How much Icasa staff got paid for a 29% performance – updated

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) recently presented the organisation’s report to Parliament, which painted a bleak picture.

Icasa noted that all the targets for its four programmes – Licensing & Compliance; Engineering & Technology; Markets & Competition; and Consumer Affairs – were not achieved.

News24 reported that Icasa only achieved a 29% success rate for the targets it set which the Auditor-General measures.

Icasa highlighted that it has worked on many projects which were not measured by the Auditor-General from the onset.

“This stems from a lot of regulatory work which such an institution needs to complete to continue fulfilling its function,” the regulator said.

Icasa councillor Katharina Pillay said they did not pay employee bonuses due to this poor performance, highlighting a positive stance in dealing with the consequences of poor performance.

Icasa’s basic employee cost was R170,500,860, and with 316 full-time employees this means the average basic annual salary per employee was R539,560.

The regulator’s CEO receives in the range of R2.4 million per year, while the average salary for senior management (executive level) was R859,589.

The table below shows Icasa’s total personnel cost by salary band.

Personnel cost by salary band
Staff level Personnel expenditure Number of employees Average personnel cost per employee
Top Management R2,441,670 1 R2,441,670
Senior Management R11,766,064 9 R1,307,340
Professional qualified R40,400,681 47 R859,589
Skilled R94,231,741 189 R498,581
Semi-skilled R21,660,702 70 R309,439
Total R170,500,860 316 R539,560

ICASA’s reply

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa would like to clarify the misrepresentation and potential damage of the ICASA brand displayed in the said article by MyBroadband in relation to the figures read in the Annual Report and statements made in Parliament last week. The fact that MyBroadband did not take the available opportunity to touch base with ICASA prior to publication of the article but solely relied on another publication i.e. News24, raises a whole lot of questions about the ethics and state of journalism at MyBroadband. The article refers to the presentation made by Former Chairperson of ICASA Dr Stephen Mncube who left the employ of the Authority in June this year. That in itself is a complete misrepresentation of facts because Dr Mncube was not in Parliament last week representing ICASA.

The article further says ‘the lack of bonuses does not mean ICASA employees are suffering. Most ICASA employees received high salaries’. Is it MyBroadband’s view that for ICASA to perform optimally, employees must suffer?

The Chief Operations Officer of ICASA issued an opinion piece last week stating that this 29% is understandable when one considers the key findings by the Auditor General which are, amongst others:

  • that we have underspent on our conditional grants,
  • that our performance information is inadequate / unreliable,
  • that our internal controls are deficient (including SCM processes), and
  • That we have not managed National Revenue Fund (“NRF”) receivables well.

He further said no person within ICASA is in denial about the problems (both internal and external) that the organisation faces and the reasons why the organisation has performed so poorly. Neither are we ignorant about the mammoth task that lies ahead if we are to turn the organisation around.

Most importantly, the COO said that our performance on day-to-day operational activities undertaken by the people in the organisation in service to industry and consumers are not measured by the AG as they are mainly operational activities and not strategic, keeps the sector functioning. These includes the assignment of spectrum not subject to extended procedures, processing of numbering applications, issuing of type approval certificates, administrative processes relating to licence transfers; amendments; etc. And that there is still room for improvement from a service provision and turn-around time perspective.

It is sad that MyBroadband chose to disregard the admission by the COO regarding ICASA’s performance and the acknowledgment or benefit of the doubt he made about ICASA employees and the work they do on a day to day basis.

We would like to encourage MyBroadband to practice good and proper journalism and start asking relevant questions before going ahead with publications that are damaging to the Authority or any other entity; and of course publications written without facts. We would also like to encourage MyBroadband to contact ICASA for a clearer interpretation of figures as contained in the Annual Report about salaries of top management and general staff because the interpretation displayed in the article is completely flawed.

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How much Icasa staff got paid for a 29% performance – updated