Report: Oversight visit to the Northern Cape, West Coast and City of Cape Town from 17 – 20 January 2012, dated 29 May 2012


Draft report of the Portfolio Committee on Communications on the oversight visit to the Northern Cape and Free State from 26 June – 01 July 2011

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Communications on the oversight visit to the Northern Cape, West Coast and City of Cape Town from 17 – 20 January 2012, dated 29 May 2012

The Portfolio Committee on Communications (the Committee), having undertaken an oversight visit to the Northern Cape (Springbok) and Western Cape (West Coast and the City of Cape Town) from 17 – 20 January 2012, reports as follows:

1. Background

In 2009, the President assented to the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (No. 9 of 2009). The Act aims to provide for a procedure to amend money Bills before Parliament and related matters. In broad terms, the Act provides the procedure for Parliament to amend the budget, which includes the annual Division of Revenue Bill (although the bill is not classified as a money bill in terms of the Constitution), the annual Appropriation Bill and Adjustments Appropriation Bill. Provision is also made for the procedure to amend other money Bills.

In light of the need to speed up progress on South Africa’s developmental challenges, government is shifting to target outcomes. To improve service delivery and increase accountability, the Presidency announced the adoption of 12 measurable outcomes, which will become the focus of policy and implementation. These objectives, with associated and defined targets should be reached by 2014, of which Outcome 6 and 12 speak directly to the Department of Communication’s (the Department) targets and Government Communication and Information Service (GCIS) respectively.

1.1 Introduction

The President, in his 2011 State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA), reminded Parliament of its role of holding the executive accountable and of performing an oversight role that ensures service delivery benefits to all people, especially those without basic services. To this end, the Committee undertook an oversight visit to two provinces, namely (i) part of the Northern Cape (Springbok) and (ii) part of the Western Cape (West Coast and the City of Cape Town), with the intention of overseeing the provision of services (including projects) by the Department and GCIS and their entities.

The oversight included visits to regional offices of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and Sentech; South African Post Office (SAPO) outlets; and projects of Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) (Community Media) and Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) (telecentres).

1.2 Objective

The Committee embarked to this oversight visit in line with its role and mandate as per (i) the Constitution; and (ii) the Rules of Parliament.

The objective of the oversight visit served as the measurement indicator against the service delivery commitment by the executives. The theme of the oversight was " Touch, Feel and See" how technology contributes to better the lives for all and amongst others the areas of focus were as follows:

(a) The progress strides made in the progressive realization of rights as contained in section 16(1)(a) and (b) of the Bill of Rights: (i) Freedom of the media; and (ii) Freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;

(b) Efficiency of the Regulator (ICASA) in licensing community broadcasting, and monitoring compliance of licensees with license conditions, as well as other challenges that the Regulator faces especially in this sphere of broadcasting;

(c) The role played by Sentech in signal distribution for broadcasting and challenges they are facing in providing services to these provinces; and

(d) Successes and challenges: (i) experiences by USAASA in deploying telecentres for ICT services; (ii) experiences by SAPO in rolling out postal outlets, addresses and functionality of Public Internet Terminals (PITs); and (iii) rollout of telecommunications and broadcasting infrastructure.

Day 1 (17 January 2012)

2. Northern Cape Province (Springbok)

2.1 Delegation

2.1.1 Members

The delegation of the Committee consisted of Mr SE Kholwane, ANC (Chairperson and leader of the delegation), Ms Z Ndlazi (ANC), Mr D Kekana (ANC), Ms R Morutoa (ANC), and Mr N van Den Berg (DA). Ms A van Wyk (ANC) joined the Committee on 18 January 2012 and Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) joined the Committee on 19 January 2012.

2.1.2 Support Staff

Mr TK Ngoma (Committee Secretary), Ms S Peer (Committee Secretary), Mr S Nene (Committee Researcher), Mr G Mankay (Committee Assistant) and Mr K Matlala (Assistant to Mr D Kekana).

2.1.3 Stakeholders accompanying the Committee

The Committee was accompanied by the Department of Communications, South African Post Office (SAPO), South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), and Sentech.

Day 2 (18 January 2012)

The Committee visited the following entities and projects: (i) NFM Radio Station; Vanrhynsdorp Thusong Centre; (ii) Vanrhynsdorp Post Office; (iii) Sentech; (iv) Vredendal Transmissions Control Centre (TCC); (v) Vredendal Post Office and (vi) Namakwaland Radio Station.

3. Northern Cape & Western Cape

3.1 Radio NFM

The Committee was welcomed by the Station Manager, Mr Brunhild Strauss, and the members of the Board. The Committee was also introduced to one of the radio presenters, Ms Geraldine Joseph, who had obtained training in English and !Nama and is a presenter of kiddie’s programme in !Nama.

