Former communications minister Dina Pule. CC image courtesy of GovernmentZA, on Flickr.
Pule was sacked by President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, replacing her with Yunus Carrim, although the President has given no reasons for the switch.
The former minister began making calls to the public and industry figures for consultation on the broadband policy in April and although Cull admits the procedure will be long, it will ultimately be worth it and should direct the government towards reaching its targets in 2020 and 2030.
Speaking to HumanIPO, Cull said: “Getting the broadband policy going is probably the most worthwhile thing that she did. The last policy that we had was 1996 and although the process will probably not finish until 2016, it needs to continue because it should give us a plan.”
The government has set itself a target of 100 per cent broadband penetration by 2020, a target Cull describes as “arbitrary” and extremely unlikely to be met.
During her reign, Pule was embroiled in a constant back and forth with the Sunday Times newspaper which produced a series of corruption allegations against her and Cull said Pule too easily allowed herself to become distracted from her “core responsibilities”.
“It became clear that she was fighting too many battles, spending too much time talking about the Sunday Times and undergoing ethics investigations in a portfolio that really requires a lot of concentration. She did not give herself enough time to do that.”
Concerning advice for Pule’s successor Carrim, Cull said: “My advice would be to quickly get into a position where decisions can be taken. Some people might not like them, but it is very important progress is made.”
The regulatory expert suggested Carrim keep on board the technical advisors Pule already had in place as it was the norm for a new minister to bring in their own people. She should also resolve the “question mark” hanging over the status of the director general Rosey Sekese.
He added: “He should keep them at least in the short term (the technical advisors) because he will then be able to get a hold on what is happening now and the processes in place.
“His priority should be to get the DoC competently staffed and to define its mandate.”