Mystery general takes over South African telecoms
11 May 2009
Guns and telecoms go hand in hand! Duh!
The choice of a military man with no telecoms background as South Africa's communications minister has baffled the industry and may complicate efforts to improve Internet and phone services in Africa's biggest economy.
Siphiwe Nyanda was sworn in as communications minister by newly elected President Jacob Zuma Monday.
A former South Africa National Defence Force chief with the rank of full general, Nyanda is little known outside the military and the ruling African National Congress.
But few in the industry have ever heard of him, raising questions about his ability to lower high communication costs, which are impeding growth and deterring foreign investment, and to oversee telecoms operator Telkom.
"I'm very surprised. It certainly wasn't what people within the industry were expecting," a Johannesburg-based telecoms industry source said. "It's interesting that they should appoint a rank outsider. It's a bit odd."
Nyanda was chief of staff of...
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