3.1.1 Overview of Namakwa Community

Poverty is widespread in this region at 74.96%. The population consists of 7.39% of inhabitants over the age of 65 and 25% under the age of 15. Five per cent of the population has no schooling and only 1.54% has higher education. Thirty six per cent of households are registered as indigent whilst 25% receive social grants, namely child support, disability and old age. Five per cent of households are in informal dwellings and 2.4% in traditional huts; however 91% have access to electricity, rendering only 5 per cent of the community with internet access.

Mining is the largest sector in the community, contributing 52% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of late, there has been a substantial decline of employment in the mining sector. The radio station presented a keen willingness to assist government in preventing such declines. They assented to the fact that tourism would be an advantage in this regard through an integrated and coherent approach by government and the community.

3.1.2 Radio NFM 98.1

Radio NFM 98.1 is a community radio station situated at Okiep, near Springbok in the Northern Cape. It services a total population of approximately 140 000 people. The broadcast area covers land space in Southern Namibia, Namaqualand and the Western Cape. The station broadcasts a variety of programmes 24 hour a day, seven days a week. It broadcasts in Afrikaans, English, !Nama and IsiXhosa. The station is part of the provincial radio forum affiliated to National Community Radio Forum (NCRF).

3.1.3 Radio Programmes

The station has the following programmes:

(i) Current Affairs; (ii) Health and Education; (iii) Women and Youth talk shows; (iv) Indigenous Education (!Nama and IsiXhosa); (v) Economic Development in the Namakwa Region; and (vi) Entertainment (Braaivleis stories).

3.1.4 Successes

The following successes were highlighted: (i) Obtained a 5-year licence from ICASA; (ii) Secured frequency from Sentech; (iii) Obtained funding from MDDA; (iv) Has a positive working relationship with other community radio stations in Northern Cape; (v) Has a mentoring relationship with Eden community radio station; (vi) Capacity exchange programme, partnership with media centre; (vii) Climate change conference with UCT and other South African Development Community (SADC) countries during November 2011; (viii) Covered all budget speeches during 2011; (ix) Marketed the Maloofe World Cup in Namakwa; (x) Conducted various interviews with the President, Ministers, Premier, MECs and local politicians; (xi) Interviewed national and local business people and celebrities; (xii) Annual Teen Choice Awards; (xiii) Gospel Shows; (xiv) Social responsibility programmes; (xv) Broadcasts outside events (festivals, business promotion days, local government outreach, live council meetings, local elections); (xvi) Obtained local sponsorships e.g. Spar, OK, Trek Nissan, Vedanta, Black Mountain and De Beers; and (xvii) Local Programme Production for national media (e.g. RSG).

3.1.5 Challenges

The following challenges were raised: Financial viability: (i) high tariff distribution costs for Sentech: currently the radio station pays R25 000 per month whilst it has a debt of R320 000; (ii) negative cash flow due to late payments from sectoral government departments in the province; (iii) lack of funds for continuous training in the automated, controlled and coordinated financial and information management system; (iv) stipends offered instead of salaries due to lack of income; (v) prescribed fees from government for adverts put constraint on growth; and (vi) no community financial support due to high rate of unemployment. Human Resources: (i) non-adherence to corporate governance by the Board; (ii) needs more effective and motivated staff; and (iii) training needed for staff, management and the Board. Operational: (i) need to obtain additional frequency from ICASA in order to broaden reception area; (ii) there is no support from DoC; (iii) uneven spreading/distribution of government adverts and programmes; (iv) old equipment and maintenance costs are too high; (v) lack of resources to transport movable equipment; (vi) lack of alternative energy resources in the event of power failures; (vii) stronger local government partnerships needs to be formed as well as promotion of public participation of local government services; (viii) there is a need for stronger network due to a lack of understanding of the community radio stations; (ix) opportunities to tender are lacking and need more government programmes as content; and (x) the radio station cannot mitigate the high costs for signal distribution and it will have a direct impact on the station’s footprint coverage. To this end, NFM requested ICASA and Sentech to assist in this regard.

3.1.5 Tour of the station

During the tour, the Committee noted with concern the status of equipment, which is fairly old and outdated, and the continuous power failure.

3.1.6 Recommendation

The Committee recommends that the Department should provide a progress report on the undertakings they made in relation to providing support to the station, whilst ICASA and Sentech should provide a report on the expansion of coverage.

3.2 Vanrhynsdorp Thusong Centre

The Committee was welcomed by the Centre Manager, Ms Joannie Stuurman.

3.2.1 Overview of Centre

The centre provides services to the 6 000 inhabitants of the area. It has various programmes to keep the youth occupied, which include labour and correctional services projects.

USAASA and Cape Access work together to provide services to the community. For example, two unemployed community members were sent for training in community safety and defence.

3.2.2 Challenges

The centre has the following challenges: (i) there is a lack of employment opportunities in the area except for seasonal work on farms; (ii) unemployment contributed to high a level of substance abuse; (iii) there is a definite shortage of funds as the centre requires funding for the completion of the swimming pool; (iv) there is also a shortage of equipment; and (v) clear guidelines are required in respect of who to contact when IT faults are encountered.

3.2.3 Site visit

The Committee was taken on the tour of the centre.

