The Media Workers Association of South Africa (MWASA) has issued a statement commenting on President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle on 9 July in which he axed three ministers, including Dina Pule, Minister of Communications.
The statement reads: MWASA notes the fourth cabinet reshuffle since 2009 and wishes to raise a concern about the perpetuating frequency with which changes in the Communications ministry have been allowed to happen. Except for the forced replacement of late Honourable Roy Padayachie, the other personnel changes have not served to enhance the performance of the ministry and its portfolio organisations including the SABC, ICASA, TELKOM, SAPOS and others.
It is overwhelmingly concerning that such a critical portfolio has accounted for serious opportunity-costs in a world economy driven by ICTs and has failed to provide a desperately required leadership in efforts to address the country’s growing challenges of poor education, deteriorating health provision, dismal service delivery, deepening poverty, widening socioeconomic inequality, joblessness and economic depression. The country ranks second-last in math and science among its peers, simple male circumcision procedures kill many and whilst being the biggest economy on the continent, the Communications ministry has dismally failed citizens in attaining a meaningful dividend from technological innovations in the ICT space.
We urge the new minister, Honourable Yunus Carrim, to use and employ his vast experience as an academic, a professional and a legislator to turn the ministry around and reposition its bouquet of organisations to lead national developmental strategies. There is simply no excuse for further mediocrity when the pace and depth of necessary change demand resolute, visionary and consistent leadership.
We hope the new minister will champion and lead efforts to conclude the long-overdue ICT Policy Review process thus laying the foundation for improved broad based, inclusive and meaningful access to the information highway.
The future of South Africa does not depend on fostering increasing dependency on a welfare state but in unlocking the potential of its people particularly by creating attractive and real-time opportunities for the majority youth, marginalised, female and rural populations.
A closer working relationship and the forging of synchronicity and symmetry primarily between the ministries of Education and Communications, but with all others, in improving on generic e-literacy and e-skills levels could improve on the public-value add of our formal education system allowing more citizens to escape the poverty-trap.
The ICT sector must be repositioned to provide an enabling environment for all other sectors of the economy and to be the springboard for inclusive socio-economoic development.
A better life for some is not a better life for all.