Convergence Bill: hearings

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Communications

09 August 2005
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

COMMUNICATIONS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 August 2005


CONVERGENCE BILL: HEARINGS

Chairperson: Mr M Lekgoro (ANC)

Documents handed out

South African 2004 ICT Sector Performance Review
LINK PowerPoint presentation
Storm Presentation
T-Systems PowerPoint presentation
Wireless Business Solutions Submission
Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association submission
Convergence Bill [B9-2005]

SUMMARY
The Learning Information Networking and Knowledge (LINK) Centre gave the Committee an overview of the Convergence Bill, and why it was needed. Particular note was taken of the de facto monopoly of fixed telecommunications, and the continued racial skewing in provisioning. In contrast, the mobile sector was a major contributor to universal access, although showing the characteristics of a duopoly, with very high prices. The high cost of Internet services was directly linked to Telkom’s dominance of the market, and the fact that competitors had to lease facilities from them. It was noted that the lack of competition throughout the sector, including in broadcasting, compromised the environment. It was essential that a strong, independent and well-resourced regulator be established.

Representatives of two VANS licensed companies, Storm and T-Systems South Africa, addressed the Committee on the problematic aspects of the Convergence Bill. Both noted the lack of competition and the high cost of doing business when dependent on Telkom to provide services. T-Systems presented proposals for VANS to have the right to self provide, and both companies stressed the need for interconnection. Access was highlighted as an issue that was not addressed by the Bill.

The Committee was concerned at the need for local loop unbundling, and its implications in view of the part privatisation of Telkom. It was also noted that Telkom was doing an outstanding job within its structure. It was stressed that the sector was not yet ready for competition regulation as long as there was inadequate competition. Once again, the need for a strong regulator was emphasised. It was noted that Telkom’s sole right of access to landing stations would expire in 2007, and strong proposals were made for these to be declared critical services.

In the afternoon session, Wireless Business Solutions (WBS) outlined their comments on the Bill and highlighted concerns with certain definitions, the role of the Competition Commission, the need for no disruption of services in the transitional provisions, and the licence conversion provisions.

The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) then highlighted the need for a strong policy framework; the need for clarity on the licensing categories and the definition of ‘content’, and WASPA’s ability to provide broadcasting services.

During the discussion, clarity was sought on the length of time needed for the transitional provisions in Clause 84 and the Department’s failure to expressly clarify the uni-directional, point-to-point and on demand concepts in the Bill. WASPA corrected a misconception that its members were trying to escape the definition of ‘broadcasting’, whereas its members sought clarity on whether their services constituted broadcasting. WBS explained how wireless, as it became a more accepted and widely used technology, would result in the unbundling of the local loop becoming less of an issue. Clarity was also sought on the strategies for mobile operators to restrict access to adult content by minor users, and WASPA explained the measures it had put in place to prevent this.

MINUTES
The Chairperson expressed the Committee’s condolences to the families of those persons killed in the accident involving a Committee minibus on Sunday 31 August 2005. This was echoed by the Democratic Alliance. Several Committee staff and Members had also been injured in the collision but all had now been released from hospital.

Learning Information Networking and Knowledge Centre submission
Professor A Gillwald, LINK Research Director, explained that the Centre had been established in response to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy and regulatory training and research vacuum, as an independent and multi-disciplinary centre, offering professional development training through to post graduate courses. The research conducted was geared at satisfying the growing demand for information and analysis needed for appropriate policy formulation and effective regulation. The Centre was part of a 14 country African research network, and all research was done in the public domain.

The Convergence Bill was necessary because the first two rounds of policy reform had only partially achieved their objectives of affordable access and modernisation and extension of networks. There had been strong growth over the past decade, and a 6% contribution had been made to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004, but there was still a lower fixed line teledensity than in other middle-income countries, and evidence of high costs inhibiting the growth of the sector and the economy.

In respect of fixed telecom, there had been little progress on affordable universal service, with evidence of anti-competitive behaviour by the incumbent operator. The high input cost-to-cost of business was a disincentive to investment, and there was a de facto monopoly with the delay in the appointment of the second network operator (SNO). Fixed telecom access was still very racially skewed, and affordability was clearly an issue.

Intervention was needed for a number of reasons. Although the mobile sector was an enormous success story, this was an unintended policy outcome. The market was relatively unregulated and very successful, but prices were much higher than the international benchmarks of comparable best practice. There was also evidence of a duopoly in price setting, although this was difficult to prove. In addition, under serviced area licenses (USALs) operated in an unenabling regulatory environment with no innovation around ownership, technology and access. Mobile telephony tariffs alone were just cause for investigation.

