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Parliament committee pushes for Mohlaloga's removal

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ICASA council chairperson Rubben Mohlaloga.
ICASA council chairperson Rubben Mohlaloga.

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications has resolved to remove Rubben Mohlaloga from his post in terms of Section 8 of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Act.

This comes after professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, chairperson of the communications portfolio committee, previously revealed the group held diverse views in regards to the steps to follow concerning Mohlaloga's employment at ICASA.

Some committee members felt action should be taken irrespective of the appeal, while others wanted to allow the rule of law to take its course, Mkhize said at the time.

In a statement, the portfolio committee says having considered the conviction and sentencing of Mohlaloga, it has adopted a resolution that he be immediately removed.

Mkhize states: "Having deliberated on the issue of the chairperson of ICASA, the committee has once more emphasised that he should be removed as a chairperson and also removed as council member of ICASA, as it is in the Act of ICASA that a person who is found guilty cannot hold the position of a councillor."

Mohlaloga, who has been chairperson of the ICASA council since December 2017, was last month sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for his role in defrauding the Land Bank of approximately R6 million in 2008.

It was expected that ICASA or communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams would act swiftly to remove Mohlaloga, but both the minister and regulator said matters relating to the qualifications and appointment of ICASA councillors (including the chairperson) fall outside of their control.

As a result, such a procedure requires a National Assembly process, indicated Ndabeni-Abrahams's office.

Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications.
Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Communications.

In January 2018, Mohlaloga and his co-accused were found guilty of fraud and money-laundering in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria.

According to the Hawks, the chairperson, together with former Land Bank CEO Philemon Mohlahlane and other accomplices, conspired and transferred the R6 million into Masepule Dinga Attorneys' trust account.

After the R6 million was received, say the Hawks, the funds were distributed and a farm was bought for R2 million, as well as an X5 BMW and BMW 118i for Mohlaloga, who was a member of Parliament and chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Agriculture at the time.

Mohlaloga has launched appeals contesting the guilty judgement against him and subsequent conviction.

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