Who’ll suc­ceed Ivy?

No­body seems to know yet – it de­pends on who wins the elec­tion

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - BELINDA AN­DER­SON

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.

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