Independent Communications Authority of South Africa: Strategic Plan and Budget 2007/08

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Communications

13 March 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

COMMUNICATIONS PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 March 2007
INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY OF SOUTH AFRICA: STRATEGIC PLAN AND BUDGET 2007/08

Acting Chairperson:
Mr G Oliphant (ANC)

Documents handed out:
ICASA Strategic Plan and Budget presentation: Mr Paris Mashile
ICASA Strategic Plan and Budget presentation: Mr Stanley Mamaregane


Audio recording of the meeting

SUMMARY
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) briefed the Committee on the strategic plans and budget for the forthcoming year. This briefing was a follow-up to a Committee visit to the ICASA offices in Johannesburg two weeks previously, where a number of issues had already been addressed.

In the light of the new Electronic Communications Act and the ICASA Amendment Act, Councillors had undertaken a full analysis of the new roles and mandates. ICASA sought to create a competitive environment for delivering a wide variety of communication and postal services. Strategic objectives were aimed at improving service delivery, increasing competition, promoting economic growth and the use of IT in business and domestic sectors and developing an appropriate tariff regulation regime. It would facilitate converged and new generation networks, unbundling of the local loop, and provide for universal service obligations. A Complaints and Compliance Committee had been appointed. Its independence had to be safeguarded.

The new functions and the strategic goals of the business plan were defined. The licensing framework was to be aligned with the ECA. The list of activities for the year was tabled. The budget was also tabled. This noted grants from the Department of R222 million, and showed an anticipated deficit of R13.4 million, which would be partially redressed by recalculations of the depreciation and by agreements in relation to the additional costs of incorporation of the Post Office.

Members asked questions on the apparent conflicts between the Public Finance Management Act and the ICASA Amendment Act in relation to executive authority, and asked for a full response in writing. There was discussion on whether ICASA was empowered to consider the non-compliance of SABC with its Charter, following the Sisulu Commission of Enquiry. Members also queried the time frames for conversion of licences, whether they could be achieved under the current budget and if the assessment of the deficit was accurate. A comment was made about the perception that ICASA would not act strongly against the major market players. Further questions addressed the pay-as-you-go airtime complaints, coverage by mobile operators and the SABC, the need for in-depth studies before the next phase of the under serviced area licenses, whether the legal bills of costs had been taxed, the high attrition rate amongst staff and whether the postal exclusivity provisions would be retained. Members urged that conversion of licences and convergence must be addressed more speedily than set out. ICASA was asked to revert in writing on certain issues arising from the previous meeting.


MINUTES
The Chairperson noted that there had been a fruitful meeting with ICASA two weeks before when a preview of the presentation was given. It also dealt with resignations within ICASA and this day's meeting would be dedicated to this and other matters.

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Strategic Plan 2007/8 Briefing

Mr Paris Mashile, Chairperson: ICASA, stated that in the face of the new environment, which was now governed by the Electronic Communications Act (ECA) and the ICASA Amendment Act, the ICASA Councillors had done a forensic analysis of their new mandates and responsibilities. This resulted in a new vision and mission, and plan of action with Councillors taking new responsibilities.

The vision of ICASA was to be a catalyst in the transformation of society into a knowledge-based economy. It wanted to use electronic communication to enhance business and governance in commerce. In the production sector most of the products being used were services, rather than tangibles. Communication was an intangible service. The world was looking forward to leverage communications to better economic and social development. ICASA sought to create a competitive environment for delivering a wide variety of communication and postal services. It sought to look at the values governing the organisation. It aimed to share a common vision, listening to others, have commitment and be inspired. It would encourage interconnectedness and alignment of systems to ensure that the whole acted in synergy. It also had to demystify perceptions, basing decisions on reasoned and relevant facts. The Councillors were to speak without fear, favour or prejudice, as set out in the Constitution.

