President Jacob Zuma announced the new cabinet on 25 May 2014 (see New ministers in Zuma cabinet), which included Siyabonga Cwele as the minister of the newly formed department of telecommunications and postal services. He was previously the minister of state security.
The deputy minister of telecommunications and postal services is Hlengiwe Mkhize. She was the former deputy minister of economic development.
“We have established a ministry of telecommunications and postal services,” Zuma said while making his Cabinet announcement.
“Our country has a fast growing telecommunications sector which in 2012 was estimated at being worth R180 billion.”
The aim of the new ministry was to get more value out of the telecommunications sector, he said.
Department of Communications changed
The department of communications has been changed to include more functions. This includes communications policy and strategy, information dissemination and publicity and South Africa’s international branding.
The new department of communications will be formed out of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), the SABC, GCIS, Brand SA and the Media Development and Diversity Agency.
The new communications minister is Faith Muthambi. Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams stays on as the deputy communications minister.
The Department of Communications has seen numerous ministers over the last few years, including:
- Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri – June 1999 until her death on 7 April 2009
- Manto Tshabalala-Msimang – acting minister until the next minister was announced
- Siphiwe Nyanda – 10 May 2009 to 31 October 2010
- Roy Padayachie – 31 October 2010 to 24 October 2011
- Dina Pule – 24 October 2011 to 9 July 2013
- Yunus Carrim – 9 July 2013 to 25 May 2014
What the Telecommunications and Postal Services minister should focus on: DoC
A recent Department of Communications report stated that the focus over the next few months should include:
- Develop an effective Spectrum Policy to facilitate the development of wireless technologies in support of universal access and economic development
- Convene a facilitation process to bring together the contending parties to reach agreement on the Set Top Box “Control issue”
- SAPO to build 50 new post offices as part of increasing focus on rural and other underserviced areas
- Finalise the licence issues and the appointment of Board members to the Postbank
- Establish a national ICT forum together with government, the industry, trade unions, and individual experts from academic and government as well as civil society role-players
The DoC added that there also needs to be more focus on cybersecurity; youth and ICT; and women and ICT; and SMMEs and ICT.