3.2.4 Recommendations

The Committee noted (i) the duplication of roles by USAASA and Cape Access and (ii) non-connectivity of USAASA computers, and recommends that USAASA should provide a detailed report on how it plans to assist the centre and clarify its role in relation to the centre against that of Cape Access.

3.3 Vanrhynsdorp Post Office

The Committee was welcomed by the Regional Manager, Mr Johan Jordan.

3.3.1 Overview of the Post Office

The Retail Postal Outlet has been in existence for close to eight years and has recently been converted to a fully fledged Post Office. It operates under the auspices of an Acting Regional Manager and an Acting Area Manager. It has a total number of 250 boxes, with 85 free boxes. With regard to operational issues, the number of customers served is 6561, with transaction volumes of 6281, and productivity amounts to 94.02% and there are no mail carry over volumes. The Post Office has 1910 postal addresses delivery points, of which 1828 are residential points, 52 business points and 30 flats.

3.3.2 Challenges

The Post Office highlighted the following challenges: (i) no signage boards; (ii) no counter or ramps to assist people living with disabilities; (iii) there are no counter screens to protect staff from possible burglaries; (iv) staff does not have uniform; and (v) the Post Office is not used for pension payouts.

3.3.3 Recommendations

The Committee noted that: (i) ICASA does not perform inspections as required; and (ii) there was no PIT machine and GCIS information stand.

The Committee recommends that: (i) ICASA must comply with its mandate of conducting postal inspections; (ii) the Post Office must urgently fill vacant funded positions within the region; and (iii) the Post Office must comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

3.4 Sentech – Vredendal Transmissions Control Centre (TCC)

The Committee was welcomed by the Regional Manager, Mr Patrick Sikhosana.

3.4.1 Regional overview

Sentech regional office is situated in Cape Town, with four TCCs in Cape Town, George, Vredendal and Upington. The structure has an acting head for the Eastern and Western region; one senior TCC Manager in Cape Town with 22 staff members, one TCC manager in Vredendal with nine staff members, George which has nine staff members, Upington has seven staff members; and one support services manager in the Western region with seven staff members.

3.4.2 Vredendal TCC

Vredendal TCC operates in the North Western part of the country, which includes both the Western Cape and the Northern Cape. Employees are subjected to travel long distances to sites and this occasionally causes a delay in the turnaround time of resolving lodged complaints. Some parts of the region do not receive radio and television signals; however this is being addressed through the rollout of the low-power transmitters.

Sentech’s Vredendal TCC has the following clients: (i) community broadcasters – N FM in Okiep, Springbok and Radio Namakwaland in Vredendal (Vanrhynsdorp); (ii) commercial broadcasters – K FM; and (iii) Public broadcasters – SABC 1, 2 and 3; RSG; SAFM; R2000 (Alexander Bay) and 5 FM (Alexander Bay).

Sentech is currently busy with the expansion of network and coverage for N FM Radio, SABC 1, 2, and 3 and Radio Namakwaland through low-power transmitter sites.

3.4.3 Low-Power Transmission

Sentech has, to date, rolled out and switched on 50 low-power public FM radio and television stations in remote areas where such coverage did not exist previously. Of the 50 sites, eight will be served by the Vredendal Office. This number excludes self-help sites.

3.4.4 Challenges

Sentech presented the following challenges which affect the rollout of low-power transmitters: (i) unavailability of land (to install low-power transmitters and refusal of property owners to co-operate with Sentech to erect transmitters on their properties), infrastructure and energy for the network’s smooth operation; (ii) identified sites for installations are already owned (Municipalities, Department of Public Works and private); (iii) bureaucratic or red tape involved in approval stages of the municipality are slowing the delivery of low-power transmitters; (iv) no site sharing agreements in place with telecoms operators (Telkom, MTN, etc); (v) lack of electric power in targeted areas; (vi) some municipalities view the low-power transmitter project from a commercial point rather than a public service mandate; (vii) broadcast coverage is sparsely spread due to topography challenges; (viii) Information Communications Technologies (ICTs) are not prioritised in the Integrated Development Plan of municipalities; (ix) private land owners charge exorbitant fees to their premises; and (x) Greenfield Network Deployment.

3.4.5 Engagement Model

Sentech highlighted the following engagement model in relation to low-power transmitters: (i) Sentech, the SABC and government have committed 100 low-power transmitters in areas with no television broadcast services; (ii) the local municipalities will serve as a focal point of interaction and engagement; (iii) the Municipal Manager will be the first point of entry in seeking the municipal support; (iv) presentations are being made to affected Municipal Councils to sensitise them about the benefits of the low-power project and specifically Sentech’s mandate; (v) the district residents, like many other communities, deserve to be informed about what is happening nationally and internationally in order to participate in the economic process; and (vi) radio continues to be an important communication tool in district livelihoods, as such it is necessary to bring radio services to the districts as well.

Sentech will reach these targets as it believes that access to information is a constitutional right for all citizens.

