National Assembly withdraws Icasa candidate report

2015-06-23 20:06
(Dan Calderwood, News24)

(Dan Calderwood, News24)

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Cape Town - The National Assembly on Tuesday postponed dealing with the portfolio committee on communications' report recommending eight candidates for the Icasa council.

This was after opposition parties objected to some of the names on the list of candidates to be recommended to Communications Minister Faith Muthambi for appointment.

A division was called in the House but after discussions among the chief whips it was decided to postpone the matter.

"We move the postponement of this item and will bring it back when it has been dealt with," ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said.

The DA objected to the recommendation of Thami Ntenteni, former spokesperson for Thabo Mbeki, because he had a criminal record.

"Reports in the public domain indicate that, in 1998, the BMW that Mr Ntenteni was driving on the Ben Schoeman Highway crashed into a Volkswagen Passat from behind at high speed. One woman was killed and three others were injured," said DA MP Gavin Davis.

"The courts found Mr Ntenteni guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol, and culpable homicide. It is understood that he was sentenced to at least three years in prison, which would explain the gap on his CV between 1998 and 2001."

The Icasa Act stipulated a person could not be appointed to the council if they had been sentenced to prison exceeding one year without the option of a fine, he said.

Davis said he raised the issue with the communications portfolio committee's chairperson more than a week ago.

"She wrote to me yesterday to inform me that Mr Ntenteni had been vetted by the State Security Agency, and that no trace of a criminal record could be found.

"This is difficult to believe given reports in the public domain, as well as Mr Ntenteni’s own admission in this week’s Sunday Times that he did, in fact, commit the crime."

The DA also objected to Lumko Mtimde who openly supported the Media Appeals Tribunal first proposed by the ANC in 2007.

"We object to his appointment on the grounds that Icasa needs councillors whose instincts are to promote media freedom, not to curtail it," Davis said.

The EFF also objected to some of the candidates recommended and questioned the independence of Icasa.

"Fundamentally we want to register that there has to be a process of strengthening this institution to really reflect the chapter nine institution that the independent regulator is called for by the Constitution," said EFF MP, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

"Until such an amendment is there it's going to be very difficult ever to think about an independent Icasa board and we are seeing there is a crisis of ministerial interference... in state institutions like the SABC but also this one [Icasa] stands the similar challenges that we are seeing being demonstrated in the department with regard to the SABC."

Read more on:    icasa  |  da  |  anc  |  eff  |  cape town  |  parliament 2015

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