The GNUS’s New Minister of Communications – Technology

Meet the New Communications Minister: Solly Malatsi 

South African politics has entered a new era with 12 cabinet posts coming from the opposition. Among these new arrivals is Solly Malatsi, a dynamic young Communications Minister who has his work cut out for him.

Malatsi will be tasked with working through a significant backlog in the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), which has seen more than 10 ministers since 1994.

Analysts in the tech industry believe Malatsi has the potential to bring some stability and efficiency to an ever-changing sector that has been struggling to balance politics with industry needs. Here are some of the top items on his agenda as he sets out to transform the country’s ICT sector.

Three main priorities for Malatsi’s first 100 days 

There’s an old saying that the first 100 days is the most crucial in politics. 

Malatsi will find himself facing a veritable mountain of tasks. The three biggest challenges for the minister of communications will be:

  1. Digital transformation. Finally making the change from analog to digital broadcasting as streaming and on demand entertainment become the norm.
  2. Fixing the SA post office. Despite billions of Rand in bailout, the SAPO is still far from functional and must be rescued or finally privatised.
  3. ICT policy. The past 20 years has seen a total transformation in the technology and communication field. Government policy will need to be brought up to speed to address the needs of our 21st century economy.

Malatsi has a strong background in policy and oversight, having served as a shadow minister and a member of Parliament since 2014.  The 38-year-old is also the DA’s Deputy Federal Chairperson. 

He will need to act decisively to bring about reform in his department, which may be doubly difficult because former Minister Mondli Gungubele will stay on as his deputy.

Will the tech sector benefit from a new approach to regulation? 

Ultimately, whatever happens to the Post Office and television broadcast system, Malatsi’s true legacy will be determined by the policy initiatives he spearheads to move the country in line with international best practices.

A young, intelligent minister with an ambitious plan could dramatically transform the tech and communications landscape in the country. We look forward to seeing Malatsi create a legacy for South Africa as a premier ICT hub as the country battles to overcome increasing cybersecurity threats. 

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