3.4.6 Western Cape Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Migration Coverage

Western Cape DTT rollout at launch will be as follows: (i) 13 sites are ready for the launch; (ii) 22 sites are not ready for the launch; and (iii) total population coverage will be at 82.9%.

3.4.7 Committee remarks

Apart from having to travel long distances to attend to technical faults and signal interference, the Committee commended the work done by Sentech in the Vredendal area.

3.5 Vredendal Post Office

The Committee was welcomed by the Regional Manager, Mr Johan Jordan.

3.5.1 Overview of the Vredendal Post Office

The Post Office has a total number of 1 400 boxes. A total of 449 boxes were given to people who do not have delivery addresses for free, and the rest are rented out. The Post Office services about 68 500 clients, with transaction volumes of 117 197 and productivity amounts to 109% with no mail carry over volume.

It has 2 982 delivery points, of which 2 712 are residential points, 140 business points and 130 flats. The Post Office has an occupational safety certificate. The security of the Post Office is administered according to security policies and varies from branch to branch. The Vredendal branch has the standard alarm system with burglar bars and additional security guards on pension days.

3.5.2 Challenges

The Post Office building is not accessible to people living with disabilities, e.g. there are no ramps. Furthermore, there is no counter for people living with disabilities and staff does not have corporate wear (uniforms). Due to a court ruling the community is prevented from drawing pensions from the Post Office.

3.6 Namakwaland Radio

The Committee was welcomed by the Station Manager, Mr Bernard Lamprecht.

3.6.1 Overview of Namakwaland Radio

Namakwaland Radio is a Christian community radio station and has been in existence for 15 years and represents a huge portion of the community. The area in which the station is located has a population of 110 000 and the listernship is 76 000 which is predominantly Afrikaans speaking community, and new residents are often compelled to learn Afrikaans.

The radio station has a one-hour Xhosa programme on Sunday mornings despite the fact that this does not form part of their licence condition. Other programmes relate to news, insurance, health, religious, addressing HIV/AIDS and poverty. Many of these programmes are done in conjunction with government departments. The radio station has 15 freelance presenters.

3.6.2 Challenges

The radio station has filed complaints with ICASA with the intention to resolve the issue of being allocated the same name as the one allocated to NFM radio station in Okiep. The matter was initially raised by the community radio station with the Department. However, there has been no response from the Department.

3.6.3 Recommendations

The Committee recommends that ICASA should investigate the issue of the similar names between NFM and Namakwaland Radio.

Day 3 (19 January 2012)

The Committee visited Citrusdal Post Office and the following projects: Impact News; Atlantis Community Radio; Atlantis Thusong Centre; Bush Radio; Zibonele Community Radio and Dizindaba Newspaper.

3.7 Citrusdal Post Office

The Committee was welcomed by the Regional Manager, Mr Johan Jordan.

3.7.1 Overview of Citrusdal Post Office

The post office has a total number of 500 boxes, with 126 free boxes and 348 are paid. The post office services about 30 319 customers, with transaction volumes of 61 332. Productivity amounts to 158.6% and there are no mail carry over volumes. The post office has 450 postal address delivery points, of which 421 are residential points and 29 business points.

3.7.2 Challenges

The Post Office highlighted the following challenges: (i) they were forced to move out of their rented building due to the lease agreement coming to an end, and have temporarily relocated to SAPO premises; (ii) no funds were available for a major revamp in the 2011 budget; (iii) there is a serious lack of space at the premises, as the space is shared with a spaza shop which has full access to the Post Office; and (iv) employees are subjected to inhumane conditions.

3.7.3 Recommendations

The Committee noted that: (i) the Post Office was filthy; (ii) when the shop closes, the Post Office has to close as well; (iii) there were no emergency exits in the building; (iv) employees were subjected to inhumane conditions; and (v) ICASA had failed to conduct its postal inspection.

The Committee recommends that: (i) an immediate intervention by SAPO to improve the conditions, (ii) the Post Office will be revisited in May 2012 to check on the improved conditions, and (iii) should the Post Office fail to improve, it should be closed down or moved to another location.

3.8 Impact Newspaper

The Committee was welcomed by the Publisher, Mr Peter Lategan, and members of staff.

3.8.1 Overview of Impact 247 Newspaper

Impact 247 serves as the media office of Atlantis, in partnership with Eureka – a non-governmental organisation (NGO) – and Cape Town TV. A total number of 11 000 copies of newspapers are printed, with 150 distribution points. The newspaper is aiming to distribute newspapers to post boxes as well.

3.8.2 MDDA Support

The newspaper received grant funding from the MDDA in September 2011 which resulted in the procurement of the following: (i) personal computers, furniture, cameras and other necessities required for news gathering; (ii) payment of rent, printing and distribution costs for one year; and (iii) payment of stipends for six part-time and freelance staff members.

