Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications has sent the Department of Communications (DoC) back to the drawing board after the strategic plan for the new financial year it presented at the weekend left more questions than answers.
Eric Kholwane, the chairman of the committee, said although the medium-term strategy created the impression of a department on the mend, it lacked depth and information in certain areas such as the filling of top posts and market analysis. He said the department was expected to re-table its plan next month.
Wracked by in-fighting and a public spat between its former director-general Mamodupi Mohlala and and then-minister Siphiwe Nyanda, including backlogs on critical projects and policies, the department was considered to be teetering on the edge.
A cabinet re-shuffle late last year ushered in a new minister, Roy Padayachie, widely hailed by the local communications industry and considered to be the messiah the sector needed.
The 2011-2014 strategy centred on eight goals supported by 18 objectives to be achieved over three years. The strategy included intentions for creating jobs, fast-tracking of policies such as an information and communications technology (ICT) policy framework, enactment of the SA Post Office Bill and monitoring of the Postbank Act to corporatise Postbank, the digitisation of broadcasting and reviewing the articles of association of state-owned enterprises under its watch – such as the SABC, Sentech and Telkom. A national broadband plan and better partnerships with the private sector, labour and academia are also targeted.