Communications dept in 'disarray'

2010-10-14 09:03

Cape Town - The communications department was in "virtual disarray" for the "better part" of the current financial year, Parliament's portfolio committee on communication said on Wednesday.

Committee chairperson Ismail Vadi expressed "grave concern" over the large number of vacancies in the department - particularly at senior management level.

"... for the better part of the current financial year, the department of communications was in a state of virtual disarray, if not, wholly dysfunctional," Vadi said.

Low levels of spending on operational programmes, poor staff morale, financial and corporate governance problems facing the department, the SABC and Sentech were further evidence of this state of affairs.

The SABC's board suspended chief executive Solly Mokoetle in August.

Efforts to stabilise operations

The "absence of leadership at management level" was also a problem. Vadi however noted with "some satisfaction" the efforts made to stabilise operations in the department.

The committee resolved that the department should start "redefining its strategic priorities", fill vacant posts, review the contract with the consultancy tasked with undertaking an institutional review of the department, and increase the level of spending on programmes.

It further urged the department to "take urgent steps" to institute proper financial control over spending and resolve "irregular staff appointments". It had to report back to the committee on its progress before the end of this year's parliamentary session.

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda earlier this year axed his director general Mamodupi Mohlala after he said their working relationship had broken down.

Nyanda's spokesperson, Tiyani Rikhotso, could not immediately be reached for comment.