3.8.3 Objectives

The objectives of the newspaper are to: (i) promote positive living and positive choices, especially amongst the youth; (ii) showcase success stories and positive trends from within these areas; (iii) promote small, micro and medium businesses; (iv) create a culture of entrepreneurial thinking and business-mindedness amongst the youth and the community media at large; (v) engage in several public awareness for change, nuclear energy, responsible usage of resources like water and electricity, education and human rights issues; (vi) address the needs and challenges facing the community, including lack of housing, substance abuse, school drop-outs, teenage pregnancies and other social dilemmas. This will be discussed in a frank, direct manner and challenge local decision makers and politicians where needed; (vii) provide in-depth journalism and commit to give stories a positive spin and investigate ways to turn negative situations around; and (viii) offer training, empowerment and internship opportunities within the various facets of the publication.

3.8.4 Successes to date

The newspaper has achieved the following: (i) it has made a concerted effort to appoint local residents in every facet from the communities it serves; (ii) it makes use of locally based business to provide office furniture, computers and most other equipment and services; (iii) several local residents and professionals make regular contributions to the paper by writing columns and providing news; (iv) positive feedback is received from local police, schools, local councilors and businesses on the quality of content and layout; (v) it has a regular monthly feature called “Straat Praat” where it regularly interviews residents on the streets and features their comments in the monthly publication; and (vi) two ex-Atlantis residents in media, now living in Europe and Dubai respectively, availed their skills to become involved with some of the online facets and writing for the paper.

3.8.5 Key focus areas

The newspaper has the following key focus areas: (i) to address challenges in the community; (ii) to promote debate and dialogue in the community; (iii) to promote historically diminished culture/s and language/s; and (iv) to promote literacy levels and a culture of reading.

3.8.6 Training needs in the project

The newspaper highlighted the following training needs: (i) news-gathering training for junior journalists (ii) selling and marketing skills for the marketing team; (iii) training in desktop publishing and design for the editor and one other staff member; and (iv) editor and staff needs training in IsiXhosa.

3.8.7 Challenges

The newspaper highlighted the following challenges: Printing costs: (i) escalating printing costs on annual basis; (ii) engaging with alternative printers / other possibilities; and (iii) regional “printing entities” are being discussed. Sustainability assistance: (i) at least three years for business to reach sustainability; and (ii) after one year the project would still need to be assisted in terms of printing and distribution. Advertising: (i) the local economy has been hard hit by the ongoing global economic woes and closure of several local employers; (ii) the other local publication (owned by Media24) has been serving its clients for more than twenty years, thus making major in-roads into the existing markets; (iii) long term commitments / contracts; and (iv) Eskom committed but contract outstanding due to moratorium placed on supplier database / verbal agreement.

3.8.8 Committee remarks

The Committee expressed its satisfaction with the overall conditions of the newspaper and services provided to the community.

3.9 Atlantis Community Radio

The Committee was welcomed by the Station Manager, Ms Rachel Watson, and Board members.

3.9.1 Background

Radio Atlantis is a community radio station situated in Atlantis, on the West Coast, about 50 km outside Cape Town. The station was established in 1993 and went on air for the first time in September 1995. It acts as a medium to empower the community in its broadcast area, through education and information and providing a voice to such communities. Its broadcast area currently includes, amongst others, Atlantis, Mamre, Witsand, Pella, Duinefontein, Melkbosstrand, Milnerton, Tableview, Nuwedorp, Darling and all the other surrounding farming areas on the West Coast.

The station broadcasts 24/7 in Afrikaans, English and IsiXhosa. Its community is predominantly black and female. Its programming schedule covers all age groups and all social sectors. The station has a listenership of between 40 000 – 110 000.

3.9.2 Mission Statement

Radio Atlantis acts as a medium to empower the community in its broadcast area, through education and information, and provides a voice and entertainment to such communities and promotes the rights of those who have been denied their basic human right in the past, in particular women and children. It strives to achieve financial sustainability without compromising its social responsibility towards the community in its broadcasting area.

3.9.3 Achievements

The station has the following achievements: Moved to new premises: (i) safer environment; (ii) cost cutting in terms of rent and office space (iii) business revenue; and (iv) community participation. Major Facelift: (i) from shabby to a more professional look; (ii) office furniture; and (iii) electronic equipment. New broadcasting studio: (i) professional look; (ii) good sound quality; (iii) more and improved features; (iv) community visitors; (v) won back old listeners and gained new listeners; and (vi) organisation / business. Improved financial situation: (i) accrued valuable assets (tower, vivid decoder, flat screen TV and recorder); (ii) gained confidence of advertisers and other role players; (iii) payment of staff and debt; and (iv) pays stipend to community volunteers. Structural changes: (i) constitutional amendments; (ii) new Board reflecting community organizations; (iii) regular Annual General Meetings; (iv) 47 volunteers and 45 friends of Radio Atlantis; and (v) has a staff compliment of three. Visibility in community: (i) attendance at meetings and events; (ii) sponsored volunteers as hosts / MCs and DJs; (iii) crime accident scenes; (iv) partnered with community organizations (on historical events); and (v) support to the labour movement on citizens’ rights matters. Socio economic: (i) voter education; (ii) relocation of Social Services; (iii) dumping site; (iv) revival and restructuring of Atlantis Youth Development Forum and Family in Focus; (v) successes of the South African Police Service regarding crime prevention; (vi) creating awareness: female condom march in October 2011 and HIV/AIDS march on 1 December 2011; (vii) wheelchair sponsorship to the physically disabled; (viii) cancer relay event; (ix) Atlantis Cape Town Arts and Cultural Festival; and (x) provides matriculants with bursaries.

