Independent telecom service provider O-Tel has called upon communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda to consult extensively with the telecom industry and possibly even set up an advisory council of telecom experts as he performs his duties.
Among the challenges that Nyanda will face are promoting more competition in the industry and creating an environment of regulatory certainty at a time that the independent regulator, Icasa, is under fire.
"O-Tel believes that the new minister's lack of relevant experience makes it imperative that he surrounds himself with the correct people as he tries to make sense of this fast-moving and complicated industry," says Mohammad Patel, CEO of O-Tel.
Patel says the new minister should actively engage the industry and tap its experience and knowledge as he formulates his policies for this vital component of the South African economy.
He should even consider appointing an advisory council of independent and industry telecoms experts to provide him with input and insight into local and international telecom trends, he adds. Such a council could take a similar shape to the Presidential ICT advisory council that has helped to guide efforts to establish South Africa as an advanced information-based society.
"Many CEOs, ministers and other leaders that have taken jobs in sectors they are not familiar with have performed well when they have surrounded themselves with the right advisors," said Patel. "We hope that the new communications minister will follow their example."