Carrim for DoC minister in 2014?

The DA and Cape Chamber of Commerce weigh in on whether or not communications minister Yunus Carrim should keep the portfolio, should the ANC win the 2014 National Elections.

Carrim was appointed as minister of communications in July 2013 in a Cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma, which also saw discraced former communications head, Dina Pule, get sacked.

At the time of his appointment, Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni described the minister as “one of the longest servicing deputy ministers,” adding that he is “hardworking, quiet, and loyal”.

Many industry players, including the DA and Cape Chamber of Commerce, welcomed Carrim as the new communications lead – though questions were raised of his suitability to the portfolio, given his apparent lack of technical background.

“We need technical political leadership that has insight and can make sense of a wide variety of technology related issues,” Roderick Lim Banda, Chairman of the Digital Portfolio Committee at the Cape Chamber of Commerce, told BusinessTech.

“Time will tell if [Minister Carrim]’s lack of technical background will be problematic. If he has a capable team behind him and wise enough to listen to them, it may not be an issue.”

Roderick Lim Banda at TedX Cape Town - [Image credit: Wouter du Toit]
Roderick Lim Banda at TedX Cape Town – [Image credit: Wouter du Toit]
Lim Banda highlighted that the communications minister – whoever that may be – would have their hands full dealing with a number of issues to get the department on the right track.

“So far, there have not been enough results to determine if we are truly on track when it comes to digital convergence and spectrum allocation,” Lim Banda said.

“Apart from the pressure on the minister to deliver outstanding and urgent deliverables, strong leadership is required in tackling more systemic issues.”

According to DA shadow minister of communications, Marian Shinn, for the sake of continuity at a department that desperately needs it, Carrim should be kept on as minister of the communications portfolio by the next government.

Speaking on his performance thus far, Shinn told BusinessTech that the minister has done a “fair job” tackling critical issues and addressing staff and skills shortages at the department.

“The jury is still out on whether he’s as good a listener as he is a talker,” Shinn noted.

However, should Carrim not be reappointed to the position in 2014, Shinn hopes that his successor “will be a person who understands the economic necessity of having a dynamic, vibrant, prosperous, effectively regulated and internationally competitive ICT sector that can help pull South Africa out of its current quagmire.”

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Carrim for DoC minister in 2014?