Communications Dept gets 14th minister in 27 years as Ndabeni-Abrahams exits

Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is perceived by some as having failed to rise to the challenge of shaking the country's communications and digital technology space out of years of paralysis.

FiILE: Former Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at a media briefing on the coronavirus on 25 March 2020 in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa got its 14th communications minister in 27 years.

Thursday night's Cabinet shakeup saw Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams moved out of the role in favour of Khumbudzo Ntshaveni.

The portfolio has been a bit of a hot potato, with a full agenda, that's crucial to the nation's digital growth including the opening up of the spectrum. Ndabeni-Abrahams held onto the role for two-and-a-half years and has now been moved to oversee the Small Business Development ministry.

Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams is perceived by some as having failed to rise to the challenge of shaking the country's communications and digital technology space out of years of paralysis.

The failure to launch the auction of the new broadband spectrum, which was expected to generate about R8 billion will forever mar her legacy in the department.

However, President Cyril Ramaphosa has now entrusted her with the leadership of one of the most critical positions in the economic cluster. Small business is at the heart of Ramaphosa’s economic revival plans, and the Small Business Development Department is expected to propel SMEs to their full potential, increasing their job generation capacity.

Ndabeni-Abrahams replaces Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, who was often criticised for not understanding the base of the sector. She starts her job as the department plans to roll out much-needed financial aid to businesses, after the looting and violence of last month, and she'll have assistance in the form of a new deputy minister, former Cosatu president, Sdumo Dlamini.

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