Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it hopes to see a strong person deployed to replace Hope Papo as the Chairperson of Parliament’s Communications Committee.

The chairmanship of the committee is still vacant after Papo was designated to the office of the Deputy President as the Parliamentary counsellor.

Papo was elected unopposed as committee chairperson on July 1st but only served in the position for 24 days. Cosatu Parliamentary Liaison Officer Matthew Parks says:

“For us we are quite concerned about the Portfolio on Communications. That is a very important matter, not just for the economy, the state but for workers because we have workers’ jobs that are on the line at the SABC. You know SABC has been going through a very difficult stage, bailouts, possible collapse, and possible retrenchment of workers. So, we were pleased when we had Hope Papo appointed as the committee chairperson, because he has got a good reputation, – hands on. So, I think we would really like to see a very strong person deployed there who is going to champion the saving and sustainability of the SABC and also to make sure that workers are not retrenched no matter what.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on Communications Phumzile van Damme says whoever will replace Papo should be impartial and understand the communications sector.

A new chairperson of the committee is expected to be elected in due course.

Van Damme elaborates:

“Each time there is a new Chairperson and each time they need to learn the laws and the policies it sometimes makes it difficult, because if you are working with a chair that knows and understand what’s going on, then you don’t need to go into long disagreements and get into the work. So, for example Humphrey Maxegwana knew the SABC and just generally the communications portfolio very well. And then came in prof (Hlengiwe) Mkhize who didn’t. I would like to see a chairperson who is committed to their jobs as a Member of Parliament, not as a member of a political party. We are here to hold government accountable. It should be someone who put South African first and not their political party first.”