Mr Mashile noted that the strategic objectives would follow from the vision and missions. ICASA would have to decide what influences it would want to use to turn around and what could enhance the mandate under the legislation. It aimed to increase the availability and quality of domestic services, and to maintain an effective market through regulation. It wanted to establish widespread access to ICT, and use this sector in other areas of the economy. ICT was a major element of doing business. As it advanced and empowered people there must be provision to broaden the economy and the economic participation by small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). ICASA needed to encourage the injection of capital by domestic and foreign investors. There must be new technology and new services coupled with policies and regulations covering market analysis, local loop connection and facilities monitoring. ICASA aimed to facilitate entry of new licence operators. Significant market players would have obligations placed on them to ensure share of services, access to network elements, and provision of interconnection on cost orientated terms. The costs would be based on scientific data. ICASA would develop an appropriate tariff regulation regime to assure wide competition and the widest availability of service consistent with a reasonable return on operators' investments. The consumers must benefit from high quality services at competitive prices. The question of increased broadband from multiple technology platforms was very important, especially on the mobile platforms. ICASA would encourage the provision of multimedia services through converged networks. It would also seek to facilitate roll out of new generation networks (NGNs) and local loop unbundling. ICASA would wish to facilitate interconnection on non-discriminatory terms and conditions and in a timely and transparent fashion.  In the case of a dispute the operators should have recourse to arbitration.

ICASA recognised that some areas were not attractive to business-orientated companies and therefore it would have to provide for universal service obligations to assist in providing comprehensive geographical coverage. Licensing provisions should be clearly set out including the criteria, time periods, terms and  conditions, fees and reasons for denial of licences.

The independence of ICASA must be safeguarded. It should be able to function without any commercial and political interference. Use of scarce resources such as radio frequencies and numbers was a major issue. Allocations would have to be earned in an objective, transparent and non-discriminatory manner. ICASA would encourage the use of digital technologies and new modulation schemes. WiMax technology was a major issue, but he warned that this was not a panacea as it was limited by forces of nature.

The ICASA Amendment Act required ICASA to do investigation, monitoring and enforcement. Members had been appointed to the Complaints and Compliance Committee and recommendations would be sent to Council. ICASA would be unhesitating in challenging unacceptable conduct on the part of market participants.

Mr Mashile said that regrettably ICASA was presently under resourced. Effective regulation could not be accomplished without adequate funding. It needed to acquire the best skilled professional staff and technical resources. Funding could be accomplished by allowing a defined proportion of revenue from license fees to be retained. Most operators in Southern African were self financed, but even some who directly reported to government still had independent funding.

Mr Mashile then tabled the top level organisational structure. Accountability and responsibility attached jointly and severally to the Council. The CEO was in charge of finance, running the organisation, human resources and internal audit matters, and was guided by the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). Mr Mashile stated that the Councillors' oversight function required infractions to be investigated and dealt with. There was full accountability and policy guidelines had been formulated, and responsibilities were clearly delimited. He noted that each of the core functions now devolved to one or more Councillors depending on their areas of expertise. He tabled and explained the matters that would fall under each of the newly delineated functions.

Mr Stanley Mamaregane, Acting CEO, ICASA detailed the business plan. The strategic goals included economic growth, reduction of the costs of doing business, research and development, promoting broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), access to basic services, creation of employment, liberalisation of the sector, international participation and strengthening of the regulation environment.

He said that the licensing framework would be aligned with the ECA, and set out the components of the framework and mentioned that this would include licensing of basic services, finalisation of the licensing of the Under Serviced Area Licences (USALs), ongoing licensing of community broadcasting services and licensing of primary markets.

Other activities for 2007/08 would include the South African Content review, which was last reviewed in 2002. There would be a new regulatory framework for digital broadcasting to bring it in line with the Ministerial Broadcasting group. There needed to be an enquiry into broadcasting in the converged environment, a review of sports broadcasting rights, and development of Codes of practice, Service Charters and quality of service parameters for licensees in terms of the ECA. ICASA  would also address the regulations on subscription broadcasting services, do research on BBBEE in light of the ICT Charter, and review the postal licences, especially the exclusivity content. It would develop regulations on facilities leasing, interconnection and mobile pricing. The licensing of Neotel required finalisation of regulations. The number portability regulations must be developed to ensure fair competition. The short code strategy would need to be developed. There must be analysis of the regulatory financial statements of Vodacom, MTN and Telkom, including analysis of cost data to determine significant market power. ICASA had undertaken market studies both in relation to postal services and the communications sector. In the engineering and technology sphere ICASA was to review the South African Table of Frequency Allocations (SATFA) and this would be finalised by end July. It had also decided to review the radio regulations. The licensing and allocation of high demand frequency spectrum bands were already under review. There was a need to review the spectrum fees to ensure value of spectrum was appropriately dealt with. He set out the proposed scale of activities for the Complaints and Compliance Committee. The SABC Annual Compliance Report would have to be assessed as the SABC was recently re-licensed. 

