Broadcasting Bill: discussion

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Communications and Digital Technologies

21 September 1998
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

21 September 1998

Documents handed out
Proposed amendments to Broadcasting Bill (Appendix)

The committee went through the document on proposed amendments flagging those that needed further discussion.

Several new definitions have been proposed including "broadcasting", "broadcasting signal distribution" and "community broadcasting service".

The definition of community broadcasting service states "which meets the needs of the community which amongst others include youth, culture, women, language and religion". Opposition parties felt that it should rather read "which meets the needs of a community" so that both versions of community are clearly portrayed. Advocate Masemola, state law advisor, was consulted about whether this definition covers a community of interest as well as geographical community broadcasting service. She believed the definition was broad enough but suggested using it as an interim guideline and returning to it later after looking at the substance of the Bill.

Opposition parties had problems with the use of the word "control broadcasting" in Clause 2 (Object of Act). Parties were asked to come up with formulations for this clause.

Amendments to Clause 4, 8, 10, 12, 16, 27, 29, 37 were also flagged for further discussion.

With regard to Clause 16, it was clarified that the shareholder of the Corporation is the State and the minister is its representative but that parliament has the ultimate authority in financial matters. The State would be responsible for liabilities. Ms Vos (IFP) requested that a legal opinion be sought regarding this clause in relation to s4 on liabilities in the Companies Act.

Clause 29 brought fresh debate on the concept of community broadcasting. This was in response to the proposed amendment that includes free-to-air satellite broadcasting service and free-to-air satellite television service licences within community broadcasting services.

Mr Kekana (ANC) argued that the White Paper/RDP interpretation of community (geographical community) made the need for a satellite option unnecessary. Ms Smuts (DP), Dr P Mulder (FF) and Ms Vos (IFP) said that both forms of community could co-exist as there was room for both with new technology opening up such possibilities. Multi-channel distribution technology solved the problem of scarce frequencies. It was pointed out that both forms of community had been accepted by the Minister.

Both the Democratic Party and the Freedom Front expressed much satisfaction with what the Minister had provided for in an amendment to Section 29 (9):
"The Authority must conduct an inquiry to determine priorities within the community radio sector" which replaces:
"The Authority must conduct an inquiry to determine the terms, regulations, and conditions to phase in the transition to a geographically founded community service and other determine priorities within the community sector".

Opposition parties were not happy with the broad Ministerial powers found in Clause 37.

They will meet on 22 and 23 September to discuss the flagged proposed amendments.

Appendix: Proposed amendments



21 September 1998

1. To insert the following to the preamble- after the sentence "to provide a Charter...

to provide policy framework for the signal distribution sector including multi-channel distribution;"

"to provide for the digital advisory broadcasting body"



1. "broadcasting" means any form of unidirectional telecommunications intended for the public or section of the public or subscribers to any broadcasting service having appropriate receiving facilities, whether carried by means of radio or any other means of telecommunication or any combination of the aforementioned, and broadcast" shall be construed accordingly

2. "broadcasting signal distribution" means the process whereby the output signal of a broadcasting service is taken form the point of origin1, being the point where such signal is made available in its final content format, from where it is conveyed to any broadcast target area by means of a telecommunications process but excluding the use of facilities which operate on frequencies outside the broadcasting services frequency bands and includes multi-channel distribution.

3. "Community" includes a geographically founded community or any group of persons or sector of the public having a specific, ascertainable common interest

4.2 "Community broadcasting service" means a broadcasting service, which is fully controlled by a non-profit entity and carried on for non-profitable, purposes, and meets the needs of the community which amongst others include youth, culture, women, language, and religion.

5. on page 8, from line 28-30, insert the following after "broadcasting service" means a single defined which consists of the broadcasting of television or sound broadcasting material to the public or sections of the public or to subscribers to such a service,"

6. on page 8, delete sub-clause 1(iv) replace with "commercial broadcasting service means a broadcasting service operating for Profit or as Part of a Profit making entity and includes a commercially operated service provided by the Corporation"

7. on page 8, from line 46,after systematic insert the "signal would be unintelligible without a suitable receiving equipment"

8. on page 8, line 55 delete " produced in South Africa by South Africans and includes South African music

9. "Minister" means the Minister for Post, Telecommunications and Broadcasting


1. on page 10, line 31, after "Republic", to insert 'in the public interest"

