Carrim has been the deputy minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs since May 2009, and now moves to the Department of Communications (DoC) to replace controversial outgoing minister Dina Pule, who has provoked discontent and concern through her failures to forward the country’s ICT plans, while also coming under fire for alleged misuse of funds for the country’s ICT Indaba held in June 2012.
With the deadline for South Africa’s digital migration looming, the pressure for the country to achieve 100 per cent broadband penetration, the battle for the cost of mobile communications to be reduced, ongoing struggles within the state broadcaster SABC and part state-owned Telkom, Carrim comes to a position rife with challenges.
However, with a professional background deeply rooted in sociology - having been a lecturer in sociology at the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg) - and having worked as a freelance journalist, Carrim faces a big sectoral change with his move to the DoC.
Carrim has a long history in politics dating back to his involvement in organising anti-apartheid demonstrations, resulting in his detention without trial in 1976, whereafter he attended university in the United Kingdom (UK) before returning to South Africa.
As a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and an MP since 1994, Carrim has also acted as chairperson on a range of government committees over the past two decades - although none of this extensive political experience relates to ICT.
The new minister will require a strong team around him at the DoC to facilitate his transition into a key role within a sector which he has seemingly little experience in.
This is especially so given the depth of expectations upon the new minister from a country eager to capitalise on the potential of ICT, and exasperated with the incompetence of the outgoing minister, who has failed the department - and the country - on many counts.
The scrutiny which Carrim will now be subjected to in his new role will also add to the challenge he faces, with shadow communications minister for the Democratic Alliance (DA) Marian Shinn already questioning his suitability for the position, pointing to his communist credentials.