New-look Icasa has ‘right blend to do the job’

THE previously lacklustre performance of the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) will radically improve once its new CEO takes the helm, its chairman, Paris Mashile, has promised.

New head Karabo Motlana had the experience, knowledge and respect of the industry necessary to lead Icasa in the right direction, Mashile said.

Several other managerial posts had also been filled in the past few weeks and Icasa now had the right blend of engineers, lawyers, economists and public policy experts to get the job done. “We are now a team and a lot will be heard about the quantum difference we are going to make compared with the past. We are looking forward to a fruitful working relationship where we will be able to tackle some of the challenges facing us,” Mashile said.

Motlana is currently Cell C’s head of regulatory affairs and previously worked in Telkom’s regulatory and government affairs department.

He is joining Icasa as it tackles a massive workload, with a completely new licensing regime imposed on the telecoms sector, and a broadcasting sector undergoing a switch from analogue to digital technologies and new pay television players being licensed.

Motlana said he took the job because after 12 years of wrangling with Icasa from the other side, it was time to join up and see what he could do to help. The job faced by Icasa was large and wide ranging, he said.

“It’s an ambitious agenda but one wants to find out what the issues are and whether they can be addressed through a rational process. We have a new legal framework and we are not operating in accordance with it. There is a whole raft of guidelines, directives and draft regulations and we need to take them seriously and apply them.”

He did not believe it would be a disadvantage entering as an outsider, rather than having a CEO drawn from within the ranks.

“I like to believe there is a view that there’s a need to look at things differently and look at things in a way which engages the industry and takes the entire process forward.”

Motlana could have taken other jobs in the private sector that would have paid him far more than the permanently cash strapped Icasa could offer, Mashile said.

“Working for Icasa is a national duty. It’s an act of paying back what the industry has given you. We can’t really say that his standard of living will be enhanced multifold.”

Motlana declined to comment on his salary. “We won’t go there. The whole issue of capacity and financing for Icasa has to be addressed. It’s critical. We need to have a functioning and well staffed regulator to be able to do the job.”

He takes over from former CEO Jackie Manche, who resigned in December last year midway through an enquiry into alleged breaches of the Public Finance Management Act and the Icasa Act.

Icasa now has just two management positions to fill.

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New-look Icasa has ‘right blend to do the job’