2. on page 10, line 42, after "development" add " and training in the broadcasting sector"

3. on page 12, sub-clause 2(o), line 4, to delete, policy"


1. on page 14, line 12, after "a broadcast service" to insert " includes" and delete "means"


1. On page 20, line 20-32 the whole of this clause to read:

1) The Board consists of twelve members, nine of whom are non-executive members appointed by the President on the advice of the relevant Portfolio Committee of the National Assembly, in accordance with the following principles, namely:

a) Participation by the public in a nomination process;

b) Transparency and openness; and

c) Publication of a shortlist of candidates for appointments, duly taking into account the objects and principles enunciated in section 2 of this Act

2) The Group Chief Executive and any other two members of the executive Committee contemplated in section 14 of this Act

3) The President must designate one of the members of the Board referred to in subsection (2) as the chairperson and another as such member as a vice - chairperson

4) Seven members of the Board, which must include the chairperson and or vice chairperson, will constitute a quorum at any meeting


1 On page 20, line 34 the whole of this Clause to read

1) The President must, on the advice of the relevant Portfolio Committee of Parliament, appoint a Board of Directors of the Corporation for such period as

he or she may determine, which period must not exceed five years, based on the following principles:

a) Be persons who are suited to serve on the Board by virtue of their qualifications; expertise and experience in the fields of broadcasting policy and technology, regulation, media law, frequency planning, business practice and finance, marketing, journalism, entertainment and education, social and labour issues.

b) Be person who are committed to fairness, freedom of expression, the right of the public to be informed, and openness and accountability on the part of those holding public office

c) Represent a broad cross-section of the population of the Republic

d) Be persons who are committed to the objects and principles as enunciated in the Charter of the Corporation

2) The President must designate one of the members of the Board referred to in subsection (1) as a chairperson and another such member as a vice-chairperson. both of whom must be non-executive directors

)Ç__3) The vice-chairperson referred to in subsection (2) must, when the chairperson is absent or unable to perform his or her duties, act in his or her stead and; when so acting; exercise or perform any function of the chairperson.

4) Every appointment of a member of the Board must be published in the Gazette.

5) A member of the Board appointed to fill a casual vacancy must hold office for the unexpired portion of the period for which the vacating member was appointed.

6) Members of the Board appointed immediately before the transfer date will retain their appointments with all existing benefits.


1. On page 22, line 7, the whole of the Clause to read.

1) The affairs of the Corporation are administered by an executive committee consisting of the Group Chief Executive Officer and six additional members appointed by the Board. The Group Chief Executive Officer shall be the Accounting Officer and accountable to the Board.

2) The executive committee is accountable to the Board.

3) The executive committee will perform such functions as determined by the Board.


1. On page 22 after sub-clause 16(3) insert new sub-clauses

"The Corporation must draw up Proper financial statements which must be approved by the Minister, after consultation with the Minister of Finance"

2. "The Corporation must open and maintain an account with a Bank registered as such in the Republic, or with any other financial institution so registered and approved by the Minister for Finance"

3. The monies of the Corporation which are not immediately required for contingency Purposes or to meet current expenditure may. on written approval by the Minister, in concurrence with the Minister of Finance, be deposited with a bank registered as such in the Republic or with any other financial institution so registered."


1 On page 22. line 45, after "with" delete "any" replace with "a"

1. On page 14, line 49, after monitors to insert "and enforces" and after "compliance with to insert, the provisions of and after the "Charter" delete by and replace with "of"

2. on page 14, line 50 delete "Parliament will enact the Charter"


1. on page 16, line 4, delete sub-clause 6(2)



1. on page 16, line 24, to delete "may be required to" replace with "must"


1. on page 16, line 40. delete sub-clause 8 (c)

2. on page 18, line 1, delete "other bodies and replace with "to public section of the public" and line 2 and 3 to delete "such bodies" replace with "the common carrier"


1. on page 18, line 36, delete "public"


1. on page 18, line 42, after "strive to make" insert "high quality"

2. on page 18. line 43, delete "as circumstances permit"

3. on page 18, line 44, after "reflect" insert "both" and after "the" insert "unity and"

4. on page 18, line 46 delete sub-clause 10(c)

5 on page 20, line 6, delete "the Public" replace with "Corporation's"


After clause 19 and before clause 20 insert a new clause

Television licences

1. The Corporation may issue a television licence conferring through the holder the right to use a television set or any number of television sets specified in the licence.

