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Mohlaloga set to named as new Icasa chairman

Rubben Mohlaloga is set to be appointed by communications minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane as the new chairman of communications regulator Icasa.

Mabuse Nkuna, the director-general in the department of telecommunications & postal services posted on Facebook on Friday that he had met with “the newly appointed Icasa chair Rubben Mohlaloga” and said he “looks forward to working with him and the rest of the Icasa team.

Mohlaloga, who has previously served as an Icasa councillor, left the regulator in August after his term expired. It’s understood that Mohlaloga will be one of several new councillors named to the authority next week.

Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said he couldn’t comment on Mohlaloga’s appointment as chairman, or on other council appointments, until these are announced officially in the Government Gazette. He cautioned that nothing should be seen as set in stone until the gazette is published.

Mohlaloga could not be reached on his mobile phone on Friday for comment.

Kubayi-Ngubani is expected to fill three vacant Icasa council seats. Candidates interviewed by parliament for the positions were Thembeka Simane, Andrew Phetho, Cawekazi Mahlati, Natalie-Ann Delport, Mashilo Boloka, Nomonde Gongxeka-Seope, Mohlaloga, Thabo Makhakhe, Peter Hlapolosa, Lulama Mokhobo, Ashraf Patel, Kate Skinner and Phosa Mashangoane.

Nkuna said on Facebook that he looks forward to working with Mohlaloga “as we prepare South Africa for digital industrial revolution”.

‘Cadre deployment’

Democratic Alliance MP Phumzile Van Damme said her party does not support Mohlaloga’s appointment.

“It is our belief that cadre deployment is one of the main causes of the problems facing state-owned entities, and with Mohlaloga having previously served as an MP for the ANC and as a deputy president of the ANC Youth League, he is just that,” said Van Damme, who is the DA’s spokeswoman on communications.

She said she hopes Mohlaloga “will prove us wrong, and will demonstrate leadership that will be independently minded, and focused on taking Icasa to greater heights”.

“The biggest task facing Mohlaloga will be an inquiry the DA has requested into payments made by MultiChoice to ANN7 and the SABC,” she said.

Mohlaloga first joined the Icasa council in July 2013 and became acting chairman in June 2016. After his term expired in August, he was replaced by Paris Mashile, also in an acting capacity.

According to Icasa, Mohlaloga has led several strategic regulatory projects, including the process for licensing 4G spectrum, licensing free-to-air television broadcasting services, and the review and update of the national radio frequency plan.

He led the council’s decision to auction off 4G spectrum, against the wishes of telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele, who took the authority to court. That matter is still to be heard.  — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media

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