Electronic Communications Bill: response to submissions

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Meeting report

LABOR AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES SELECT COMMITTEE

LABOUR AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES SELECT COMMITTEE
30 November 2005
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS BILL: RESPONSE TO SUBMISSIONS

Chairperson
: Ms M Themba (ANC Mpumalanga)

Documents handed out:
Electronic Communications Bill [B9B-2005]
ICASA submission
MTN submission
MTN PowerPoint presentation
Vodacom submission
Vodacom PowerPoint presentation
World Space, Inc submission
World Space, Inc PowerPoint presentation
Internet Solutions submission

SUMMARY
The Committee met for an hour before the official meeting starting time in order to discuss with the State Law Adviser and the Department the written submissions made by World Space, MTN, Vodacom and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
In the public meeting, they responded to the suggested changes made in the submissions. None of the proposals in the submissions was accepted and the Committee voted on the Bill and passed it without amendment.

MINUTES
Response to ICASA submission
Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC Western Cape) articulated the Committee’s rejection of proposals made by the Authority. She stated that the Bill defined the term "licence" in terms of provision of services stipulated in Chapter Three of the Bill. The Radio Frequency Spectrum licence was not a licence to provide a service, but merely a licence to enable provision of that service.

Section 31(2) stipulated that a radio frequency spectrum licence was required in addition to any service licence envisaged in Chapter Four. Wherever the word "licensee" appeared in the Bill, it would be clear from the context to which licensee it referred.

Amendments to Section 56 regarding the electronic communications network services licensee’s provision of broadcasting signal distribution was part of the managed liberalisation process contemplated in the section. New broadcasting services licensees might make use of the existing electronic communications network services licensees for broadcasting signals. The Bill did not restrict this activity.

Response to Vodacom’s proposed amendments to Bill
Mr M Sibiya (ANC Limpopo Province) relayed the Committee's rejection of Vodacom’s submission. He said that the Committee denied the proposed wording of Section 10(2) that would replace "after consultation" with the phrase "in consultation".

The Committee would also not change the wording of Section 93 of the Bill since it logically followed that there was a link between rights and obligations. The intention of the provisions was not to "grab additional rights" during the transitional period.

Response to World Space’s Proposed Amendments to Bill
Mr D Gamede (ANC KwaZulu Natal) said that Committee had refused the company’s proposed amendments to Section 92(5) of the Bill. He explained that these proposed amendments would convert "permission" into a "licence". This would grant the company more rights than it currently had.

Response to MTN’s proposed Changes to Bill
Mr D Mkono (ANC Eastern Cape) communicated the Committee’s rejection of MTN’s proposed changes to the Bill. He said that the company’s concerns were all technical in nature. They thus required more debate and consideration. All affected parties would need to air their interests before amendments could be made. The current wording of the Bill represented policy decisions taken at the appropriate levels, and are thus considered to be important. Therefore the proposed changes were rejected.

The Chairperson added that no further amendments were necessary and the current wording of the Bill was sufficient. She said that no critical issues had been raised that would justify amendments to the Bill.

Voting on the Bill
The Committee passed a motion of desirability. This motion was moved by Ms Ntwanambi and Mr Gamede. This was followed by voting on the Bill clause by clause. The Chairperson signed the Bill thus declaring their agreement with its content.

The meeting was adjourned.

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