Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams may have capitulated to pressure exerted by Parliament and the ANC over the appointment of Icasa councillors, but the DA still wants her out.
“Stella must go!” DA MP and communications spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said in a statement that was released on Thursday morning.
Initially, Ndabeni-Abrahams defied Parliament by only appointing five councillors to the Icasa council.
There were six vacancies, but Ndabeni-Abrahams appeared to have a problem with one of the candidates Parliament recommended, Zolani Matthews, who served on the South African Post Office board and was one of the board members whose term Ndabeni-Abrahams did not extend last year.
She gazetted Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng (chairperson), Peter Zimri, advocate Luthando Mkumatela, Yolisa Kedama, and Dr Charles Lewis’ appointments on Friday.
On Saturday, ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule hauled her before the ANC’s subcommittee on communications, where she was instructed to obey Parliament.
Also on Saturday, she wrote a letter to National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise, informing her “good office” that she intends to appoint Matthews to the council.
On Monday, before this was publicly known, Van Damme said her party would ask Modise to take steps against Ndabeni-Abrahams, for contravening the Constitution, the Icasa Act, the Executive Members’ Act and the Powers and Privileges Act for her handling of the Icasa matter.
On Thursday, Van Damme said: “Ndabeni-Abrahams’ bizarre and unlawful conduct during the appointment process to fill six vacancies on the Icasa council was nothing short of embarrassing.
“That she remains a minister is tragic. We therefore reiterate our call for the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to fire her.
“Should she remain minister, the DA fears that South Africa’s goal to grow and support the digital economy would be put at risk. With the potential help raise South Africa’s GDP by almost $12 billion, elevating current GDP by 3.1 per cent, the sector requires a minister with a head firmly set on shoulders.”
During Wednesday’s questions to ministers in the economic cluster in the National Assembly, Van Damme asked Ndabeni-Abrahams if she would resign.
Ndabeni Abrahams responded: “I’m not going anywhere.”
The Icasa matter isn’t the only controversy she finds herself mired in.
In recent months, she courted controversy by defying lockdown regulations. Her relationship with the South African Post Office board and the SABC and her husband’s business dealings also came under scrutiny.