ICASA Amendment Bill: Adoption; Electronic Communications Bill: briefing

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Meeting report

SELECT COMMITTEE ON LABOUR AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES

SELECT COMMITTEE ON LABOUR AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES
16 November 2005
ICASA AMENDMENT BILL: ADOPTION; ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS BILL: BRIEFING

Chairperson:
Ms B Themba (ANC) [Limpopo]

Relevant documents
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Amendment Bill B32B-2005
Electronic Communications Bill [B9B-2005]
Select Committee Amendments to ICASA Amendment Bill

SUMMARY
Before adopting the ICASA Amendment Bill with the proposed amendments, the Committee was briefed by the State Law Advisor on the technical and consequential amendments she had noted while re-examining the Bill. The Committee’s amendments increased the number of councillors on the panel for appointment of ICASA councillors to seven, to accommodate two Members of Parliament, and required the Minister and not the National Assembly to ultimately appoint and remove ICASA councillors from office. The Committee postponed its consideration of the Electronic Communications Bill to Tuesday 29 November 2005, and invited all interested parties to forward their written submission to the Committee Clerk by the following day, 17 November 2005.

MINUTES
Introduction by Chairperson

The Chair informed Members that the Department of Communications would be reporting back to the Committee on the amendments that Members had proposed to the ICASA Amendment Bill during the previous day’s meeting.

Committee Amendments to ICASA Amendment Bill
Ms Mashile Matlala, Department of Communications Senior Manager: Telecommunications Policy, took the Committee through the document that contained the amendments it had proposed during the previous day’s meeting

Section 5
She indicated that the Committee’s amendment to this section dealt with the procedure for the appointment of councillors. The Committee proposed that the panel that would appoint councillors and remove them from office must be established by the Minister and not the National Assembly, as was currently reflected in the Bill. The Committee also proposed that the panel consist of seven members and not the current number of five, so that two must be Members of Parliament. These amendments have been effected. The proposed section 5(1C) would have to be deleted because the Minister herself would now be appointing the panel.

Mr D Mkono (ANC) [Eastern Cape] asked whether a timeframe should not be stipulated for the process in which the ICASA Chairperson or the councillors themselves would write a letter to appoint the acting Chairperson.

Ms Matlala responded that the Department of Communications overlooked the time period, and it would be considered with the State Law Advisor. However the present ICASA Act did not specify how the ICASA Chairperson must appoint the acting Chairperson.

Section 8
Ms Matlala stated that the amendments proposed by the Committee to section 5 impacted on the amendment effected to this section. The reference to the National Assembly in this section 8(2)(a) was now replaced with "the Minister", as was the case in the new section 5. Thus the new section 8(2)(a) would read "on recommendation by the Panel to the Minister" and not "by the Minister to the National Assembly" as was the current formulation, and the Minister would then approve the recommendation. The Minister could therefore suspend or remove a councillor only after receiving a recommendation from the panel. She stated that there was a typographical error in the proposed section 8(3) as 8(3)(b) was now being deleted and moved into 8(3)(a). The new section 8(3) would thus read "The Minister may suspend or remove a councillor from office at any time upon a recommendation of the Panel contemplated in section 6A(4)(b) for that purpose."

Section 9
Ms Matlala stated that the reference to the National Assembly in the section must be replaced with the Minister, to ensure consistency with the amendments proposed by the Committee to sections 5 and 8.

Ms A Johaar, Senior State Law Advisor, led the Committee through the other technical and consequential amendments that needed to be effected to the Bill, which was spotted last night while re-examining the Bill.

Clause 19
Section 17A
Ms Johaar stated that the Committee proposed the insertion of the word "or" after 17A(2)(a), but informed Members that it was standard legal drafting practice to only insert the conjunction at the end of the second last paragraph viz. after 17A(2)(b). She thus advised against the insertion of it after 17A(2)(a).

Section 17E
She stated that the Committee proposed the replacement of "licensed serviced" in 17E(2)(d)(i) with "licensed service", and the amendment was effected.

Section 17H
Ms Johaar stated that the reference to "paragraph (1)(b)" in 17H(4) was an incorrect reference because no such provision existed, and it must be replaced with "(3)(b)". Furthermore the proviso at the end of 17H(4) must be reworded because it did not reflect the intended meaning She proposed the insertion of "not" after "Provided that such declaration must".

Section 21
She stated that the reference to "section 17" must be replaced with "section 21", which was the correct reference.

The Chair noted that the Committee agreed to the amendments as outlined by Ms Johaar.

Motion of Desirability
The Chair read out the Motion of Desirability, to which all Members agreed.

Adoption of ICASA Amendment Bill
The Chair read the Committee Report on the Bill, to which all Members agreed. She noted that the Committee had passed the ICASA Amendment Bill, with amendments.

Electronic Communications Bill
The Chair reminded Members that the Committee had received a briefing on the Electronic Communications Bill (the EC Bill) on the previous day. The Committee would be meeting on Tuesday 29 November 2005 for the entire day. All interested parties could forward their written submission to the Committee Clerk by the following day, 17 November 2005. She thanked the Department of Communications and the State Law Advisors for their hard work.

The meeting was adjourned.

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