No answers yet on USAASA allegations

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The Department of Communications (DOC) is keeping mum on findings of an investigation into allegations the CEO of the Universal Service and Access Agency of SA (USAASA) was irregularly appointed.

Communications minister Yunus Carrim has responded to a Parliamentary question by Cope MP Julie Killian, saying the investigation findings have been considered by the USAASA board, which has reported back to the DOC. The department is conferring with the Chief State Lawyer's Office on how to proceed further.

Carrim did not elaborate on the details of the findings, but said the qualifications of the CEO is part of the report on which legal guidance is being sought. "We will certainly take the matter further, but have to, obviously, respect the legal rights of the USAASA CEO."

In July, the DOC tasked independent investigators to look into the allegations of possible corruption and maladministration at USAASA, following a letter sent by United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa to president Jacob Zuma, alleging he has "disturbing information about the looting of state resources" at the agency.

Among Holomisa's allegations were that USAASA CEO Zam Nkosi had worked with chairperson Pumla Radebe while both were at Pikitup and that Nkosi uses Radebe as a reference on his CV, but Radebe did not recuse herself from the appointment process. He alleges Nkosi did not qualify for the position.

DA shadow minister of communications Marian Shinn says she is also in the dark as to the nature of the findings and is waiting for Carrim to announce further details. "We are hoping that this matter is swiftly brought to a conclusion, because it has been going on for a while now."

More allegations

Killian says while she also has no more information on the investigation findings, she has received worrying information that the whistleblowers in USAASA who provided information about the allegations to Holomisa are now being called into disciplinary hearings for blowing the lid.

"Apparently there is ample evidence that corrupt activities are going on at USAASA, but I don't have exact details thereof. This should be contained in the report. We just don't want to see people dismissed for revealing what is going at the agency."

Killian says she will undoubtedly take up the matter with Carrim as soon as possible, but doesn't know if she will be able to get a response by the end of the year.

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