Tag Archive | Electronic Communications Amendment Bill

Communication Bills tabled in Parliament

Cleaning up on communications….

Following their cabinet approval two communication Bills have now been tabled in Parliament; firstly, the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill and secondly, the Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Amendment Bill.

The first named, Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, is very much a regulatory Bill, the background stating that the proposed legislation was “in line with the liberalisation process of the electronic communications sector and rapid technological advancements which have rendered some of the Act’s provisions redundant.”

Needed overhaul

It says, “Because it was the first such law, over time it has become obvious that certain provisions are not capable of implementation in the way that was intended or do not have the intended effect when applied. There are also areas of ambiguity and vagueness which hamper efficient and effective regulation.”

The Bill deals with competition, promotion and limitation; access to electronic communications infrastructure; communication costs; as well as “improving turnaround time for consultative processes”. It also proposes “to incorporate the authority’s recommendation on ownership and control of commercial broadcasting services.”

The document says the Bill is aligned with broad-based black economic empowerment legislation; refines licensing issues and wishes to improve competition provisions and remove regulatory bottlenecks.

ICASA Bill follows NDP

The second Bill, the ICASA Amendment Bill, is focused, it says, on the National Development Plan; clarifies some of the powers and duties of ICASA; lines up with the Public Finance Management Act and focuses on institutional improvements to strengthen the financial and administrative independence of the authority.

Importantly, the legality of networks and services for electronic transactions is confirmed. Also, “mechanisms”, the background to the Bill says, are proposed to ensure accountability of ICASA staff and its councillors.

Finally, a full commission is proposed to handle complaints as distinct from the current ICASA complaints committee.

Posted in Communications, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Minister Pule lines up communications bills for the future

During media briefings in late January, communications minister Dina Pule said that the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill would be released for public comment during the first quarter of 2012 and March 2013 was the deadline for the changes that will overhaul much of the communications environment in South Africa

The draft was published in November 2011 for comment and withdrawn shortly afterwards and in the light of what was said, not only by the public sector but by opposition parliamentarians. The minister commented at the time that further consultation would take place within government.

The issues evolve around the role, powers and functions of the minister herself and her relationship with and the powers of ICASA, the independent regulatory body. Much discussion involves a very limited frequency spectrum and the exact wording regarding licences, the issuing thereof and conditions of revoking.

The most recent comment comes from the minister herself, who added in response to the Budget debate that further amendments would be subject to the national development plan. Much argument originally took place over how to differentiate between the functions of the ICASA council and the chief operations officer of the body itself.

The minister also finds herself deeply involved in banking regulatory matters due their infant, the Post Office, entering the banking world despite recent scandals regarding misappropriation of funds.   Legislation is expected shortly amending the anchor Post Office Bank Limited Act which came into effect in 2010 allowing this process.

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Communications, Public utilities, Trade & Industry, Uncategorized0 Comments


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