Third time lucky?

The re-appointment of South Africa Minister of Communications, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, and the announcement of the new South Africa Department of Science and Technology, under Minister Mosibudi Mangena, will have a great impact on the ICT industry. We look at the two ministers, their biggest challenges, and what implications their appointments will have on the ICT industry.

Minister of Communications, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri

According to her ministry's spokesperson, Donovan Cloete, the minister is expected to settle into her post by the beginning of next week. Although this marks her third term as Minister of Communications, a lot is still expected from her by the industry.

Amongst the main challenges facing Matsepe-Casaburri are:

-- The appointment of a new Director-General following the departure of Andile Ngcaba;

-- Completion of the SNO licensing process (pending for two years);

-- The completion of the drafting of the ICT BEE Charter;

-- Completion of the value-added network service provider project (pending for three years);

-- The passing of the Convergence Bill, which was postponed until after the election.

What the analysts say

According to Doug Franke, advisory partner, PricewaterhouseCooper, it is believed that the minister's significant experience to date will be a positive factor in the future. "She has lived through a number of important challenges, including the experience of working with the different stakeholders and interested parties in the industry, and this is valuable experience.

"Amongst the Communications Ministry's greatest achievements is the recognition that the successful implementation of communications policy is one of the most important elements for the future success of SA, and the realization that implementing proper policy would affect every South African. The passing of the ECT Act also placed SA at the forefront of countries considering e-business," he notes.

Mosib udi Mangena, Minister of Science and Technology

The former Deputy Minister of Education, responsible for driving science and maths within the department, holds an MA in Applied Mathematics from Unisa.

The newly created ministry has been formed out of the Arts, Culture, Science and Technology portfolio. According to spokesperson, Nhlanhla Nyide, this is an indication that there has been progress in the science and technology industry. The department will put more focus on science and technology, which will enable SA's economic drive, he says.

The challenges that will be facing Mangena are:

-- Redefining the ministry, establishing its mandate, and positioning it within the current landscape;

-- Ensuring that science and technology are taken seriously and viewed as priority sectors;

-- Receiving a clear budget that focuses on the department and its needs;

-- Encouraging awareness about science and technology in previously disadvantaged areas.

What the analysts say

"The major challenge is the administrative challenge, and we will see if he can rise to it. The minister, however, has a great opportunity to start his ministry from the beginning as he wants it to be. The introduction of a new department is good, because, according to the World Competitiveness Report, SA ranks poorly in competitiveness in science and technology. This department will create additional focus and enable SA to raise the profile of this important national strategic goal," Frankie says.

"Another challenge will be the relationship that the department will have with the Department of Communications, and how they will work together in certain issues such as empowerment, development and training. The department will also be expected to establish a relationship with the business industry, to make its role clear in business and related issues," he says.

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