The Democratic Alliance says that Communications minister Faith Muthambi acted unlawfully when she instructed Icasa Councillors to leave their offices by the end of November.
The party said it was in possession of a letter in which the minister made the instruction, going against Section 7 of the Icasa Act.
Section 7(4) of the Icasa Act states that Councillors whose term in office has come to an end can remain in office for an extended period not exceeding forty-five working days, pending finalisation of the selection/appointment process of their successors.
“There is nothing in the legislation that gives the Minister the right to revoke this forty-five working day extension. The extension is automatic if no replacements have been appointed,” the DA said.
According to the party, no progress has been made to replace four exiting councillors – nor is there a chance this will happen before the 45 working days are up.
The outgoing councillors are Joseph Lebooa and William Currie (whose terms finished at the end of September) and William Stucke and Miki Ndhlovu (whose terms will finish at the end of October).
“Given the potential unlawfulness of the Minister’s actions, I will be calling for her to appear before the Communications Portfolio Committee to explain herself,” said DA Shadow Minister of Communications, Gavin Davis.
“As a Chapter 9 institution, Icasa should be impervious to ministerial manipulation. Minister Muthambi must explain herself without delay.”
On Tuesday, 14 October 2014, media reports quoted DA Shadow Minister of Telecommunications Marian Shinn and telecommunications lawyer Kerron Edmunson who speculated that the size of the Icasa council might be reduced to make it easier to push through politically motivated decisions.
Icasa dismissed the comments and articles as “mischievous” for creating the impression that the Icasa council and its activities would be hindered.
Icasa said that the Minister last week requested Councillors whose terms of office are ending to complete their handover and wrap-up their activities a month after the end of their terms of office.