The Democratic Alliance reiterates its call for President Zuma to fire communications minister Dina Pule without any further delay. The latest revelations in the Sunday Times this weekend that Pule’s boyfriend, Phosane Mngqibisa, had been able to secure top jobs for friends and relatives at the Post Office, Sentech, the Universal Service & Access Agency of South Africa and the SABC with the minister’s full knowledge is further evidence of the complete mismanagement of the department of communications on her watch.
I will also be writing to public protector Thuli Madonsela to request that she investigate these serious allegations of nepotism against the minister in terms of the Executive Ethics Act. In particular, she must investigate these latest allegations in terms of section 2(1)(b)(ii) acting in a way that is inconsistent with their office; (iii) exposing themselves to any situation involving the risk of a conflict between their official responsibilities and their private interests; (iv) using their position of any information entrusted to them, to enrich themselves or improperly benefit any other person; and (v) acting in a way that may compromise the credibility or integrity of their office or of the government.
Zuma has already procrastinated too long on this issue. His failure to act speedily on accepting the resignations of the SABC board chair and vice-chair led to the collapse of the board and rendered the corporation ungovernable. If he continues to do the same with acting against Pule, it will have the same destructive effect on South Africa’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
It is clear that she lacks the leadership to fulfil her duties effectively as a member of cabinet. Her two presentations to parliament’s portfolio committee on communications in the past week were disingenuous, self-pitying and often far from the truth. Her overview of the department’s strategic plan was nothing short of pathetic, and lacked substance.
Pule must be removed before she does any further damage to the sector or begins to interfere, as she has done before, with the new SABC interim board in order to get her way with actions that were previously opposed by the board.
It is time for Zuma to put the interests of the country ahead of his own political survival. Pule must be removed urgently if the president is serious about making ICT relevant to the South African economy and our country’s social development agenda.
- Marian Shinn is a Democratic Alliance MP and shadow minister of communications