Telkom’s dominance of the value-added network service (VANS) segment of the market, and the requirement that competitors were to acquire facilities from Telkom had a chilling effect. Although the Ministerial directives issued had provided some relief, this had been clawed back, probably because of a policy conflict related to the timing of the directives. In respect of the Internet, 80% of Internet Service Provider (ISP) costs were paid directly to Telkom, and Internet penetration had plateaued early because of the high cost of telecommunications services. This had affected e-commerce and VANS, and was very important for convergence as it affected all telecommunications transactions. The monopoly on the fixed line service had meant that the introduction of broadband had been very slow, and South Africa had been, in fact, three years behind other countries.

In terms of broadcasting, the outcomes were possibly more successful as the regulator had had a degree of autonomy. There were still some critical challenges, however, particularly around digital broadcasting technology. The lack of competition and anti-competitive practices required some mechanism in law. The regulator was under-resourced and under-skilled, as well as structurally compromised by law, but even experienced regulators were unable to deal with the inherent asymmetries of information, particularly in the case of a vertically integrated monopoly. It was further a conflict of interest for the Minister as a major shareholder of the incumbent to be both a policymaker for the sector and a licensor of competitors.

While the Bill addressed some of these issues, the main fault lines remained, such as an absence of policy, and lack of attention to the de facto monopolies at either end of the system. The critical regulatory framework was absent, and the Bill was essentially a futile exercise without the accompanying Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Act. This Bill was essentially a Communications Bill, of which convergence was one aspect, and broadcasting matters should be effectively integrated into this Communications Bill.

Specifics of the Bill requiring attention included a licensing framework, process requirements, and the need for interconnection at service and network level. Since South Africa was not in a fully liberalised environment, anti-competitive behaviour required sectoral knowledge and experience that would seldom be found in a general competition agency. The consumer code of practice needed to be strengthened by penalty clauses for infringing the code of practice. Without highly skilled, realistically resourced, politically and commercially unfettered, transparent and publicly accountable regulation, the objectives of the Bill would not be met.

Storm submission
Mr D Gale, Business Development Director, emphasised that the Storm mission statement stated that cost effective voice and data telecommunication solutions should be available to every South African business. Storm was a VAN, and had dropped its prices each year. Telecoms drove growth, which drove prosperity, and more competition was urgently needed. The Convergence Bill had a good foundation, and a horizontal structure was definitely the way to go. The problem was that there appeared to be no clear intention for different regulatory approaches for different layers. The higher level required the lowest level of regulation.

There was a concern that it was easy for Telkom to hide the real cost of its services. It was good to see ICASA taking action in terms of ADSL pricing, but it was questioned whether this piecemeal approach could be maintained. It was essential that provision be made for interconnection of smaller and bigger players, and timelines would have to be set, as experience had shown that Telkom tended to delay. Numbering resources needed to be available to all players who could make effective use of them. There was particularly concern that the licensing process would be slow, as timing was critical. Unless a class licence system was developed, ICASA would drown in its own paperwork.

The lines between governing and policymaking were in danger of becoming blurred. A clear enabling policy and the political will to create and support a strong, capable independent regulator would result in good competition, efficient telecoms, a growing economy and lower prices. Storm did not advocate self-provisioning by VANS, and it was emphasised that the only hope for increasing competition was to increase competition at the service provider level, with wholesale pricing and interconnection being key to the process.

T-Systems submission
Ms M van der Walt-Korsten (Deputy CEO) emphasised the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) credentials of the company, and its determination to make telecommunications available to all South Africans. T-Systems South Africa conducted business with a VANS licence, and its services included networking, hosting and conveying voice / data.

Mr L Keyise (Acting General Manager, Telecommunication Services) confirmed T-Systems’ support for government’s convergence initiative, and the consequent competition in the sector, quoting President Mbeki’s 1998 address on the telecommunications sector. A detailed breakdown of the context of the Convergence Bill had been given in the T-Systems written submission. It was further felt that certain areas of the Convergence Bill could inhibit the attainment of the many benefits associated with convergence, particularly the areas of definitions, licensing and its administrative implications, the right to self provide, facilities leasing, interconnection and access.