2. The licence is renewable annually

3. For the purposes of this Act, "holder" means-

1) Owner of a television set;

2) Any business or institution with reference to a category to which such business or institution belongs;

3) Any permit registered for a place, vehicle, vessel or aircraft so specified where a business or the affairs of that institute are carried on, or which has already been recorded on the registered of the Corporation;

4) The utilisation of television set which was commenced without authorisation before the date of commencement of this Act, must within twelve months after the date and subject to the rules of the Corporation relating to the authorisation, apply for such licence.

5) The Corporation must maintain a register of all the licences


1. On page 24, line 44 delete "public" before "accountant"


On page 28, line 50 after "each" insert "broadcasting"


1 On page 28, line 53, after services insert "when viewed collectively"

2. on page 30, line 1 after "must" to insert "strive to"

3. on page 30, line 3, after "must" to insert "strive to"

4. on page 30, line 8 after "South Africans and" to insert "strive to"

5. on page 30, line 10 delete "must" and replace with "shalI as a whole"

6. on page 30 line 11 delete "all"

7. on page 30, line 12, after "to serve "add "subject to licence conditions"

8. on page 30, line 20, delete "shall" replace with "must"

9. on page 30, line 20, delete from "specifically on South African …. relating to the licence"

10. on page 30, line 23, after "must" insert "strive to"

11. on page 30, delete sub-clause 27 (4)(b)


1. on page 30, after line 54 insert new line;

"Free-to-air satellite broadcasting service"

"Free-to-air satellite television service"

2. on page 32, line 2 after "managed" insert "and controlled" and "B" of Board must be small letter "b".

3. On page 32, line 3, after "from" delete "all" and after "community" delete "or communities"

4. On page 32. line 4 delete "service"

5. On page 32, delete sub-clause 29(4)

6. On page 32, line 9 delete "all of the people in "and after "community" insert

"amongst others may include cultural, religious, language and demographics"

7. On page 32, delete sub-clause 29(7)

8. On page 32, line 27 delete from "the terms regulations and conditions …. and other"

9. On page 32, line 29 after "community", to insert "radio"


1. on page 32, line 43 after "The Authority must" insert "conduct and inquiry to"

2. on page 32, line 43 delete "and propose to the Minister"

3. on page 32, line 44, delete "to govern the" and insert "for the broadcasting"

4. on page 32, line 44, delete from "upon opening of the sector to competition by the year 2000" and replace with "including the regulatory regime for the multi-channel distribution services"

The Authority must conduct an inquiry to determine the licence conditions, obligations, and tariff structure for signal distribution including the regulatory regime for multi-distribution services"


1 on page 32. line 51 before "the signal" to insert "Subject to licence conditions determined by the Authority"

2. on page 34. line 1 delete "and multi-media"

3. on page 34, line 4 delete sub-clauses 32(2) (d)

4 on page 34, delete sub-clause 31(3) replace with "The Authority must in a licencing process promote the Participation by South Africans in the broadcasting signal distribution sector. provide employment and training for South Africans and the payment of a licence fee"


1. on page 34, delete sub-clause 33(1) (c).

2. on page 34, line 34, delete "chapter II of"

3. on page 34, line 34, delete from "and in particular … disadvantaged groups"


1. on page 36, line 9, delete from "a written ….. Advisory Body" replace with "concurrence with the Minister of Finance"

2. on page 36, line 24, after "determine" insert "after consultation with the Ministries of Arts and Culture, Science and Technology and Language, Trade and Industries and Finance"

3. on page 36, line 25, delete "govern" and replace with "give effect to"


1 on page 36 delete clause 37(1) replace with "The Minister may make regulations not in-consisted with the provisions of this Act."

2. On page 38, line 2, delete "commendations" and replace with "recommendations"

3. on page 38, line 2, delete from "and is not obliged to accept such recommendations"


1. on page 40, 2(a), repeal the definition in the IBA Act and include in the Broadcasting Bill.

2. on page 40, 1(c), delete "public" and the rest of definition replace by "means a broadcasting service operating for profit or as part of a Profit making entity and includes a commercially operated service provided by the Corporation".

3. on page 54,16(1) delete "15%" replace with "20%"

4. on page 44(k) delete "1988" replace with "1998"

5. on page 48, after (c)(ii) insert" May retain application fees for administration purposes"



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