3.9.4 Challenges

The station has the following short-term and long-term challenges: Short-term: (i) to find a home for Radio Atlantis; (ii) to obtain a tax clearance certificate; (iii) to find a sponsor for the upgrading of the production studio; (iv) to improve working conditions for volunteers and staff; (v) to improve communication with government departments; (vi) to create a database: bursars for the youth; (vii) to have a vehicle for the station; and (vii) no support from the City of Cape Town. Long-term: (i) Media Training Centre; (ii) Radio Atlantis newsletter; (iii) Community TV; and (iv) history project: books / documentary.

3.9.5 Committee remarks

The Committee requested the MDDA to assist the station to comply with its funding requirement for a community radio station.

3.10 Haartebeeskraal Thusong Service Centre

The Committee was welcomed by the Centre Manager, Mrs Julie Mentoor.

3.10.1 Overview of the centre

The centre was established in 1996 as a training unit in the information communication technologies. It operates from Monday to Friday from 09:00 to 21:00. It has a general service counter, a tele-centre and an Internet kiosk.

3.10.2 Functions of the centre

The centre provided the following services: (i) ICT training to 5 400 learners including career guidance and job seekers; (ii) Internet access for bursaries, employment, tenders and general information; (iii) CVs, typing and laminations; (iv) photography for the centre newsletter; (v) distributer of the Vukuzenzele; (vi) webmaster of ; and (vii) designer of Atlantis TV.

3.10.3 Challenges

The centre has the following challenges: (i) uncertainty of the future of the programme (USAASA vs Cape Access); (ii) the Western Cape government withdrew its funding for the centre; and (iii) due to unavailability of a 24-hour security system, the ICT infrastructure is not safe.

3.10.4 Committee remarks

The Committee noted with concern the planned takeover of the centre by the City of Cape Town and the provincial Department of Local Government. The Committee commended the centre for providing universal access to the Atlantis community.

3.11 Bush Radio Community Radio

The Committee was welcomed by the Station Manager, Ms Brenda Leonard.

3.11.1 Overview of the radio station

Bush Radio was officially formed in 1992. After repeatedly applying for a broadcast licence to the apartheid government in 1992, the station decided to broadcast illegally. Both the chairperson of the Board and the coordinator were arrested. The case was withdrawn in 1994.

3.11.2 Operations

Operational activities include: (i) broadcasting; (ii) upliftment projects (YAA, plastic covers, St Anne’s Home); (iii) scholarships (staff, volunteers and students); and (iv) training (internships, SACRADE attachments) Human Potential Development (CREW, MKK). The station broadcasts 24/7 with a 60% talk and 40% music split. It has 27 news bulletins that amount to 130 minutes per day.

3.11.3 Sustainability

The station has diverse sources of income. Advertising forms 50% of income, sponsorship is another form of income but no sponsorship of news is accepted. Donors/grants provide income for some of the social upliftment projects such as CREW, Media Kidocracy Konference (annual) and the school HIV and AIDS Education Project. Other income sources include fundraising, selling of merchandise, training fees, internship fees and services provided, which include outside broadcasting, administration and management fees for projects.

3.11.4 Station’s projects

The station has the following projects which are developed to serve the community better or more directly: (i) Children’s Radio Education Workshop and school media clubs; (ii) Media Kidocracy Konference; (iii) Annual 16 Days of Activism; (iv) buy nothing day against commercialism; (v) women and technology; (vi) voices of change with struggle veterans; (vii) Matric revision programme with Western Cape Education Department; and (viii) Media Connection Vodacom Community Funny Festival.

3.11.5 Challenges

The station highlighted the following challenges: (i) Sentech high signal distribution tariff costs; (ii) Southern Africa Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) charges extensive calculation fees and mechanical rights; (iii) South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) is not producing expected research results for community media; and (iv) political pressure from different political organizations monopolises current affairs programmes.

3.11.6 Possible solutions

The station proposed that : (i) a certain percentage of advertising revenue be used for training/development of community media; (ii) government must commit to use 30% of advertising revenue on community media; (iii) the Department provide clear indications on community radio station subsidies and improve communication with the stations; (iv) the Department provide an annual grant for community media and review pricing/levies for community media with Sentech, SAMRO and Universal Service Access Fund; and (v) in respect of compliance, problem areas should be identified and a programme of action should be developed and implemented, for example SARS – tax amnesty period for community media.

3.11.7 Committee remarks

The Committee expressed its satisfaction with the way the radio station has maintained itself.

