The Democratic Alliance has released its annual cabinet report card, and the two ICT ministers, Faith Muthambi at communications and Siyabonga Cwele at telecommunications & postal services, have been given very poor grades.
Muthambi shared the DA’s lowest possible score of an F- with several of her cabinet colleagues, while Cwele didn’t do much better, receiving an E from the official opposition in parliament.
The DA publishes its report card of cabinet ministers towards the end of every year.
On Muthambi’s watch, the party said, South Africa missed the deadline agreed to with the International Telecommunication Union to complete its switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television.
She also drew fire for the way the the project to deliver set-top boxes for digital TV to poor households has been managed.
“South Africa’s digital migration process has been marked with delays and unjustifiable political interference for over a decade,” the DA said.
“Under minister Muthambi this intensified, with a veil of secrecy placed around the placing of orders for 1,5m set-top boxes. The minister has refused to provide full disclosure on the issuing of orders and the process by which the suppliers were chosen to share the R4,3bn so far earmarked for the manufacturing of set-top boxes.”
But the “biggest indictment” on Muthambi, the DA said, was her interference in the affairs of the SABC, in contravention of the Broadcasting Act, and her unwavering support of chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng. Motsoeneng, the DA said, is an “admitted fraudster who has single-handedly cost the SABC tens of millions of rand and completely undermined public confidence and good corporate governance.”
The party said the minister’s leadership of the department of communications had been an “unmitigated disaster”.
Meanwhile, in explaining its decision to give Cwele an E, the DA said the telecoms minister “has an indifferent attitude towards the mandate of his department”.
“He inherited a department from former minister of communications Yunus Carrim who drove cabinet acceptance of the broadband policy South Africa Connect and the sector-wide engagement with the ICT policy review process to revitalise the ICT laws. Yet, minister Cwele has been content to let their implementation happen at a leisurely pace, if at all.”
The DA also lashed Cwele for failing to release a policy directive on high-demand spectrum for wireless broadband and for failing to drive the rapid deployment guidelines meant to reduce bureaucratic impediments to the roll-out of infrastructure.
The party gave President Jacob Zuma and F-, too. It said the worst performing ministers were Muthambi at communications; Nomvula Mokanyane at water & sanitation; Bathabile Dlamini at social development; Blade Nzimande at higher education; Mildred Oliphant at labour; Susan Shabanga at women in the presidency; Malusi Gigaba at home affairs; and Tina Joemat-Pettersson at energy. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media
- Read the full report card here (PDF)