Parliament shortlists ICASA council candidates

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Parliament has shortlisted eight candidates to fill the five vacancies on the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) council, as their term came to a close at the end of April.

Twenty names were shortlisted to fill the five vacancies in February, but one individual withdrew from the process, leaving a total of 19 candidates.

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications unanimously adopted a report recommending eight names to be considered for appointment to the ICASA council.

The candidates, in order of priority, are: Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng, Yolisa Kedama, Zolani Kgosietsile Matthews, Peter Zimri, advocate Luthando Mkutumela, Dr Charles Lewis, Amanda Cuba and Sandisiwe Ncemane.

The names will be recommended to the National Assembly for approval, following which the minister of communications and digital technologies will be requested to appoint the five ICASA councillors.

Chairperson of the committee Boyce Maneli thanked the members of the committee and support staff for their hard work throughout the recruitment process. “It is more commendable that the names were agreed upon through a consensus by all members of the committee, irrespective of our political party differences.”

Two of the names, Modimoeng and Zimri, have a history with the regulator, having spent the last four years as councillors. Modimoeng has been serving as the acting chairperson since last year March, following the dismissal of fraud-convicted Rubben Mohlaloga from his post as chairperson of the telecoms regulator's council.

A former Sunday Times labour and business journalist, Modimoeng holds MBA and PhD (management sciences) degrees. He is also Harvard senior executive fellow and has completed an executive development programme from Wharton University, as well as an Africa director programme from the University of Stellenbosch.

Zimri is described as an industry veteran with broad experience in the ICT sector and is passionate about postal, telecommunications and broadcasting technical, regulatory and policy matters.

He has been chief director of radio and satellite communications at the communications ministry and senior manager of frequency management at the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, a predecessor of ICASA.

Another industry veteran, Lewis is an independent analyst and researcher, He works in the field of ICT policy and regulation, undertaking a wide range of policy and regulatory projects, offers ICT sector analysis and advice, does research and writing, and delivers training and facilitation. He has also previously written on the lessons to be learned from spectrum auctions.

The South African telecoms regulator defines its council as its highest decision-making body. It consists of nine members, including the chairperson.

According to the ICASA Act, those appointed to the regulator's council must be individuals who:

  • Are committed to fairness, freedom of expression, openness and accountability on the part of those entrusted with the governance of a public service.
  • Are representative of a broad cross-section of the population of SA.
  • Possess suitable qualifications, expertise and experience in the fields of (among others) broadcasting, electronic communications and postal policy or operations, public policy development, electronic engineering, law, IT, content in any form, consumer protection, education, economics, finance or any other relevant expertise or qualifications.
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