Minister of Communications Dina Pule has cleared fraud-accused Rubben Mohlaloga to take up a council seat at the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (Icasa).
Pule gave notification of the decision in the government gazette issued on 3 July (no.36632), indicating that Mohlaloga would take up the position from 1 July, for a period of four years.
The appointment of Mohlaloga is seen as a controversial move, as he remains accused of defrauding the Land Bank of R6 million.
After Parliament placed Mohlaloga on the short list of possible Icasa councillor candidates – and the minister subsequently appointed him – it came to light that he had been arrested and charged with defrauding the Land Bank of R6 million.
He was arrested and charged in October 2012, and was subsequently released on bail.
According to reports, at the time of Mohlaloga’s interview by the Portfolio Committee on Communications, he had not been criminally charged, thus he could honestly answer that there was no criminal record or conflict of interest issue that would nullify his appointment.
In December 2012, the DA shadow minister of communications, Marian Shinn called for Pule to withdraw her appointment of Mohlaloga.
“ICASA councillors, because of the value placed on their independence and integrity, must be above reproach and it is untenable that a candidate councillor who has not yet taken up tenure should start his highly paid career with a criminal charge hanging over his head,” Shinn said, at the time.
“The criminal charges against him thus casts doubt on his integrity and suitability for the post.”
According to ITWeb, the Constitutional and Legal Services Office for the Portfolio Committee says Mohlaloga is presumed innocent and fit to take up the position, as he is yet to face any charges in court.