Jacob Zuma surprises with transfer of powers to new departments

2014-07-17 13:35

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President Jacob Zuma has signed a proclamation transferring the powers and functions of certain government departments and entities to newly created ministries and departments.

The proclamation contains two surprises. The Films and Publications Board moves from home affairs to the newly-created communications department.

Government’s technology agency, the State Information and Technology Agency (Sita), moves from the department of public service and administration to the newly-created department of telecommunications and postal services.

The proclamation formally establishes and grants functions to the new departments Zuma created after the elections.

The communications function was split into two to create the department of communications – basically the state information department – under Minister Faith Muthambi.

Telecommunications and posts became a separate department under Siyabonga Cwele, formerly minister of state security.

The SABC and communications regulator Icasa have been left under Muthambi, while broadcast signal distributor Sentech will now fall under Cwele’s department.

The Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) and the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) also fall under Muthambi.

Fresh into the job, Muthambi has courted controversy by approving the permanent appointment of Hlaudi Motsoeneng as chief operating officer of the public broadcaster.

A report by the Public Protector published in February found that Motsoeneng was not fit for the job, and raised questions concerning his claim to have a matric certificate.

Read: How Hlaudi Motsoeneng lied in SABC application: 4 E’s and an F in ‘matric’

Muthambi has defended her decision on Motsoeneng, but the DA has approached the courts to challenge it.

Zuma also created the department of small business development, whose minister is his former international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu.

All government functions that have to do with small business development – including entities such as the Small Enterprise Development Agency – have now officially been transferred to the new department.

The water and environmental affairs functions were also split, with former Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane announced as minister of water and sanitation.

The proclamation has also officially combined the powers and functions of justice and correctional services, which is now one department under Minister Michael Masutha.

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