Pule reins in state-owed companies

Communications minister Dina Pule has decided to rein in the heads of state-owned companies (SOCs) to report to her on a monthly basis, the department said on Thursday (6 June 2013).

This is in contrast to the past practice wherein Pule held separate quarterly bilateral meetings with each SOC.

As part of the new process, Pule has instructed the chairpersons, chief executives, chief operating officers of relevant SOCs to meet with her at least once a month to update her on the progress made in the policy commitments she announced in her Budget Vote speech in May.

“I decided to streamline how I relate to the SOCs to ensure that, as a department, we improve the quality of service we deliver to our citizens. On the evidence from my revised engagements with the SOCs, I’m confident we shall meet all the goals we have set ourselves,” Pule said.

In two meetings held with the leadership of the Independent Communications Regulator of SA (Icasa), the SABC, Sentech, the SA Post Office, Universal Service and Access Agency of SA and the eSkills Institute this week, Pule discussed the lowering the cost to communicate as well as the country’s digital migration.

“The Department is working closely with Icasa on lowering the cost to communicate. Icasa is currently busy with a broadband market study to, amongst others, determine areas of intervention to lower costs,” the department said.

In her budget speech in May, Pule said she intends to issue a policy directive to regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on transparent pricing of services including SMS, voice, and data.

In terms of the digital terrestrial tv (DTT) rollout, the department said that Pule is pleased with the progress the SOCs are making, saying that she will soon release a revised draft BDM Policy dealing with the Set-Top-Box Control.

The minister is currently embroiled in heated controversy involving her personal affairs being exposed by The Sunday Times newspaper.

As a result of the highly-publicised scandals, she’s currently being investigated by a nine-member parliamentary ethics committee, which is probing the allegations brought against minister.

A separate investigation, being conducted by the public protector, is also currently underway, having reportedly suffered yet another delay.

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Pule reins in state-owed companies