Ms J MacKenzie (Regulatory Specialist and Advisor, Cliffe Dekker Inc.) detailed problematic definitions as proposed in the Bill, stressing the importance of definitions in the reading of an Act and consideration of its application. A number of the proposed definitions contained circular references, creating uncertainty, and there was a further unintended consequence that content was now subject to licensing, thus possibly contravening Section 16 of the Constitution. It was proposed that the definitions of content and content services be removed, and all of the definitions be substantially revised.

The Bill further provided for the licensing of two distinct categories, individual licenses, comprising infrastructure and services and class licenses, for services only. The licensing of applications, however, amounted to the licensing of a specific service, thus undermining the objective that services should be technically neutral. Many of the issues raised would result in administrative burdens for ICASA. It was further recommended that Private Telecommunications Networks (PTNs) should be dealt with in the Bill.

Dr A Hutchison (Business Manager, Telecommunication Services) raised the issue of uncertainty as to whether VANS would be licensed to provide communications network services and to use the radio frequency spectrum. If VANS were precluded from being granted a communications network service license or a radio frequency spectrum licence, they would be the only licensees entirely dependent on other licensees for access to infrastructure and the use of the radio frequency spectrum. This would hinder the attainment of public interest objectives.

There was a further blurring of roles and allocations as Mobile Cellular Telecommunications Services (MCTS) licensees were increasingly providing data services in conjunction with voice services, and this was indicative of the way in which these dominant players were able to enter new markets by bundling or tying existing services. It was proposed that VANS licensees be accorded the same rights as other licensees, and be allowed to access and use the radio frequency spectrum. In addition, VANS should be authorised to provide their own facilities where other licensees were unwilling or unable to provide them with the same competitive rates, or where the market dictates were such that it was necessary for them to self-provide. This was currently a provision of the Telecommunications Act. Licensees with Significant Market Power (SMPs) should also be subject to providing mandatory access to interconnect services, access services and facilities leasing services at Long Run Incremental Cost (LRIC).

In respect of facilities leasing, the Bill proposed that ICASA publish a list of communication facilities to be leased by communications network service licensees, that there be an obligation to lease facilities, and the filing of all facilities leasing agreements with ICASA. It was submitted that the right to lease facilities should not be limited to a list published for this purpose, and this was particularly arduous for VANS licensees who would be entirely dependent on communications network service licensees for provision of facilities. It was proposed that a request for facilities should only be refused on the grounds of technical infeasibility, not financial infeasibility. VANS should also be able to self provide when the PSTS was unwilling or unable to provide. ICASA should further be authorised to make regulations regarding the obligations of SMP licensees and conditions applicable to facilities leasing arrangements.

Mr J Makgakge (Local Access Manager, Telecommunication Services) noted that the Bill provided that the obligation to interconnect applied only to communications network service licensees. Interconnection was the physical or logical linking of the communications networks of two communications network service licensees. The exclusion of communications service licensees from the interconnection framework meant that such licensees would be precluded from obtaining interconnection or access services from communications network service licensees. There was also no international precedent for excluding communications service licensees from participating in interconnection arrangements under a converged communications sector. It was proposed that communications service licensees be brought within the ambit of Chapter 7 of the Bill, and a pricing model be devised to remove barriers, with fair recourse where there was deliberate and prolonged negotiation and provisioning of interconnect service.

The Bill was further silent on access obligations to be imposed on communications network service licensees, and this affected infrastructure providers. The regulation of access was equally important to that of interconnection, and should be dealt with in the Bill. It was proposed that the local loop be unbundled, and the service and access platforms be separated. The difficulties described had to be addressed to provide for a truly competitive environment.

Discussion
The Chairperson asked what progress had been made on the ICASA Amendment Act. Mr J Mjwara (Deputy Director General: Multi-Media: Department of Communications) replied that the legislation was with the Chief State Law Advisor’s Office, as part of the normal certification process, before it could be presented to the National Assembly.

Mr R Pieterse (ANC) suggested that the ICASA Act should be strengthened, rather than having the Convergence Bill detail the ICASA mandate.

Mr Gale replied that this would not be a problem, but that he was concerned that the Convergence Bill threatened ICASA’s independence.

Mr Pieterse asked whether Telkom was breaking any rules or simply performing well within the rules governing its operation, given that it was a monopoly. Surely this was the concern to be addressed?

Professor Gillwald replied that she had examined the market structure to explain that Telkom was responding to an anti-competitive environment, and that they were in fact doing an excellent job.

