Communications minister Yunus Carrim scores a C

The DA released its cabinet report card today (15 January 2014), which analyses government’s performance over the last twelve months.

This year president Jacob Zuma scored an F, the lowest possible rating, for the number of scandals under his watch and the economy’s poor performance.

“Our justice system has been manipulated to protect those at the very top. Corruption is at its highest, with the president most certainly leading from the front,” the DA said.

“This is a president who is bad for South Africa and should not be returned.”

Many other ministers also scored Es and Fs – an indication that they had no clear vision, poor implementation, a disdain for accountability and their department is a mess.

Communications minister Yunus Carrim scores a C

The DA gave new communications minister a C, which shows that he performed fairly well and that the department of communications is well managed.

“The new Minister of Communications, Yunus Carrim, scores a C for attempting – with some vigour – to clean up the mess left by Minister Pule,” the DA said.

Former Communications Minister, Dina Pule received an E in 2012 and would have received an F in 2013 had she not been rightfully dismissed.

“Dina Pule failed dismally on all challenges posed to her in 2012 leaving Minister Carrim to mop up the mess,” the DA said.

“Her micro-management of Telkom and SABC, together with half-hearted attempts into digital broadcasting migration continued unabated.”

The DA said that by the ease and speed with which Minister Carrim has already made progress on some of these shows that Pule was clearly out of her depth as Minister of Communications and lacked sufficient understanding of communications issues.

“Her indecisiveness on key policies has lost South Africa valued time in fast-paced sectors such as information and communications technology (ICT),” the report card stated.

“Minister Carrim has invested his time dealing with turning around the department and driving priority issues, such as finalising the digital migration policy (gazetted late November for public comment), radio spectrum and broadband policies, and the cost of communication.”

Looking ahead

His overall ambition as Minister of Communications is to leave the department a better place than he found it so that either he or his successor will have a firm foundation from which to build South Africa’s prowess in the ICT world.

In August, Minister Carrim presented 17 priorities he wanted to tackle before the end of the current Parliament in 2014 and he added an additional two in November.

A concern in the ICT sector is that, because the issues are so complex and conflicted and that he is rushing to ‘tick all the boxes’ before this Parliament ends, the Minister seems to trust the advice of his officials rather than the experts in the sector.

His key priorities for 2014 are to:

  • Drive home the migration to digital terrestrial television, free up radio spectrum and make the delivery of universal access to all South Africans a reality;
  • Fast track the allocation of high-speed spectrum for wireless broadband services, as our internet response times will continue to lag behind Africa’s leading ICT nations and our trading partners until we free up appropriate spectrum;
  • Pursue a credible broadband strategy and rollout plan; and
  • Ensure competitive, affordable pricing in the ICT sector.

More on Yunus Carrim

Broadband, tech policies heading to Cabinet: Carrim

Pule’s damning SABC report: Carrim neutral

New communication minister’s deadlines: here they are

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Communications minister Yunus Carrim scores a C