Suspended Icasa head gets pay increase

The pay of Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) chief executive Jackie Manche went up 35 percent to R928 000 for the year to March, a period during which she spent four months on suspension.

Manche, who was suspended on full pay last November on allegations that she had contravened the Public Finance Management Act, the Icasa Act and Icasa policies and procedures, resumed her duties two weeks ago.

Icasa said she has since been charged with contravening the Public Finance Management Act and would face hearings based on those charges.

Last year City Press reported that a senior manager had resigned from her duties after the disappearance of more than R100 000 from a safe at Icasa’s offices and Manche allegedly failed to report the theft timeously. The money had been raised from the sale of computers.

According to Icasa’s annual audit report, the regulator ran fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure, which included the stolen money, an onerous contract for office equipment, labour disputes and recruitment fees of more than R6 million.

The recruitment fees were paid for positions not filled and certain services charged for by a company for management services that were not rendered.

The report highlighted irregularities in Icasa’s human resources and tender processes. According to the auditor-general, there were many "ad hoc investigations during the year, which suggested further weaknesses in the control environment".

The audit report also highlighted that the human resources division failed to implement proper performance evaluation system and this resulted in performance bonuses amounting to R2.4 million being paid to all workers.

In the year to March, Icasa’s revenue stood at more than R144 million, from R141 million in the previous period. Staff costs, including pay for executives and five councillors, increased to R88 million from R76 million. The cost of the five councillors’ salaries increased by 9.5 percent to R3 million.

Last week cabinet appointed five councillors, including former councillor Mamodupi Mohlala. The others are Andrew Barendse, Robert Nkuna, Brenda Ntombela and Kobus van Rooyen.

Icasa faces a high staff turnover and is unable to attract and retain skilled staff. More than 10 senior managers have left in the past few months and Icasa is yet to fill those positions. Part of the inability of attract and retain staff was because of the low salaries offered.

Chairman Paris Mashile told the portfolio committee on communications in June that Icasa would need another R57.7 million over the first two years of the implementation of the Electronics Communications Act, including the incorporation of the postal regulator.

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Suspended Icasa head gets pay increase