Mr Gale concurred, and suggested that Telkom was breaking the rules in terms of its bundled service offers.

Mr Pieterse suggested that all complaints be referred to ICASA for further consideration, rather than to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission or the Competition Commission, as each body had specific strengths.

Ms M Smuts (DA) concurred with the need for an ex-ante regulator in the sector, and asked what Professor Gillwald would recommend to avoid forum hopping.

Professor Gillwald replied that, as long as there was a lack of competition, the sector would not be ready for competition regulation. There was now reasonable optimism that an ICASA ruling would withstand legal scrutiny. She would welcome clarity on making ICASA the first stop in terms of technical issues, but the body would have to be resourced. The asymmetries between operators and agencies made this difficult as well.

Ms Smuts noted that the government had indicated that it wanted to expand e-services and e-commerce, but the key to this was a broadband policy that was not yet in place. Was there any crystallisation of this policy, and why were local loops not being unbundled?

Professor Gillwald replied that this had been done in other parts of the world with varying success, and unbundling could be successful with an effective regulatory regime.

Mr Mjwara replied that the Department had indicated that the local loops were in its sights, but did not agree that this should be in the Convergence Bill. The Convergence Bill was a framework for how the market would be evolving. The local loop needed immediate intervention, and it was hoped that the Minister would make a statement on this in due course.

Ms S Vos (IFP) asked the implications of unbundling, given the part privatisation of Telkom, and asked for examples from elsewhere in the world.

Professor Gillwald replied that the most contentious unbundling of the local loop had been in the United Kingdom, with the unbundling of the British Telecom (BT) local loop. There was also a common carrier element of the local network, and BT had eventually welcomed the extra business. It was essential to achieve a fine balance so that investment was not undermined. Unbundling did not have to be punitive, but needed an effective regulator.

Ms Smuts suggested that the VANS should be given full rights to self-provide, particularly if the SNO was not on track.

Professor Gillwald concurred in essence, but noted that Section 44(7) of the Act had never been effectively used, so something different was required.

Ms Smuts referred to international leased circuits and pointed out that the Convergence Bill provided for the setting of wholesale facilities. Under the old Act, the regulator could make regulations in terms of international agreements, but this was not in the Convergence Bill. What was the intention with international leased circuits, and was it correct that Telkom’s sole right of access to landing stations would expire in 2007? What were the implications of this?

Professor Gillwald felt that the regulator could declare international leased circuits to be an essential facility, and this was therefore a critical policy point, and natural monopolistic elements had to be considered. Perhaps the issue should be addressed further up the network?

Mr Mjwara concurred, and confirmed that the Telkom rights would end in 2007. It might be feasible to declare the landing points to be essential services. Another cable was being laid to the east of the country, and the intention was to have South Africa fully surrounded. There would have to be serious discussions before the issue was finalised.

Mr Gale welcomed the news of the expiry of the Telkom rights, and noted that he had been told that the agreement was not a public document.

Ms Smuts concurred that allowing the Minister co-jurisdiction with the regulator was a conflict of interests.

Mr V Gore (ID) noted that a problem would be created if there was no competition in the core network, and asked how this could be overcome. The Convergence Bill proposed the recognition of critical services, but competition was needed.

Mr Gale suggested that the window of opportunity had passed, and mentioned the capacity of entities such as Eskom and Transtel.

Mr Gore asked how access to the rural areas could be encouraged, particularly in terms of infrastructure rollout.

Mr Gale replied that his company focused on business within urban areas. The issue could be addressed if rural players developed partnerships with local entities, and used technology wisely.

Professor Gillwald suggested that the opportunity had been lost with the USAL licenses. A more enabling regulatory environment was required.

Mr Gore asked about the ability of the legislation to allow the country as a whole to "leapfrog" in terms of technologies.

Professor Gillwald replied that, although the Committee had been discussing self-provisioning by VANS, there was also an international trend to self-provisioning in communities. There was a need to ensure that legislation would allow this, using WIFI.

Ms Smuts asked if this would be classified as a class license. Professor Gillwald replied that this would be exempt from licensing.

The Chairperson asked the opinion of the Department on the issues of interconnect and self-provisioning, and the issue of access obligations to individual licensees.

Mr Mjwara replied that it had been agreed to move from the current class of environment, and there would be nothing like the VANS in the converged environment. VANS licensees would be allowed to apply for anything, so the issue did not arise. In terms of access obligations, the Bill provided that ICASA would deal with such matters through the licensing process.

