Why the Minister has got to go

Debbie

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I wanted to post the link to this article that I wrote on MyADSL, but I didn't want to look like I was plugging the Antitrust site. It's more important to me that people read this than the site getting hits. So I have reproduced it in whole. See, now you don't even have to go off site!

A lot of what is said is based on the recent Duncan McLeod article.

http://www.antitrust.co.za/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=79&mode=&order=0&thold=0 is the antitrust location.

Mod please remove this thread if you think it innappropriate.

Duncan Mcleod's recent article "Mashile's Mess", is the finest example of telecoms journalism you can hope to come across. This article appeared in Financial Mail a fortnight ago, and somehow at the time we missed the importance of what he had to say. Lets look at some of what McLeod reports in his extraordinary piece.

"The ability of ICASA to do its job matters a great deal to individual South Africans as well as the broader economy", he correctly says. The problem is that ICASA is facing a "crisis". The organisation is rapidly descending into chaos.

The CEO of ICASA has been suspended for allegedly nicking R100 000 bucks from a safe. The acting CEO has resigned. The Chairperson, Paris Mashile, allegedly kicks off his shoes and sleeps at his desk all day, and doesn't know how to work his own email. One of the Councillors is accused of illegally doing work on the side in a legal case where there is an inherent conflict of interest.

ICASA has no Human Resources Head. Senior, competant staff in the organisation are resigning en masse: 14 have left ICASA in the last 6 months alone. They have no broadcasting General Manager (GM), no telecoms GM, no finance GM, no customer protection GM, and a host of other vacant GM positions. Gone are the cumulative decades of knowledge and skills.

To add to this, 3 of the 6 ICASA Councillors - the leaders - are due to leave the body on Friday, as their terms of office come to an end. There is no one to replace them. Because of the delays in passing the Electronic Communications Act and the ICASA Amendment Act, parliament is only now looking for candidates to replace the 3 outgoing Councillors. They also have to find even more Councillors to full the extra 2 Councillor positions created by the ICASA Amendment Act.

Fingers are being pointed back and forth within ICASA. The Chair, Sleepy Paris, says there is a "plot to discredit" him. According to the article, Paris claims that he was "approached by a senior employee... who warned [Paris] of a plot to remove him from office. [Paris] says he was told that some people with vested interests in the industries ICASA regulates had taken umbrage at his appointment and were working to unseat him".

Paris goes on to say that when he asked the the now-suspended ICASA CEO about the 'plot', he was told "'Chairperson, it's so bad, heavy guns are ranged against you, I would advise you to resign. You won't win this battle.' [Paris] asked 'Where is it coming from?' She said 'it's obvious' without saying more."

So Paris and the ICASA CEO together say that "vested interests" in the industries ICASA regulates are pointing "heavy guns" at him, and the source of these "heavy guns" is "obvious". Draw your own inferences.

The allegations are flying faster than we can keep track. Everyone is accusing everyone else of dirty dealing. Within ICASA, it's looking more and more like the Survivor TV show. No one can be trusted. The is no clear leadership and everyone's jostling for position. They are metaphorically killing each other in a game of who-can-discredit-who the fastest. Reputations are going down the toilet.

Telkom must be loving every second of it.

While ICASA is systematically imploding, no one is regulating Telkom. The few people who remain at ICASA are too busy plotting against each other to bother with a such a small thing like keeping an eye on what Telkom's up to.

Who's suffering? You, me, our country, our economy.

At the risk on joining in on all the finger-pointing fun, Antitrust would like to venture an opinion about who must be held accountable here. It's really rather simple: The Department of Communications. More specifically, the Minister of Communications, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri.

The roots of the current chaos in ICASA begin with the Minister. Not so long ago, Ivy told the country that as of Feb 1 2005, VANS operators would be allowed to self-provide their own infrastructure. ICASA duely got to work on the issue, spending months and months drawing up new regulations and investigating the implications of the Minister's decision for business in SA. They did a hell of a lot of work preparing for the golden date of Feb 1 2005. It was to be a historic day in the history of telecoms in SA. The sector was finally opening up.

But, literally the night before the historic day, Ivy changed her mind: "Oops, I didn't mean to say that VANS could self-provide." Now, just how someone says something like that "by mistake" is a mystery. She just "changed her mind", she said, only hours before the new regulations were due to come into effect.

That little stunt by the Minister was not the first major balls up in her capacity as Communications Minister, but it was the final straw for many. It pissed a lot of people in ICASA off, and so the mass exodus from ICASA began. At ICASA, the attitude reportedly became one of defeat. And personally, I don't blame them for this. Remember how the prison officials used to make Nelson Mandela and the guys on Robben Island work all day in the sun doing hard, pointless labour like breaking up rocks, which were then discarded? That's analogous to what the Minister has been doing to ICASA over years and years. All that work, only for the Minister to "change her mind" at the last second.

