Icasa boss’s fate still in balance

Date: 19 Feb 2019

THE fate of convicted Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) chairperson Rubben Mohlaloga was set to be sealed by the National Assembly.

This is according to statements by the Department of Communications and the parliamentary portfolio on communications.

On Thursday, Mohlaloga, former Land Bank acting chief executive Philemon Mohlahlane and attorney Donga Nkhwashu were granted leave to appeal after they were sentenced in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court for defrauding the bank in 2008.

Mohlaloga, formerly ANC Youth League deputy president, was sentenced to 20 years for fraud, Nkhwashu to 24 years for fraud and money laundering and Mohlahlane to seven years for fraud.

Mohlaloga was granted bail of R70 000, Nkhwashu R100 000 and Mohlahlane R30 000 while they appeal against their conviction.

The Department of Communications has since said it noted the conviction of Mohlaloga, who was re-elected as Icasa councillor last year while a cloud hung over his head.

It said Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams would study the judgment but stated that a councillor was disqualified from holding office when convicted.

“The removal process of a disqualified councillor, however, entails a National Assembly process and therefore falls outside of the minister’s ambit.

“The minister is only enabled to suspend a councillor after the commencement of such proceedings,” read the statement.

But the department said Ndabeni-Abrahams would engage all relevant stakeholders on the matter.

Portfolio committee chairperson Hlengiwe Mkhize said the Icasa Act was clear on the disqualification of a person serving on the Icasa council.

“Accordingly, the committee will play its oversight role on Icasa in line with the legislation to restore stability and ethical leadership at the entity,” Mkhize said.

She also said the committee would next week meet Ndabeni-Abrahams to be updated on the state of the department and its entities, including Icasa.

The body has previously indicated that all matters relating to the qualifications, appointment and/or removal of Icasa councillors lie outside of the jurisdiction of the authority.

“In the interim and pending guidance from the responsible authorities the status quo regarding the position of the chairperson of Icasa remains unchanged.”

MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA mayibongwe.maqhina@inl.co.za

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