Mr Gale asked for clarity. Mr Makgakge asked why there was a difficulty with obliging interconnection.

Ms M Matlala (Senior Manager: Telecommunications Policy, Department of Communications) replied that the Bill gave guidelines to the regulatory framework to be developed by ICASA. Obligations could be created through regulation.

Mr Makgakge noted that the current definition excluded others, and that this would be problematic. Mr Mjwara replied that the Bill provided for the declaration of SMPs for all market segments, but agreed to revisit the issue.

Ms MacKenzie accepted that the Bill was a framework, but noted that ICASA would not be able to go beyond it, so it was important that the framework was set correctly.

Ms Smuts noted that the Committee had accepted a nomination for a vacancy in ICASA, although proposed by ICASA staff. These staff members had later been suspended, and she asked the opinion of the Committee on the issue, as the staff members concerned were now up for gross misconduct hearings, from a previous charge of using equipment for their own use.

Ms Vos concurred, and suggested that the Committee become involved as it had considered the candidate.

Mr Pieterse pointed out that ICASA was also an employer, and the Committee should not necessarily be involved in the employer / employee relationship. ICASA should be allowed to pursue the matter as an employer.

Mr M Mohlalonga (ANC) noted that the staff members had not laid an official complaint with the Committee, and that Committee involvement in the issue would be setting the wrong precedent. Parliament was neither a CCMA nor a trade union.

Mr Gore suggested that the Committee was involved as the appointing body, and that Members should not be silent where there was a perception of intimidation.

The Chairperson noted that what had happened was not a result of the short listing of the candidate, but involved people using the internal systems of an organisation to communication with the external environment. ICASA should be allowed to continue with its internal processes, and the affected parties would, in any case, have recourse to law.

Wireless Business Solutions submission
After the lunchbreak, Mr Mark Headbush, Executive Chairman, outlined WBS’s comments on the Preamble of the Bill and the background to WBS.

Mr Mbulelo Ncetezo, Head: Legal and Regulatory Affairs, outlined the comments on the definitions in the Bill, the co-ordination of frequencies in Clause 33, Clause 42(8), the role of the Competition Commission in Clause 63, the need for a comprehensive business plan in Clause 83, the need for no disruption of services in the transitional provisions in Clause 84, and the licence conversion provisions in Clause 85.

Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association submission
Mr Leon Perlman, from Michalsons Attorneys representing WASPA, provided background information to WASPA and its functions, the billing system and access to GSM networks via short codes, the governance of WASPS and the Code of Conduct.

Mr Michael Silberman from Michalsons Attorneys stated that WASPA supported the central purpose of the Bill, but highlighted the need for a strong policy framework, comments on the licensing framework in the Bill and the licensing categories, the current confusion of licensing methodologies, the extent to which the Bill would ensure Black Economic Empowerment in the sector, the need for clarity on the definition of ‘content’, the facilities leasing provisions, and WASPA’s ability to provide broadcasting services.

Discussion
Ms S Vos (IFP) asked WBS to indicate the length of time it deemed reasonable for the transitional provisions in Clause 84.

Mr Ncetezo responded that he was not indicating a period he thought was reasonable, but was instead suggesting that one year would really be too short. Experience had shown that since the inception of the Telecommunications Act nine years ago, the WBS licence was never in alignment with that Act. WBS was of the view that the capacity of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) must be strengthened and boosted so that it could meet this task. It was hoped that these shortcomings within ICASA would be addressed via the ICASA Bill.

The Chairperson sought clarity on who would determine the time period. Mr Ncetezo replied that if government decided not to delegate this responsibility to ICASA then it must facilitate that itself. Perhaps ICASA would be able to indicate, after the processing of the ICASA Bill, whether it had the necessary capacity to perform this function.

Ms Vos asked the Department to explain why it did not decide to clarify the uni-directional, point-to-point and on demand issues, as it appeared to be becoming more and more of an issue given the increasing sophistication of services.

Mr J Mjwara, Department Deputy Director-General (DD-G), responded that the discussion should be focused on what WASPS would be providing in future, which was broadcasting. It was not possible to claim that they were providing services similar to broadcasting but because they were using cellular phones for reception they should be excluded from the definition of ‘broadcasting’. The very essence of convergence was that activities that in the past used to be classified as broadcasting might now be performed by others using other technologies, as the aim was to be technologically neutral. The definition in the Bill was very technology-neutral and reflected a converged definition of what broadcasting would be.

