'The job comes with huge pressure'

The public will be given a clearer idea on the Minister's agenda in the next two weeks.

Minister Yunus Carrim replaced Dina Pule in President Jacob Zuma's cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday.He is committed to turning the portfolio around over the next few months.Picture:GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Newly appointed Communications Minister Yunus Carrim says while his new job comes with huge pressure, he is committed to making changes within the department.

Carrim replaced Dina Pule in President Jacob Zuma's cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday.

Pule is the focus of investigations by both the public protector and Parliament's ethics committee.

He says he and Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams will give the public a clearer idea on their agenda in the next two weeks.

Speaking to 567 CapeTalk/Talk Radio 702's John Robbie on Thursday morning, Carrim says he hopes to turn his portfolio around before next year's elections.

Carrim says while Parliament as a whole will become more distracted as the elections unfold, like in any democratic government, there are certainly things that can and will be done.

"The public can hold us to the achievement of certain deadlines which we will present over the next two weeks."

He says the public can also expect a new mood and energy from the department.

Carrim says they will also create a foundation for new five year term.

"Whoever comes in will have some foundation from which to work from."

He says with nine months or slightly more before the elections there is no magic wand that he can wave but what he can give is a commitment to working with the deputy minister and the department.

PROBLEMATIC PORTFOLIO

He admits his portfolio is problematic to a certain extent.

Carrim however says that as a member of the government executive, he takes a measure of collective responsibility for the portfolio's shortcomings.

He says the department needs to be united and far more developmentally and service delivery oriented.

"There are enough people and organisations with the necessary skills to move fast."

He says while he understands the public's concerns, the department is not as bad as it's made out to be.

Carrim does however acknowledge there is room for improvement.

"We certainly can and need to do much better. Given our economic growth developmental and job creation challenges and given the role of ICT in that regard."

The minister says while he hasn't yet mastered the technical side of things, he isn't at a disadvantage.

He says his role rather is to bring together their expertise and technical know-how to provide political and strategic oversight in addressing challenges.

"I am not sure you need a PHD in ICT to be a minister. Its about bringing together people who do technical work. I give my commitment to bring a range of experts and stakeholders together."

He says the department needs to ensure that tasks currently on agenda are addressed.

There including reducing communications costs, stabilising the SABC ,ensuring greater bandwidth and the swift rollout of broadband.

SABC STABILITY

Carrim says while there has to be some political relationship between the government and the state broadcaster, the relationship needs to be consistent with the norms and values of South Africa's democracy.

He says a major policy review is underway in theICT sector and several issue including government interference into the SABC are being dealt with by an independent panel of experts.

"There will have to be relationship government and the SABC but micro-managing and unduly interfering is unnecessary."

He however says broader oversight is necessary.

Carrim says he hopes the relationship will become far more mutually constructive.