DA calls for disbanding of Muthabi’s dept

2015-02-03 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Despite receiving “media training” that cost just under R24 000, the job of Communications Minister Faith Muthambi is still in the balance.

DA shadow communications minister Gavin Davis yesterday said President Jacob Zuma must disband Muthambi’s department.

This after rumours started doing the rounds that Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) will be restarted after Muthambi’s departement took over its functions last year.

Zuma last year created a Department of Communications and a Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

Davis said moving the GCIS away from the Department of Communications would be a massive motion of no-confidence in Muthambi, adding it would reduce her role in government to basically zero.

In an answer to a parliamentary question from Davis, Muthambi said she had two “media training sessions” at a cost of R11 970 each at the ABN Training Institute.

Initially Muthambi handled the cabinet’s press conferences, but Jeff Radebe, minister in the presidency, later took over this task.

Muthambi has meanwhile hit back at criticisms after her department was accused of “giving” government’s advertising contracts to the Gupta-ownedNew Age newspaper.

Her spokesperson, Ayanda Holo, last week said Muthambi only handles policy and not “administrative issues” like allocating contracts. But yesterday Muthambi defended the contract of R10 million to the New Age, which only has some 153 000 readers.

Muthambi said in a statement the department’s advertising buyers took decisions in a “dynamic media environment” using “leading global media advertising software”. She pointed out New Age is distributed nationally.

She said government would have had to spend more if it had to advertise in the metropolitan newspapers of each province to equal the distribution of theNew Age.

Davis said she must be joking, as the New Age had only about 153 000 readers. “This is why so few commercial advertisers use the New Age for their campaigns … because it reaches so few people.

“Is Muthambi really suggesting the New Age’s coverage is as big as that of the Sowetan with its 1,6 million readers across the country? Or that the New Age has a larger reach than the Daily Sun with its 5,3 million readers in all the provinces?”

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