He explained that uni-directional implied it was not a two-way or interactive communication, but was a broadcast from one centre to a multiplicity of receivers. By ‘on demand’ it was meant that there would be a dial-up to receive the content, and this would exclude the provider from the definition of ‘broadcasting’ in the Bill. Point to point referred to communications that took place on a one-to-one basis, as opposed to a broadcasting system that communicated from one point to multiple points. He stated that it was a challenge to find out how far the technology would allow broadcasting services to be provided using non-traditional methods, or whether cellular networks could be utilised as broadcasters. Thus the essence of convergence was in moving away from technology-specific ways of determining markets into technology-neutral ways of determining markets.

Mr Silberman replied that he did not believe that WASPA’s members were trying to escape the definition of ‘broadcasting’. Instead they sought clarity as to whether the services they were providing constituted broadcasting, because there was uncertainty. For example, the accessing of an IP address to access a camera on the N1 to look at traffic appeared to constitute point-to-point protocol, but South African law currently lacked a definition for point-to-point. This needed to be reconsidered.

Mr Mjware responded that the terms were adequately defined in the Telecommunications Act, but it could be reconsidered to accommodate new developments.

Mr V Gore (ID) asked WBS to comment on his view that as wireless became a more accepted and widely used technology, that the unbundling of the local loop would become less of an issue.

Mr Ncetezo replied that he believed the local loop was on its way out, but did not think it would disappear anytime soon simply because much money had been invested in it. The introduction of ADSL had given the local loop a second lease on life, and it was uncertain which technology would be introduced that would ensure the future viability of the local loop. The current problem experienced with the monopoly of ADSL services would be eradicated in time, as many more ADSL service providers would be introduced. Increased competition would result in a reduction of ADSL prices.

He stated that the cable was very stable and, although the interface was tricky at times, work was still being done on it. The standards had to work on that interface and all efforts were being made to ensure that it was reliable as a cable. The aim was for the last loop to be wireless, once all these issues had been ironed out.

Mr Gore asked WBS to indicate how the 802.11 standards would be incorporated into the legislation, and the potential pitfalls that operators in that arena might face in future.

Mr Ncetezo responded that he was not an expert on standards, but was aware that iBurst employed the 802.11 standard. A conference was planned for the end of this year for all iBurst operators in South Africa, and this was one of the issues that would be discussed.

Mr R Mohlalonga (ANC) asked how the mobile operators would restrict access to adult content by minor users.

Mr Perlman replied that the wireless application protocol (WAP) facility on mobile phones had an age verification system that was designed to exclude minors from accessing such adult content. SMSs had a double end facility that required the person to verify that he was in fact 18 and older, and lying would thus constitute perjury. This was not an ideal solution, but was a stop-gap measure in the absence of a better solution. A mobile operator subscriber could also request that a certain designated number be blocked from accessing certain WAP facilities.

Mr Silberman added that the submission did not deal with this matter specifically because the submission focused on the Bill itself. He proposed that this matter could be dealt with when the Department reviewed the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act because, despite a very good set of documentation from the Department regarding the recognition of industry representative bodies, there was as yet no official recognition of such bodies. As WASPA’s members were providing that service using technology, it certainly fell within the purview of this Committee. However, it also fell within the purview of the Films and Publications Board (FPB) and the Department of Home Affairs and its legislation to put proper guidelines in place because they were the entities that set age limits on content.

He stated that WASPA was very concerned that its members were providing adult content without first having submitted it to the FPB. It was very difficult for WASPA to approach the FPB for such authorisation without any formal Chapter 11 recognition. Thus most of the discussions to date had been relatively informal. Co-operation was needed and WASPA members needed to provide the adult content responsibly, in accordance with the law and in such a way that minors were not able to gain access.

The measures WASPA had put in place were firstly to reduce demand by putting in place certain advertising guidelines, which required in particular that print advertising for adult content be restricted to publications governed by the Films and Publications Act. Thus if the WASPA advertising guidelines were adopted, a member would not be able to advertise adult content and access to adult content in a newspaper. If advertised in a magazine sold from an adult premises in a sealed cover, hopefully the proprietor would check that it was not sold to minors. The advertising of adult content on television was a matter that must be addressed in conjunction with the broadcasters, and this must then be an inclusive process.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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