Mr Mamaregane tabled the budget. He noted that the grants from the Department of Communications (DOC) were R222 million. He set out the expenses under each category, with a total expenditure figures, and reported that there was also depreciation of R6 million of assets. The total MTEF allocation was R235 million and the baseline allocation was R222 million. There was a deficit of R13.4 million. It was noted that the activities of the postal regulator had not yet been funded.  Once there was agreement on that it was likely to clear the deficit to below 1% if regard was had to the depreciation aspects.

Discussion

The Chairperson noted that there was a comprehensive action plan. He noted that ICASA was also asked to address the Committee on issues raised at the last meeting. One of the points it must still discuss was an explanation around the R12 million that was still to be discussed with National Treasury, and details of the legal cases and contractual obligations around the resignation of the former CEO. It was also asked to address, in writing, issues of the apparent conflict between the ICASA Amendment Act and the PFMA. He asked ICASA to revert to these matters during the discussions.

Ms D Smuts (DA) referred to matters arising from the last meeting with ICASA. She thanked ICASA for providing most of the documentation relating to the former CEO. She referred to the alleged contradiction between the PFMA and the ICASA Amendment Act. ICASA had said that the problem apparently arose because the CEO had to report directly to Treasury on section 38 and other matters. However, Counsel who had provided a legal opinion for ICASA had said that the CEO and Councillors seemed to function on the basis that because there was no definition of executive authority the CEO would not have an executive authority to report to, although the ICASA Act specified that the CEO fell under the control of Council. Ms Smuts pointed out that the apparent lacuna had already been addressed in National Treasury (NT) regulations, which set out clearly that the Executive Authority was the Chairperson or the Council, as the case may be. She said that if ICASA was struggling with the lacuna, then it appeared that it no longer existed. The former CEO had based her allegations on lack of authority. This point must be clarified before appointment of a new CEO. If that was had not been the cause of the problem, then she asked that ICASA must specify what the problem was seen to be. If indeed the cause of the problem was as she had set out then it was unfortunate that the answer had not been discovered earlier, and this was a poor reflection of the leadership of ICASA.

Mr Mashile acknowledged that the ICASA Amendment Act had specified that the Councillors were the final executive authority. The prior Act did not state this specifically. He admitted that there had been a misunderstanding of the position. ICASA would clearly have to workshop staff and Councillors on their roles and responsibilities so there was no misinterpretation in future and he confirmed that these issues would be clarified before appointing the new CEO. He added that there had previously been a problem of Councillors "interfering" with what the administrative staff were doing. The organogram was intended to determine how future roles would be organised.

The Chairperson said if there was no written response about this lacuna from ICASA, then the question had not been answered. He asked that the response on the tension between the laws be given in writing.

Ms Smuts noted that she also wanted to address the question of SABC's compliance with the Charter in relation to the Sisulu Commission of Enquiry. The finding of that Commission had been that there was an impermissible narrowing of the range of opinions available to the public. She believed that ICASA should interrogate and hold SABC to account for their non-compliance with the Charter. She enquired if this matter had been addressed in deciding compliance with license conditions.

The Chairperson stated that he had understood that the Sisulu Commission had reported back to the SABC Board to say that the CEO must take action against the two individuals. Any disciplinary steps were then up to the Board. He asked Ms Smuts to clarify whether she was referring to the conditions. He noted that the Sisulu Commission had not enquired into the conduct of the individuals, and in fact the Commission had refused to conduct a disciplinary enquiry. The Commission's  findings were directed to whether SABC had complied with the directions of the Charter that it should reflect a diversity of views.

Ms Smuts confirmed that she was not concerned with the individuals, but whether ICASA had a duty to hold SABC accountable to its Charter. The report was in the public domain and raised questions in respect of SABC compliance with diversity of views. The disciplinary enquiries had nothing to do with ICASA as those were Board matters.

Mr R Mohlalonga (ANC) noted that the Sisulu Commission was an internal one established by  the SABC to deal with the matters, which the Board were concerned about. It was not established by parliament or ICASA. To that extent the SABC would have to act on the findings. of the Commission and could agree or not with the recommendations. He did not see that ICASA ha any role. It was not found as a matter of fact that there had been blacklisting. The Annual Compliance report would not have anything to do with the existence or otherwise of blacklisting. He did not believe it was in the domain of ICASA.

