Communications Minister Pule must go
Communications Minister Dina Pule's latest alleged attempt to enrich her boyfriend Phosane Mngqibisa gives President Jacob Zuma no option but to remove her from Cabinet (see report).
The Sunday Times today reports that the Minister's unilateral decision last May to award Nagravision the contract to install the control system in the locally assembled set-top boxes enabling analogue televisions sets to receive digital signals was taken to benefit her boyfriend Mr Phosane Mngqibisa financially.
This is the second time in a year that the Minister has seemingly abused her powerful position in the information communication and technology sector to benefit Mr Mngqibisa.
The controversy around the funding and management of the ICT Indaba held last June, from which Mr Mngqibisa made at least R6 million, is being probed by the Public Protector and Parliament's Ethics and Members' Interests Committee.
It is widely rumoured that Minister Pule will soon be removed as Communications Minister and given an ambassadorial post, and her potential successor is being openly discussed.
If President Zuma is considering a soft exit for her into an ambassadorial post he must remember that within one year Minister Pule has been accused twice of bulldozing through schemes that were designed to enrich her boyfriend, indicating that she has a serious ethical deficit.
She will also be remembered for halting Telkom's re-generation into a profitable, leading telecommunications provider when she aborted its deal with world leader KT Corporation, prompting the resignation of the CEO and the board chairperson, and then disrupted Telkom's AGM by changing her mind - as government's shareholder representative - on which directors to re-elect.
The Minister's 16 months in office have been disastrous for advancing the interests and benefits of the ICT sector. The Department of Communications failed to meet most of its targets last year and was hauled before Parliament's Standing Committee on Appropriations for failing to spend according to its budget.
The Department failed to progress its major projects - the timely migration from analogue to digital television, the allocation of sought after high-speed spectrum and a coherent broadband policy.
South Africa can no longer afford a Minister who is constantly side-tracked by her own personal and vested interests. It's time for Minister Pule to go.
Statement issued by Marian Shinn MP, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, March 3 2013
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