Newly appointed Communications and Telecommunications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has a gigantic task ahead of her straightening out crippling issues that have affected not one but two portfolios in the last few years..
Head of State Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday announced that the Communications and Telecommunications and Postal Services ministries would be integrated into one ministry and led by Ndabeni-Abrahams. She’s served as the deputy Communications Minister for nearly six years between 2011 and 2017.
The newly appointed Communications and Telecommunications minister has been described by the African National Congress (ANC) as a dependable young activist and someone who has experience in communications.
South Africa has been criticised for being behind in terms of digital technology and digital terrestrial television and Ndabeni-Abrahams will possibly be the minister to take the process forward. She took up the post of deputy minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services in 2017 after the Communications portfolio was split.
Media Monitoring’s William Bird says this merger is necessary, however it may not be easy.
The departments will stay separate until after elections in 2019.
Ndabeni-Abrahams, 40 years old also becomes one of the younger ministers in Ramaphosa’s Cabinet. Her appointment to an enlarged portfolio is largely seen as an opportunity to try and appease the younger generation within the party amidst accusations that they are being purged or side-lined.
The resignation of Malusi Gigaba earlier this month again sparked the generational mix debate, with some hatching a fightback plan. They argued that the younger party members were not being considered for key appointments.
Ndabeni-Abrahams has risen within the party ranks, serving as the NEC member of the ANC Youth League during Fikile Mbalula’s tenure and recently she was also the spokesperson of the ANC in the Eastern Cape.
Ndabeni was a loyal supporter of Ramaphosa’s presidential bid in the run-up to the party’s 54th elective conference. During his announcement, Ramaphosa noted that changes to the Cabinet were guided by gender and the need for a generational mix, he also indicated that he considered the political implications within the ANC.