And as the ICASA personnel got fed up and headed for the door, people started to panic. Then the former Chairperson, Mandla Langa, who an ICASA employee personally described to me as "a lion, very respected", also left. He was replaced by our sleepy friend Paris. It's been a one-way ticket to the gutters for ICASA since then.

Then, as if the Minister had not caused enough damage already, she started interfering in the drawing up of the ICASA Amendment Act and the Electronic Communications Act. She insisted on being the sole person allowed to hire and fire ICASA Councillors. She wanted all the control. Some on the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications thought otherwise, but these true voices of democracy and reason were defeated. Our parliament then passed these Bills, happily giving this bafoon of a Minister all the control.

But lucky for us, our President Mbeki has been blessed with many brain cells, and he refused to sign the Bills into law, saying that he thought they were against the Constitution. Because of the Minister's attempts to centralise all control of ICASA under herself, the Bills then had to be revised, causing delays in implementing the new legislation. And this is why we are now left with a situation where 5 new ICASA Councillors need to be appointed in two days time, but parliament hasn't even begun looking for suitable candidates. That's not parliament's fault, that's the Ministers' fault.

All roads of discontent lead back to the Minister. It's time for her to go. She has fcuked up the sector enough now. This has had a downstream economic effect, affecting all businesses and all consumers in SA, contributing to inflation and raising the prices of everything. Telkom continues to get away with murderous prices, and we have no choice but to accept it. For God's sake, the internet is cheaper in Mozambique than it is here! Sure we like to blame ICASA for our woes, but ultimately at some point we have got to recognise that the Minister is the originating source, she is the headwaters of the muddy flood that has become telecoms in SA. She has the control, and this has happened under her watch.

Ten years ago, foreigners were falling all over themselves to invest in the telecoms sector in SA. Where are they now? Numerous international companies - and the dti alone has counted 32 major multinationals - have pulled their business out of SA because of the uncertainty in the sector, uncertainty created almost completely by one person alone: the Minister of Communications.

We need emergency measures, we need Mbeki AND parliament to step in and rescue the situation. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri has got to go, there is no two ways about it. WE, the public, need to take up our rightful place in this democracy. (More info on how you can do that will follow in the next few days).

And in the meantime, Telkom's grinning all the way to the bank.
 
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pupa

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Sound like the article is refering to typical Sub Saharan Africa!

Appropriate it is. Wondered what was the outcome of all that. Where are they standing now! Oh I forgot, they are all in Germany now on a business trip!
 

JTech

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Ms. Love

I appreciate your post and your effort. Unfortunately for you and us, we're part of the "whingers". I honestly don't see us winning this, we've all tried so hard to get Telskam to change and it's not happening.

There are people on this forum who have the power to effect the change, but no they are here for political intent it seems: will rather stir up flame wars in the off-topic section with those who dare to question why the current SA govt is not delivering or those who criticise the govt in any way, instead of actually getting Ivy fired and someone into ICASA who has something between their ears. It is so clear that they are influential and are connected to the SA gvt that they react to the slightest criticism or remark. I just wish they would rather use that energy to get rid of Ivy and make the necessary changes happen before getting into a hissy fit about the stuff in the news.

Reports in the media, have little or no effect, SA gvt ignores or laughs it off. The only way to effect change is to make sure it comes from within.
 

Vrotappel

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Unfortunately this is the way Africa operates. Look at the continent and you can see why it is in the state it is in. If Mbeki had more than a few brain cells he would have fired her years ago. The fact is that they are most probably too stupid to know what they are doing or each onw owes a healty stash of Telkom shares.
 

krycor

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Since he has not done anything about it yet, i'm sceptical he will do anything about it unless there is a major uproar in parlament esp during her budget speach but sadly that was deviously countered with renewed talks and proposals :x What SA needs is someone like Branson as minister to just say F@#$ it, change is to come, adapt or die but with some slight caution. Right now they protecting x y &z too much in hope of future investments but its just screwing us over
 
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Mirage

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There may be something like this already and if there is I would like to know where, but can't we start a petition for the president to fire the minister?

I don't have great knowledge of our constitution etc. so if this is not possible please excuse my ignorance, but surely a democracy does not mean that the mass public gets to participate for only one day every 4 years.
 

pupa

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Mirage said:
There may be something like this already and if there is I would like to know where, but can't we start a petition for the president to fire the minister?

