The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called for communications minister Dina Pule to be suspended pending the outcome of a series of investigations against her.
“We are disappointed at the lack of action taken by the president given that the minister’s public office is under investigation for serious allegations of corruption,” says chamber executive director Viola Manuel in a statement. “It undermines the promises made to fight corruption, which has a ripple effect on the confidence to govern important initiatives such as broadband.”
Manuel says the Cape Chamber recommends that “at the very least, the minister be suspended while she is under investigation and that the deputy minister take the lead in strategic initiatives such as the roll-out of broadband”. Pule’s deputy is Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
“The chamber will continue to advocate for the independence of the public institutions that serve the ICT industry and will oppose policies and legislation that give powers of appointment to the minister for key positions in regulatory bodies and state-owned enterprises, the body adds. “The integrity of the communications ministry is critical to the economic wellbeing of the country and must be fiercely protected against corruption, profiteering and undue influence.”
At the same time, the chamber has expressed concern about allegations of maladministration and corruption at the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa, which is meant to disperse funds to improve access to communications in underserviced areas. “The country cannot afford any setbacks or abuse of state funds that are intended to ensure universal access into poor communities where technology adoption can have an impact on education, skills development and economic growth.”
The Cape Chamber of Commerce represents 3 000 businesses, including more than 150 that operate in the technology space. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media