The Democratic Alliance (DA) has lambasted Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, for defying parliament regarding the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) appointments.
The newly-appointed ICASA Council members will take their oath of office today and commence their four (4) year term to serve and execute their mandate in the public interest. The Chairperson will serve a five-year term.
Councillors join the employ of ICASA immediately following their appointment by Ndabeni-Abrahams, as published in the Government Gazette on 21 August 2020.
The new appointees are:
1. Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng – appointed Chairperson of ICASA
2. Mr Peter Zimri
3. Adv. Luthando Mkumathela
4. Ms Yolisa Kedama
5. Dr. Charles Lewis
“We are indeed pleased to welcome the new Councillors as we are faced with a mammoth task of developing evidence-based regulations to level the playing field within the ICT industry. The incoming Councillors possess vast experiences in their own right and we intend to tap into their intelligence as we continue to regulate in the public interest”, says Acting Chairperson, Ms Palesa Kadi.
The DA will request that the Speaker of Parliament, Thandi Modise subject Ndabeni-Abrahams to disciplinary action following her latest decision to ignore Parliament, said DA MP Phumzile van Damme.
In a government gazette issued over the weekend, Ndabeni-Abrahams provided notice of her appointment of five councillors to the ICASA Council.
“This is in contravention of two decisions of the National Assembly instructing her to appoint six councillors. While this may seem a minor infraction, it is not. It is now the second time the Minister has decided to override the power of the National Assembly regarding appointments to the ICASA Council,” Van Damme said.
Last month, Ndabeni-Abrahams wrote to the Speaker seeking to reject the National Assembly’s proposed list of candidates to serve on the Council. “By doing so, she not only violated the ICASA Act, but the constitutional principle of the separation of powers,” Van Damme said.
She added that the minister has now only appointed five, and not six as per the decision of the National Assembly is a brazen middle finger in Parliament and must be dealt with harshly.
“Ndabeni-Abrahams has not only violated the principles of the Constitution, the ICASA Act but also two additional laws governing the conduct of Ministers – the Executive Members’ Ethics Code and the Powers and Privileges Act.”
DA Chief Whip, Natasha Mazzone, MP will be raising this matter with the Speaker to ensure that it is dealt with the seriousness it deserves.
“Throughout her term Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams has on repeated occasions demonstrated that she does not believe the law applies to her by illegally interfering in the work of the SABC and Post Office board, contravening lockdown regulations and now, for the second time, ignoring a decision of Parliament.
“We trust that the Speaker will deal with this matter expeditiously and the harshest sanction possible is handed down to stop “Princess Stella,” as she has described herself.”