3.12 Zibonele Community Radio

The Committee was welcomed by Mr Mzamo Ngomana, Station Manager.

3.12.1 Overview of the radio station

Radio Zibonele was established in 1993 in Khayelitsha as a home-made radio station. It broadcasts from the heart of Khayelitsha, 24 hours a day and comprises talk and music. Its content is derived from the community. It employs 19 full-time employees and seven volunteers. It trains 10 young people from the community yearly, providing skills in sound and radio broadcasting.

3.12.2 Government support

GCIS supports the station with content through government programmes and these include the state-of-the-nation address; talk to your minister; special programmes from other departments; and adverts for campaigns. The station received programme production of R292 000 from the MDDA of which the contract is pending under themes such as women talk shows; functions of government talk shows; HIV/AIDS mini drama; and women’s drama show. The station has received an amount of R116 000 as a first payment. At the time, the station did not have a working relationship with the Department.

3.12.3 Challenges

The station highlighted the following challenges: (i) government still controls the advertising rates of the station; (ii) the station was receiving a minimal fund from GCIS as opposed to the station’s rate card; (iii) the Western Cape Provincial Government utilises the station but did not provide any funds; and (iv) due to lack of space on the current premises, the station was unable to proceed with a skills development drive.

3.12.4 Committee remarks

The Committee expressed its satisfaction with the manner in which the radio station is run. The radio station was generally well organised, had smart offices and provided maximum service to the community.

3.13 Dizindaba Newspaper

The Committee was welcomed by the Publisher, Mr Mzwandile Ed Mangxaba.

3.13.1 Overview of the newspaper

Dizandaba News venture became a reality through the assistance of the MDDA. It is the only IsiXhosa newspaper in Cape Town and is a means of overcoming language barriers. The target market is non-educated and poor people. The newspaper was named after an old Xhosa man, Dizamahlembo. Diza means to reveal, hence its name.

Generally, one copy of the newspaper is being read by 25 people in informal settlements. This newspaper is unique because it serves as a source of information and news to migrants. It covers stories about migrants in the Eastern Cape.

3.13.2 Challenges

The following challenges were highlighted: (i) only 10 000 copies are printed mainly due to lack of staff and funding; (ii) advertisements are going predominantly to big, well established newspapers; and (iii) state-owned enterprises do not support community media through the placement of advertisements.

3.13.3 Committee remarks

The Committee noted that the newspaper was encountering transformational problems.

Day 4 (20 January 2012)

The Committee visited Cape Town Television, Sentech and ICASA regional offices in Cape Town. After the visits, the Committee held a stakeholders meeting at the Cape Sun Hotel.

3.14 Cape Town Television (CTV)

The Committee was welcomed by Ms Karen Thorne, CTV Station Manager.

3.14.1 Overview of CTV

CTV was initiated by a group of arts and media organisations, including Arts and Media Access Centre (AMAC), Mediaworks, Bush Radio, Community Video Education Trust (CVET), Workers World Media Productions (WWMP) and Public Eye. Many of the individuals associated with CTV were instrumental in developing a policy and regulatory framework for community TV since the early 90's. The station is concerned with the direction that community TV is taking in practice which represents a departure from the original intent enshrined in broadcasting legislation.

3.14.2 Purpose

The purpose of the station is to: (i) strengthen civil society and give people a voice; (ii) promote human rights and social justice; (iii) promote participatory democracy and sustainable development; (iv) provide training and job opportunities in the television industry; (v) promote local language and culture; (vi) promote freedom of expression and the right to communicate; (vii) promote access to information and education; and (viii) promote social cohesion and common purpose.

3.14.3 Structure

CTV has the following structure: (i) it is owned and controlled by the community through a democratic, representative structure with civil society organisations qualifying as members; (ii) its members include NGOs and community-based organisations (CBOs) as well as sports, labour, education, arts and media organisations; (iii) these sectors have equal representation on the board which is elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM); and (iv) CTV engages with members on policy and programming matters.

3.14.4 Operations

CTV has the following operations: (i) it was launched in September 2006 by over 100 NGOs and went on air in September 2009; (ii) it broadcasts 24 hours a day to a monthly cumulative viewership of 1,5 million viewers, largely based on the Cape Flats; (ii) it employs a total of 32 staff (including interns) and it engages up to 100 volunteers per annum in various capacities; and (iii) it has its own office space but utilises studios owned by partners such as AFDA and the University of the Western Cape (UWC). However, this is not a suitable arrangement and the station is trying to raise funds to set up its own studio.

3.14.5 Community participation

The community participates in the station as follows: (i) individual community members submit "community-generated content", host talk shows in open studio and apply for volunteer posts; (ii) civil society organisations influence policies and programming, participate in programme production and have access to TV studios; (iii) independent producers produce independent and co-productions for/with CTV; (iv) in relation to community radio, CTV aims to build the capacity of community radio stations to produce content for CTV, in particular CTV News; (v) Educational Institutions: Work with CTV to develop educational content, submit student films, students work on CTV productions, place interns at CTV; (vi) government: 5% airtime set aside for government programming and (vii) religious organisations: 10% airtime set aside for religious content.

