New Minister paves way for one department

Monday, November 26, 2018

By Mish Molakeng

The newly appointed Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has made an undertaking to work closely with organised labour, entities under the portfolio and staff to ensure that the transition of merging the two departments is seamless and smooth. 

Ndabeni-Abrahams, together with Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana, addressed staff from the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services, and the Department of Communications on Monday in Pretoria. The two departments will be merged after the elections in 2019.

Ndabeni-Abrahams will also oversee the Department of Telecommunications after President Ramaphosa announced changes to his Cabinet. 

“As we work towards one department, we will bring every stakeholder in our portfolio on board, including organised labour,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Working groups consisting of Deputy Directors-General and Chief Directors from both departments have been established with timelines, targets and clear objectives.   

Ndabeni-Abrahams said the task of this working group will be to establish one department with an organisational culture, shared values, beliefs and behaviours that determine how people do things.

Currently, the Department of Communications has a staff compliment of over 70, while the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services has over 300 staff members.   

Kekana said while they are in the process of establishing one formidable department that will lead the broadcasting and ICT space, there is a need to guard against “pocket cultures”.

“In the midst of organisational change and restructuring, these pocket cultures may collide, and the fallout can be disastrous if we don’t guard against that. Overall, I am optimistic that the timelines and targets set by the Minister will complete the integration of these two departments within a prescribed period.”

She said the transition will happen over a period of five months starting from today.       

Under the stewardship of Ndabeni-Abrahams and Kekana, the Department of Communications will now have 12 entities in its portfolio, including Sentech, SABC, Post Office, ICASA and Broadband Infraco. 

“As the executive leadership mandated by President Ramaphosa to oversee the merger of the two departments, we are conscious that these changes may bring some anxiety among staff. We are here to allay their fears. Again, the processes will be as transparent as possible. Further, we welcome any suggestions from staff members. Our internal communications must be at its best to constantly communicate progress made,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams. –