The Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (Usaasa), the body charged with developing communications technology infrastructure in underserviced parts of the country, has slammed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) over its probe of the appointment of the agency’s CEO, Zami Nkosi.
In a statement, Usaasa has challenged the way the issue is being handled by the SIU.
“As a state agency that respect the rule of law, we would not like to comment on the merits and de-merits of the allegations, safe to say we are disappointed at the manner the matter was handled by SIU,” the statement says.
“In our view, this is contrary with the procedures of this noble investigation agency. This action is really casting doubt in the integrity of SIU, as it seems it has become entangled in a spider web designed by people who have material and political interests.”
The Sunday Independent reported at the weekend that the SIU had gone to court to try to remove Nkosi because his appointment was allegedly irregularly made by former communications minister Dina Pule. Pule has been named as a respondent in the court action.
In an affidavit filed at the high court in Pretoria last week, SIU programme manager Paul Modipa alleged that Pule – after refusing to endorse any candidates selected from a formal interview process – then went beyond her powers to ensure that Nkosi was appointed.
The SIU wants to have Nkosi’s contract set aside and to have the board appoint any of the three candidates previously shortlisted. Alternatively, it wants the agency to re-advertise the post.
But Usaasa has now said there has been a “miscarriage of justice”, claiming the process followed by the SIU is “contrary to what was expected” from the crime-fighting body.
“We however welcome this move as it provides us with an opportunity to be judged by a competent judiciary body,” it says.
“For the record, since the agency was formed almost 18 years ago, it has never been in as good shape as it is today,” Usaasa says. “The agency has been working very hard to improve the lives of the vulnerable majority without fear or favour.
“We wish to assure our stakeholders and all citizens of this country that the work of connecting people in rural and underserved areas continues. Usaasa will continue to deliver in its mandate set out by the Electronic Communications Act.
“All is well at Usaasa. The work of moving South Africa forward continues until the court of law makes a finding that will make it impossible for us to operate. No amount of media reports will deter the agency from doing its work.”
The agency says that because it “respects the rule of law”, it will not comment on the merits and de-merits of the allegation levelled by the SIU against it. – © 2014 NewsCentral Media, with Sapa