The Chairperson noted a difference of opinion between the members and ruled that he would not get into the debate.

Mr Sipho Tsotetsi, Acting General Manager, Broadcasting: ICASA, confirmed that two complaints had been received, from two organisations.  The Broadcasting Division was compiling a report that would be submitted to Council within the normal channels.

Ms S Vos (IFP) noted that Sentech had briefed the Committee the previous week and ICASA had published the framework for conversion in the last week. Sentech expected the license conversion to take place by mid-year. She asked ICASA if that was a reality. She asked for time frames on the pay-TV licences. She also said she was surprised to hear that only a R13 million deficit was expected. The review of Telkom's rate regime and analysis of all regimes would be expensive projects, She asked for time frames on all of these, and whether they would be achieved, given the financial situation. Ms Mamodupi Mohlala, ICASA Councillor, said that ICASA were in the process of formulating the conditions for licenses and further details were contained in the detailed business plan document that had been forwarded to the Committee earlier. ICASA would have liked to complete the convergence earlier but there was a constraint in funding. There was a challenge to finish in this year. It would run from April 2007 to March 2008 and then the convergence process would be finalised in the next year, to spread the costs of the consultants.

Mr Tsotetsi dealt with pay-TV licences. Due to resignations, ICASA had outsourced to assist with analysis of applications. The tender was issued at the end of February and an analysis was expected by end March, with a start date at the beginning of April. Depending on how it unfolded it would take about two months.  There were challenges in respect of a number of issues. ICASA needed to ensure alignment of resources to achieve the objectives within reasonable time frames.

Ms Mohlala referred the Members to the specific references in the business plan. She stated that the total period encompassed firstly the electronic communications service licence conditions,  and conversion would be included at the later stages.

Mr Mashile referred to the R13 million budget deficit. He said ICASA had gone through a challenging exercise. It had cut some items to the barest bones and still had a deficit. It was impossible to do everything within the allocation. The incorporation of the post office also needed to be taken into cognisance. The current presentation was based on a detailed analysis of every expense item. The first assessment of budget had been in the region of R400 million, but then cuts were effected to drop this to R222 million. This had in part been achieved by rolling over some issues into subsequent years.

The Chairperson noted that ICASA was obliged under the Act to perform certain functions within certain periods. He warned that ICASA should not at a later stage say that it had not had the money to do so. The Committee had asked ICASA to advise it what it would need in order to comply with the ECA. It was in that context that the Committee had expressed surprise that the final deficit figure was lower than originally stated.

Mr R Pieterse (ANC) asked if ICASA was up to the task that had been given. He said that he was asking this question because of the number of large players - such as Telkom and SABC. ICASA was seen as the "big stick'" to force them to do what they were supposed to do. However, SABC still did not cover the whole country. Allegations of price fixing had been made in this morning's press. Telkom frequently challenged the regulator in Court and occupied time and costs. There was a perception that ICASA would take on the smaller players but not be as strong with the larger players. He noted that the State of the Nation address had focused on the need to cut the costs of doing business, which included telecommunications. Mr Pieterse asked for comment also on the mobile operators, who would not warn people that handsets would not work in certain areas. A farm worker would buy a handset in the expectation that it could be used, only to find that there was no signal and he would not get a refund of the cost. The same applied to airtime; although some pay-as-you-go vouchers carried an expiry date, others did not. Poor people were still not being helped by these anomalies. He further complained that there was no consistency of service delivery from postal agencies.

Mr Tsotetsi said that ICASA was looking at Free-to-Air and SABC coverage and would try to deal with the problems in different ways. It also intended to review the policy on self help stations and would engage with communities to discuss the possibility of communities providing the infrastructure and the licensees helping to connect to the signals. It would also be developing regulations on universal access. Frequency allocation was a problem but a possible solution was through the project on the South African Table of Frequency Allocations. In respect of Free-To-Air, ICASA  would be reviewing the current framework and looking at the cables and satellite to give better coverage. Mr Zolisa Masiza, ICASA Councillor, added that ICASA was sometimes hindered by the realities on the ground. Schools and rural areas were still suffering from the historic lack of facilities. ICASA was dealing with all these matters.

The Chairperson asked for feedback on the complaint of Mr Holderness about the airtime vouchers. The Advertising Standards Authority had apparently ruled that this was not within their jurisdiction.

