Who’ll succeed Ivy?
Nobody seems to know yet – it depends on who wins the election
SOUTH AFRICA’S information and communication technology sector has long been punished by Government’s poor leadership – a key stakeholder in the industry, given it’s heavily regulated – and as such there’s considerable anticipation about who will replace Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri after the next election. However, despite being an important question, nobody seems to know who Matsepe-Casaburri’s possible successor will be.
Democratic Alliance spokesman Dene Smuts says it depends on the outcome of the 2009 election. “We have no idea who the new minister will be, because we’re not sure who will win the election.” Smuts says the DA speaks to actual voters and says the ruling ANC is going to get a “big shock” next year.
That comes in the wake of a political shake-up that led to the formation of a new breakaway party by former ANC Cabinet minister Mosiuoa Lekota called (but yet to be confirmed) Congress of the People (COPE).
The question of leadership in SA’s Communications Department raises its head, given that Matsepe-Casaburri didn’t make it on to the ANC’s top list at Polokwane. It also comes after the recent resignation of director-general Lyndall ShopeMafole from the ANC and its National Executive Committee to join COPE.
Even though directors-general are supposed to be public servants and non-political appoint- ees, Shope-Mafole was elected to the NEC at Polokwane. That suggested she could be in the running for an important Cabinet post in the possible postelection Jacob Zuma cabinet.
But that clearly won’t be the case if the ANC does win the will continue to serve the ANCled Government as I have always done, to the best of my ability and with pride and passion”.
Shope-Mafole put her resignation – which surprised many, given she was such a committed ANC cadre – down to finding herself in “a very different ANC from the one I grew up in. More often than not I find a number of things happen or statements are made that I think are incompat- ible with what I believe the ANC is or should be.”
However, ANC chief whip Khotso Khumalo told the Parliamentary portfolio committee (as reported by Business Day) that Shope-Mafole wasn’t appointed because she belonged to the
BMI-T MD Denis Smit says he isn’t 100% sure Shope-Mafole would continue as directorgeneral after the next elections and that perhaps deputy minister Roy Padayachie could have a chance at being appointed to the position. Padayachie has headed initiatives, such as the pricing of telecoms services back in 2005, and garnered respect as someone who could bring about change in the department.
Although Matsepe-Casaburri is at the helm, Shope-Mafole has been widely regarded for some time as playing a key role in setting policy and making decisions.
Neither BMI-T nor Africa Analysis, another research house, had a view on who the next minister might be, although both said it was an important question. Africa Analysis telecoms analyst Dobek Pater says the political scene is complex to analyse from that perspective. Pater says many current ministers haven’t performed well, nor is he sure who in the ANC’s ranks has any relevant ICT experience.
With regard to Shope-Mafole, Pater says a director-general could theoretically become a minister if he/she had the correct party affiliations but would first have to step down from that post and run for election as an MP.
Pater says only if the ANC obtained less than 50% of the vote and decided to form a coalition government would a candidate other than an ANC cadre have a chance of becoming a minister.