The National Broadband Advisory Council, which was established to support the South African government in policy implementation, is on rocky ground as three members have resigned amid allegations of a lack of guidance on the part of government.
The three members are Executive Director of Research ICT Africa, Prof. Allison Gillwald, Managing Director of World Wide Worx Arthur Goldstuck and Chief Executive Officer of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Dr. Sibusiso Sibisi, who was also the council’s chairperson.
The council was formed in April 2014 by former Communications Minister Yunus Carrim. One month later, President Jacob Zuma split the Department of Communications down the middle, forming two new departments.
Cracks start showing
The newly-formed council was then placed under the control of the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, which was being overseen by Siyabonga Cwele.
According to Fin24, Cwele did not attend a single council meeting in 2014 and throughout 2015 not one council meeting was held.
“The minister has not been available since coming into office to meet with the council or in any other way to endorse its activities,” Gillwald told Fin24. “This compounded the department’s lack of responsiveness to council requests for information, meeting coordination and records, making the work of the council untenable”.
Why they resigned
Minister Cwele formed the National ICT Forum in May 2015, to co-ordinate efforts between public and private entities in the sector. This move, says Gillwald, led to her resignation and the resignation of Dr. Sibisi.
According to Goldstuck, his resignation came as a result of the position becoming untenable to hold saying, “It was incumbent on me to resign, especially considering that I had been contemplating it. I think that the sentiment expressed by Alison (Gillwald) and Sibusiso (Sibisi) pretty much encompass the experience of most of the members of the council.”
While it is unclear right now whether other council members will step down, it appears as if the council exists nowhere but on paper with Goldstuck saying, “If there’s no platform for it to communicate with the minister or to the minister, then in effect it doesn’t exist.”[Via – Fin24] [Image CC by 2.0 – reynermedia]