I don't have great knowledge of our constitution etc. so if this is not possible please excuse my ignorance, but surely a democracy does not mean that the mass public gets to participate for only one day every 4 years.

The crux of the matter and the crutch of Africa and in particular South Africa. Look at Zim, the next election Mugabe and his stooges will "win" again!

That is how the ANC zealots on this forum defined and see democracy. Once voted that's it, that's all it is, they can then rule with impunity, no questions asked as demon_cracy spoke! Now a democratic constitution means nothing. Null and void. They will here still claim Zim is an democracy, even today! and they believe we are!
 

JTech

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defined and see democracy. Once voted that's it, that's all it is, they can then rule with impunity, no questions asked as demon_cracy spoke! Now a democratic constitution means nothing. Null and void. They will here still claim Zim is an democracy, even today! and they believe we are!

I agree, and that is how it has been on this continent for yonks. Nothing we can do about it, either survuve by working around it or leave and go to a 1st world country... I see it as a case of a hunger for power and shafting over of your subjects second to none, which I call Africa (TM)

And let's count down how long it takes now for the "special" forum members to arrive on the scene here and get the thread shut down T+00:00:00
 

Debbie

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I am watching. Ooh look it went to my head so quick!

Just kidding.

I understand some people's frustration with our government, but to me that's all the more reason to participate and try and change it.
 

JTech

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I understand some people's frustration with our government, but to me that's all the more reason to participate and try and change it.

Well said. The problem, is that, I and a lot of others on this forum do and gladly participate to try and change things in this country but we are now in a position where if we level any criticism at SA govt on forum or support anyone's cause (a case in point is the guy who started up the website to get the gvt to do something about crime) it gets taken personally by two particular forum members. Said two forum members got very agitated and called the man a "whinging whitey" or something like that. They don't agree with it, but instead of calmly disagreeing they get c0cky and start calling people racists and they use a racial slur on this forum "whitey". Also what I have noticed is a lot of the guys here actually counter these arguments and all they can do is play the race card. I am sick and tired of it. I started lurking this forum about 3+ months ago to be greeted by the flame wars in the off-topic section.

It is very clear that they have some sort of involvement or membership to the gvt and my argument is why don't they use their connections to get rid of Ivy instead of looking for fights on the forum or trying to be the political police!

I have raised above point with RPM in a very calm and very carefully worded PM and to-date none of my concerns are taken seriously.
 

-toady-

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*to-date none of my concerns are taken seriously.* ag bad luck there JTech...neither are mine :D and i am certainly not trying to trivialise (*) your anxieties here.
A special thanx to Debbie2 for reposting that article here as I certainly wouldnt have read it otherwise. Very interesting indeed.

CacklinTard
__________
Handle With Care :(
 

krycor

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I'd love to see people defend Ivy, it will be the biggest joke eva
 

Nod

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playkiller no.2 said:
Look if you want Ivy to go,then wait for nature to take it's course.

Won't work, they can pretend that she is alive for at least ten/twenty years, and no-one will notice a difference then either. The only way is to replace her with someone, that has a proven telecoms track record. They should consider to even get somebody from the 1st world (not just overseas, because that includes africa), to get things on track again.
 

krycor

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We need someone who sets time frames and works towards it, from the telecoms sector pref a engineer(cause well, you can't fool em when they have studied methods of cost cutting with tech. in telecoms which in SA they don't pass down a big % to consumers much). Problem is if its someone young or non-struggle related, the big wigs will fight.
 

Gladiator

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That article needs to be forwarded to carte blanche, or similar program. its something a journalist would enjoy probing, plus the audience would love to see the ministers reaction to some harsh questions.

esp after her tsunami comment.
 

DragonLogos

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I was trying to get something going, but I really do not have the time - And frankly a few people's postings were just ticking me off

Anyway what you can do is write or get a petition together and post it of to Thabo Mbeki stating the following

Dear Mr Mbeki - You have stated before parliament and the nation that any civil servant that does not do their job must go - You are also on record as saying that the cost of communications is far to high in this country (opening of parliament speech 11 Feb 2005 or was it 2004) The minister of communications the right horrible Poison Ivy has failed to get the SNO going in time, was late in getting schools their 50% discount (which is still a debateable issue with Telkom moving goal posts) and she has done little (other than giving promises) to bring down costs

You could post it up somewhere as a word document or whatever that people can download and post it off to the his offices when full, also make sure the schools get it
 

noswal

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ic said:
but rather to inform [enlighten] the public [i.e. potential voters and investors - both local & international], as a side effect guavamint would eventually see how its actions turn away potential voters and investors....

Thing is, an article in the Financial mail wont affect or inform people who only read the sowetan
 
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