DA calls for ICASA Council nomination process to be extended to 30 days

Please find attached soundbites in English and in isiZulu by Zakhele Mbhele MP.

The DA calls on the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Boyce Maneli, to open the nomination process to fill four vacancies on the Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) for at least 30 days.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Tuesday 20 July, Chairperson Maneli gave notice for the public and organisations to nominate suitably qualified individuals by no later than Friday, 23 July 2021 – three days after the nominations were opened.

Not only is this Friday deadline ridiculous, but it also raises very concerning questions about whether the selection process, outcome and allocation of positions has already been predetermined.

The extension of the nomination process by at least another 27 days will be a reasonable and fair time window to give all interested parties enough time to finalise and submit their nominations.

The unreasonable and irrational notice period seems to suggest a total manipulation of the nomination and subsequent selection processes to reduce them to little more than tick-box exercises. It would of course not be surprising if the ANC has already identified preferred candidates, and has used this three-day window to give them an unfair advantage.

The Council is the highest decision making body in ICASA. Therefore, the process of appointing councillors ought to be open, procedurally fair and transparent, and the public must be given enough time to participate in the process. Any deviation from this principle violates convention, and calls the entire nomination process into question.

The DA will not be party to a rubber-stamping exercise of what appears to be another brazen attempt by the ANC to install politically connected persons in another organ of state. We will object to filling these key positions if they are not done in an open, reasonable, procedurally fair and transparent manner.

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