favoured Pongwana to take over from him when he left the department, but the job eventually went to Lyndall Shope-Mafole.
Pongwana has not confirmed or denied he’s in the running.
Another name that has been mentioned as a contender for the post is Rosy Sekese, a deputy director-general at the department. — Candice Jones, TechCentral