Mr Mashile acknowledged that the problems raised by consumers had been challenges. The new delimitation of responsibilities was partially geared towards ensuring that ICASA could deal more effectively with all issues. The Consumer Affairs division would be going out with full force, and ICASA acknowledged that its credibility was in question if it could not resolve these issues. Licensees would be made accountable and forced to live up to their obligations. ICASA would insist on quick resolution and would not hesitate to take strong action. Mr Mpilo Ngxingo, Acting General Manager, Complaints and Compliance Committee: ICASA, noted that a complaint had been received, and Mr Holderness had raised the question of the airtime window period. ICASA had investigated the provisions in other countries. It had also investigated the consequences of pay as you go airtime. There would be a review of terms and conditions of service of mobile operators in 2007 and 2008.

The Chairperson said that Mr Holderness had claimed the dispensation was different in the UK.

Mr P Swart (DA) expressed the personal opinion that it was unfair that airtime should ever expire.

Mr Swart raised two matters from the previous meeting. At this meeting he was assured that there would be a properly detailed study of the viability of the Under Serviced Area Licensees (USALs) before ICASA continued issuing licences. On the Business Plan he had now noted that April to August was set aside for the issuing of further USALs. He asked if ICASA would undertake an in depth study before issuing those licenses.

Ms Mohlala said that ICASA did need to come up with a more workable model for the USALs. The narrative around this business plan had not been clearly stated during the presentation. It was included in the business plan because the current policy imperatives said that ICASA must continue to licence USALs. ICASA was not moving away from the idea of the study. A workable approach was still under consideration.

Mr Mthobeli Zokwe, Councillor, ICASA added that ICASA had been able to learn along the process and more opportunities were beginning to emerge. Some of the conditions would be amended and additional dimensions would open up. Some of the USALs did have the potential to succeed.

Mr Swart noted that the print out of the legal costs incurred in the disciplinary matters had been forwarded to the Committee. He noted with concern that the attorney and client costs for two separate matters each amounted to R890 000. He felt that this was excessive, given that most of the appearances involved mere postponements and not full hearings. He asked if the Bills had been assessed by a taxing master before being paid. He was concerned at the apparent lack of control and huge amounts of taxpayers' money being diverted to legal fees. He requested that detailed Bills of Costs be referred to the Committee.

Mr Mashile said that he had tried to have the matters expedited.

The Chairperson clarified that the Committee had already received an update on the history of the case, but here the Committee was concerned that the matter had dragged on for too long and the costs were too high. He expressed the view that although ICASA had followed the correct procedures, it needed to tighten up on the processes.

Mr Mashile said the detailed analysis of legal services would be provided.

Mr Mohlalonga noted that a number of tasks and responsibilities had arisen from the ECA and there should be funding given for those accordingly. He noted that part of the plan was to procure skilled professional staff and consulting services. The Committee had previously asked why staff were moving from ICASA. ICASA had replied that this was the natural movement in the industry. Mr Mohlalonga was not convinced that this was the full answer. ICASA had not suddenly dropped its salaries, and ICASA was not a new body. Virtually all top management had left in one year. He believed there were other issues involved, including questions of leadership of the institution and whether it had inspired confidence and motivation for staff to stay.

Mr Mashile acknowledged that there could be a difference of opinion on the resignations. He also  acknowledged that ICASA still needed to work on creating a more conducive working environment. There had been a difficulty in the delineation of roles where some staff perceived Councillors as "interfering" with their work. Councillors were obliged to be firmly in the driving seat and should make clear statements on governance. ICASA, like the rest of the industry, was subject to market forces. Black professionals were highly sought after. Most of the staff leaving ICASA had gone to other organisations that offered better salaries.

Mr Mohlalonga also raised the costs of doing business. There was a task team composed of all operators, which would report by April on ways to reduce costs. He asked how ICASA would relate to that process.

Mr Mashile said that competition was a prime issue, both within the existing market place and to allow people to get into the market. Price reduction would result from more players coming into the field. Exclusivity already given to Telkom had not derived benefits and that was a lesson that needed to be learned.

