Briefing by Director-General on Budget process; Broadcasting Bill: reconsideration

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Communications and Digital Technologies

01 March 1999
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

1 March 1999


Document handed out:
Presentation by Director-General of Department of Communications (see Appendix)

A full report of the Budget briefing by Director-General Ngcaba will be available shortly.

The committee finalised their nominations for the filling of the three SATRA councillor positions: Mr W Currie, Ms Mayimele-Hashatse, Ms N Gosa with an objection registered by the IFP and a reservation registered by the DP concerning Ms Gosa's nomination. The committee decided to meet on another occasion with the SATRA Council in response to a petition circulated by SATRA staff concerning one of the nominations.

Informal discussion continued on the Broadcasting Bill with the opposition parties restating their objections to the ANC proposed amendments. The 2 March 1999 was set for formal discussion on the Bill.

The State Law Advisor, Mr Kellner, assisted the committee by checking the ANC proposed amendments and providing certain suggestions which will be made available in writing at the following meeting.

Further proposed amendments were considered regarding the contested underlined phrase in the following revised Section 40 (1) (b) that was informally agreed upon by the parties in the last meeting:
"The Minister may by notice in the Gazette make regulations regarding:
any notice required or permitted to be issued by the Minister in terms of this Act; and
any administrative or procedural matters which it is necessary to prescribe in order to achieve the objects of this Act".

The opposition parties did not table their proposed amendments as they first wanted to hear the parliamentary law advisor's opinion on the two clauses.

Clause 40 (1)
Adv Meyer said that after studying the Bill he had found that nothing in the Bill required anything to be prescribed by the Minister.

With reference to the Minister needing to issue notices and to determine administrative issues referred to in s38.2 of the Bill, Ms Smuts (DP) asked if the Minister needed to write a regulation. Adv Meyer replied that as a general rule, regulations are not necessary and their absence would not affect the validity of a notice. The same principle applied to "administrative or procedural issues" - regulations would not affect the legal power and they could be done either by regulations or administratively.

The state law adviser, Mr Kellner, said that he agreed with everything that Adv Meyer had said.

Mr Kekana (ANC) tabled a fresh ANC proposal and suggested that it be used as a working document as the committee needed something concrete so that it could proceed.

The opposition parties studied the proposal and the IFP and DP continued to insist that nothing in the entire act required prescription. Mr Kekana pointed out that Adv Meyer had said it was an option and as such this option should be retained as in the administration of this Act the Minister may need to prescribe regulations. The DP conceded that (b) and (c) of s40 (1) could perhaps be retained in some form though (a) must be taken out.

At this point a proposal was hammered out in rough which all parties appeared to accept as a draft for s40 (1):
"The Minister may by notice in the Gazette make regulations on any notice or administrative or procedural matters necessary to achieve the objectives of the Act".

Chairperson Moeti asked the law advisors if they were satisfied with s40 (2) of the ANC proposal. Adv Meyer noted that the phrase "or any other law" was suitably restrictive and Mr Kellner said that the introductory word "No" needed to be emphasised.

Mr Ntsizi (NNP) suggested that s40 (2) of the ANC proposal should be accepted and there was consensus.

Clause 13A
Adv Meyer said that on studying the Bill he shared the President's reservations authorising the Minister to give instructions to the IBA.

Mr Kekana agreed that this section left as is, could allow the IBA to be dictated to. He went through the ANC proposal which he said prescribed specifically where the Minister should play a role. With reference to (e) of



Budget 1999/2000


1 March 1999

By the Director-General

Department of Communications


- Legislation & Policy Research & Development

- Shareholder Management

- Postal Regulation


• Implementation of a national strategy to ensure rollout of services

• Development and implementation of policies for the sector

• Establishment of a regulatory regime

• Establishment of a Technology Research Facility

• Information backbone for the country

• African strategy for communications


• Department of Communications

• South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA)

• Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA)

• Universal Service Agency (USA)


• South African Broadcasting Service - Public Broadcaster, Integration of TBVC States and Channel Africa

• South African Postal Services and TBVC States

• Year 2000 Decision Support Centre - Y2K


• FUNDS - Not funded out or NRF

- Human Resources Development Fund

- Universal Service Fund


• Budget 98/99 - R68,2 m

• Budget 99/2000 - R64,5 m

• Income Generated - 97/98:

- Licence Fees - R249 m


• Budget 98/99 - R31,5 m

• Budget 99/2000:

- R28,4 m Operational Budget

- R5,2 m Restructuring/Merger

- R1,4 m Elections


• Budget 98/99 - R9 m

• Budget 99/2000 - R8,034 m

- Telecentres

- Universal Service and Access


• Dividends for 97/98 - R547 m

• 575 Additional stations installed

• 386 000 new lines installed of which:

- 275 218 in underserved areas

- 32 335 payphones


• Budget 98/99:

- Public Broadcaster - R140 m

- TBVC - R65 m

- Channel Africa - R20 m

• Budget 99/2000

- Public Broadcaster - R140 m

- TBVC - R60,7 m

- Channel Africa - R27,8 m

SABC & Sentech

• SABC Dividends for 97/98:

- R27,4 m

• Sentech Turnover for 97/98:

- R291 m

- No Dividend for 97/98


• Budget 98/99 - R450,811 m

• Budget 99/2000 - R283,2 m

• To move from subsidy to specific projects

• Rolling out of postal addresses to rural areas

• Building up of infra-structure

• Turnover for 97/98 - R2 486,7 m


• Budget 98/99 - R8,8 m

• Budget 99/2000 - R7,8 m

• Effect of Year 2000 on IT products and existing computer applications

Development in Legislation

• Postal Services Act (Act no 124 of 1998)

• Telecommunications Amendment Bill

• Telecoms Second Amendment Bill (SATRA referred to possible changes in the 2nd quarter)

• White Paper and new Broadcasting Bill

Development in New Services/Projects


• E-Commerce

- Establish a policy framework for e-commerce

• 107 Emergency Telephone Service

- Study on feasibility and viability of 107 Emergency centres nationally

- Drafting of a New Emergency Communications Act


- Switch on date of first network operator - Last quarter of 1998

Development in New Services/Projects


• Enterprise Reform

- Option for Restructuring Management Contract

- Micro-enterprise Reforms

• SAPOS Public Information Terminal

- Use of electronic access to government services

- Accelerates the rollout of services

• Anti-crime Campaign

- National Postal Security Strategy - interface with Unions & Management

- Regional meetings between Minister and Unions

- Monitoring of Postal Security

Development in New Services/Projects


• Corporatisation and Restructuring of the SABC

• Support for women’s programming

• Support for programming for disabled

• Support for youth in broadcasting

• Foreign ownership and control of private broadcasting services

• Broadcasting and the Internet

• Establishment of a Sector Education Training Authority for the Communications sector

Development in New Services/Projects

Broadcasting cont.

• Convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and IT

• Restructuring of Channel Africa

• Partnerships

- Dedicated Educational Channel

- Digital Advisory Council

- Local Production with the DACST, industry and SA Broadcast Production Advisory Body

- Continental Service with SABC and Multichoice for delivery of African news

Development in New Services/Projects

Broadcasting cont.

• Support to community broadcasting sector

• Support for children’s programming

• IBA/SATRA merger to be completed during 1999

• Restructuring of Sentech



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