Ministers who impact on the ICT sector


Apart from communications there are a number of other cabinet ministers who will have some impact on the ICT sector as their departments either control large IT budgets or are responsible for formulating policy that does.

These include Public Enterprises, Public Service and Administration, Science and Technology and Trade and Industry.

Political and industry analysts say the new cabinet is a mixture of experience, hard-bittern political loyalists and new entrants that will make for an interesting mix as the cabinet has to ensure that promises made during the electioneering campaign are matched up with reality.

They have also pointed out that this sample is representative of the center-left leaning of the new government. ITWeb reports.

“The left have certainly become far more prominent in cabinet than ever before. However, many of them do have reputations for being effective and efficient,” says independent political commentator Damian Silke.

When announcing his new cabinet yesterday, President Jacob Zuma said the first priority of the new administration is to make it work.

“Our priority is to make it start working…to make it gel,” he said.

The government department that will find itself in the firing line initially will be that of Public Service and Administration and it has retained Richard Baloyi as its political head. Baloyi replaced Geraldine Fraser-Moloketi in this position in October last year when the ANC recalled former President Thabo Mbeki. He was chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration and one of the party’s chief whips.

Former deputy communications minster Roy Padayachie takes on the role of Baloyi’s political number two.

Apart from being responsible for implementing the new government structure, the Department of Public Service and Administration also looks after the State IT Agency (SITA) that is responsible for administrating the IT tenders for many other departments and is in the throws of its own problems such as accusations of corruptions and internal management issues.

Naledi Pandor takes over the reigns of the Department of Science and Technology and Dererk Hanekom remains as the deputy minister. Pandor may think that this department is easier than being in the hot seat she was in at education – however, her predecessor Azapo president Mosibudi Mangena developed a reputation for being a personable and efficient minister and so Pandor may find that she has big shoes to fill.

Rob Davies has taken the helm as trade and industry minister after having served as a deputy minister in this portfolio. A member of the SA Communist Party’s central committee, he has a reputation in academic and political circles for ruthless efficiency and determination. Davies chaired parliament’s trade and industry and finance committees. The importance of the department is reflected by the fact that he has two deputy ministers Thandi Tobias and Maria Ntuli.

The Department of Trade and Industry is responsible for developing the strategy to attract and develop business process outsourcing (BPO), which has mainly translated into contact centers. This industry sector has proved to be prolific at creating jobs – more than 50 000 in less than 10 years – however, the impact of the global economic recession may affect it adversely.

Public Enterprises has been taken over by former health minister Barbara Hogan, which many thought a demotion. However, even she has admitted that her first cabinet appointment was due to her finance and management skills rather than her medical knowledge. This department most certainly will need those skills as it handles the largest and most complex of state owned enterprises such as Eskom, SA Airways, Transnet and new-comer Broadband Infraco, which is now part of a multination consortium laying the R6.5 billion West African Cable System.

Her deputy is Enoch Godongwana, a former Eastern Cape executive council member responsible for finance.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma moves from foreign affairs to home affairs and takes over the department that has been described as the most corrupt and dysfunctional of all. Deputy home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba retains his position there. He was responsible for that department’s sudden interest in pornography two years ago and to find ways to limit it on the Internet and in other media, however, no major legislative changes have resulted from this.

Home Affairs is in the throws of a major restructuring headed by strong-willed director general Mavuso Msimang. This means revamping the departments structure, training and IT systems, including the controversial “Who am I Online” that has run over time and over budget.

Other ministers who head up departments that will have some influence on public sector IT spending, deployment and policy making are finance minister Pravin Gordhan who replaces Trevor Manuel who, in turn, becomes a minister in the Presidency responsible for national planning; former trade unionist firebrand Ebrahim Patel at the new Department of Economic planning and state security minister Siyabonga Cwele.