Ms Tracy Cohen, Councillor, ICASA added that 20% of the projects would concentrate on bringing down the price of doing business. ICASA was grateful that the ECA had been passed. The time frames and action plan had set out a number of projects to enhance competition. She referred back to a previous question of Ms Vos and noted that the time frames were listed in the business plan. Most projects would take place within this calendar year. She also said that the risk of non-cooperation and the risk of litigation were important. There had been a contingency set aside for litigation costs. Intervention in markets was complex. ICASA would have to carefully define the markets and assign market power, and had to be careful when imposing conditions related to costs, as operators would not hesitate to challenge ICASA, with consequent delays and litigation costs. All projects wee based on the systematic methodology in the ECA. She advised Ms Smuts that ICASA was running a process on wholesale termination, under Chapter 10 of the ECA.

Mr Mohlalonga asked about postal exclusivity. Although this was a new activity under the umbrella, he asked whether ICASA had any preliminary appraisals, and whether there had been benefits to the country from this exclusivity. He asked how this would compare with the exclusivity given to Telkom. Ms Brenda Ntombela, ICASA Councillor, replied that the detailed business plan also spoke to this issue. The exclusivity license was based upon the old legislation and ICASA would like to review it under the new Postal Service Amendment Act which had recently been assented to. It would also look to market studies to assess whether the exclusivity license was worthwhile. The Post Office would henceforth be included in the monitoring of compliance process. 

Ms Smuts noted that it was to ICASA's credit that the interconnection had come clearly into the spotlight.

Mr Mohlalonga commented that the presentation had not set out clearly the prime objectives over the next financial year. He had the sense that ICASA was trying to spread itself too far and had not prioritised the issues properly. For instance, he wondered if the next phase of licensing USALs, set to start in April 2007,  took priority over license conversion.

Mr M Kholwane (ANC) sought assurance whether ICASA could comply with all of the ECA requirements within the time frames set out. This would also tie in with the funding requested.

Mr Mashile said that ICASA had undertaken to finish projects on conversion, class licences, broadcasting services and network services and this was budgeted for.

Ms Mohlala added that the ECA prescribed a time frame of 24 months from promulgation to effect conversion with an option of another 6 months extension. ICASA's work plan predicted the completion of terms and conditions and the conversion by September 2008 which was well within the time frame certified. There was a detailed plan and breakdown that could be given to the Committee if needed.

Mr Kholwane asked if the USALs would be licensed under a reviewed licence, or under the existing licence.

Ms Mohlala responded that there had been no specific decision on the future path. ICASA had to comply with policy until directed otherwise. It would prefer to give licenses in a revised  environment. It acknowledged the challenges experienced by the existing licensees. Until there was concurrence from the policy giver on a revised model ICASA could not commit to it. However, it would try to expedite the discussion process.

Mr Kholwane asked for detailed processes of how the e-rate would be dealt with. Service providers had complained they were ready but ICASA had not given them the regulations. He requested written details of time lines, and a note of what had been achieved.

Mr Khumalo noted that the time frames were given for the licensing of the pay channels. He believed that ICASA needed to speed up the process. He queried an apparent discrepancy on the budgeting for licensing, and suggested that perhaps there needed to be a recalculation, as he did not think the budgets were realistic. Technology was developing fast and there could be new partnerships with international players. In terms of technology development there could have been partnerships with international players or mergers. Exchange rates and globalisation must also be taken into account. Licensing and convergence issues, in his view, must be dealt with faster. Mr Robert Nkuna, ICASA Councillor, said that the priorities were interrelated. Most of the matters to enable licensing assumed that all other conditions were in place. ICASA was engaging with the DOC on digital migration and hoped that clear direction would soon be given.

Mr Johan van Rooyen, ICASA Councillor, reiterated that the Complaints and Compliance Committee had been set up, that it would be independent, and  that the regulations would also be part of the independence. The wasted time and costs on litigation in the past would hopefully be redressed through this structure.

The Chairperson asked for a comment on the matter of the disputed R12.7 million service provider's contract  that had been raised at the last meeting.

Mr Mamaregane said that the matter was resolved with the service provider, and ICASA was now implementing a system with the assistance of National Treasury. The funds had been committed and the project would be finalised by end March.
 
Mr Mashile noted that ICASA was intending to abide by the plan. Monthly meetings would be held on project plans, deliverables and costings. Accountability and authority went together. That was an understanding of the way forward.

The Chairperson stated that ICASA still needed to revert to the Committee in respect of previous questions on issues around USALs, the performance management systems, funding of the Regulator and the vacancies.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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