3.14.6 Business model

CTV has the following business model: (i) CTV is a non-profit organisation with all profits ploughed back into the station; (ii) the station has no private investors as it is believed that this would threaten the non-commercial orientation of the channel; (iii) CTV derives revenue from advertising (10%,) donations and sponsorship (40%), airtime sales (40%) and community donations and sundry income (10%); and (iv) diverse revenue streams ensure that no one source of funding dominates and therefore exerts undue influence.

3.14.7 Challenges

The station has the following challenges: Sustainability: (i) CTV is critically under-funded, making it difficult to fulfil its mandate; (ii) CTV has not received sufficient support for infrastructure costs despite the fact that it costs around R2 million to set up a community TV station; (iii) CTV only receives approximately R1 million per annum from the MDDA; (iv) CTV’s repeated appeals to the Department to subsidise transmission costs have been ignored; (v) the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) does not consider community TV to be part of their mandate; (vi) CTV has not received any support from the local or provincial government; (vii) The GCIS has recently started to advertise on CTV, which is a positive development; (viii) CTV is still paying unacceptably high signal distribution tariff costs of R67 000 per month; and (ix) Community TV stations cannot be expected to generate more than a third of their revenues out of advertising and certainly not in the first two to three years. Policy and Regulatory Issues: (i) regulatory uncertainty in the first three years had a debilitating effect on the channel; (ii) ongoing lack of clarity on CTVs inclusion in the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) creates further insecurity; (iii) poor licensing procedures have resulted in the failure of many community stations which has made community TV stations vulnerable to commercial take-over; and (iv) CTV is being moved to new analogue frequency in March 2012 to make way for DTT.

3.14.8 CTV Recommendations

CTV recommended as follows: (i) CTV needs at least R3 million annual baseline funding from the MDDA; (ii) the Department should subsidise the transmission costs of CTV with immediate effect; (iii) the Department should provide support for technical infrastructure costs for community TV; (iv) Community TV must be enshrined in DTT. Community TV should be carried through a "must-carry obligation" on DTT. Government should carry the cost of CTV to be carried on multiplex 1 as an incentive channel during the dual illumination period; (v) CTV has requested urgent support from the Department to launch a community awareness campaign prior changing frequencies to avoid a crippling loss of viewers; (vi) government should allocate 30% of advertising revenue on community media; and (vii) the above provisions should only apply to genuine, non-profit community broadcasters under the advice of the MDDA.

3.14.9 Committee remarks

The Committee noted the recommendations of CTV and will continue to engage.

3.15 Sentech Regional Offices (Milnerton)

The Committee was welcomed by the Regional Manager, Mr Patrick Sikhosana.

3.15.1 Regional overview

Sentech regional office is situated in Cape Town, with four operation centres in Cape Town, George, Vredendal and Upington. The structure has an acting head for the Eastern and Western region; one senior TCC Manager in Cape Town with 22 staff members, one TCC manager in Vredendal with nine staff members, George which has nine staff members, Upington with seven staff members; and one support services manager in the Western region with seven staff members.

3.15.2 Operations

Cape Town TCC provides services to the following clients: (i) Community Broadcasters: Fine music radio, Voice of the Cape, Cape TV, Radio 786, Radio Tygerberg, CCFM, Radio Weskus, Bush radio, Radio KC and Radio Helderberg; (ii) Regional Broadcasters: KFM, Heart FM, Radio Good Hope and Radio Algoa; (iii) BTV: Spur Group ( taste FM), Lewis group, Pick ‘n Pay ( fresh FM) and Clicks; and (iv) Facility Rental: Altech Netsar, Amobia Comms, ATNS, CellC, City of Cape Town, Digital mobile radio, Emergency medical services, Eskom, G7 renewable energies, Ibanza, IR Pope, Lazer Comms, MTN, Radio lady, RFG Comms, SA paramedics, SA Weather service, Safe security, SAPS, SANDF, Swiftnet, Telkom, Tracker, Transner, Vodacom, and WISPA

There are also current interventions which include expansion of network for Fine Music Radio and Heart Radio; expansion of coverage for Voice of the Cape and Radio West Coast; and currently mitigation of costs are being undertaken in respect of Cape TV.

3.15.3 Recommendations

The Committee noted that there is no task team in place, comprising of Sentech, ICASA and SABC as it was recommended on the previous oversights and recommends that a task team needs to be established as a matter of urgency.

3.16 ICASA Regional Offices (Cape Town)

The Committee was welcomed by the Regional Manager, Dr Mark Ramsay. However, the Committee could not meet with the staff on 8 February 2012 due to the fact that they were on industrial strike and met with them on 15 May 2012.

3.16.1 Overview of ICASA regional office

ICASA is governed by the ICASA Act, Electronic Communications Act (ECA), Interception and Monitoring Act and Postal Services Act. It is governed by a council, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and executive management. ICASA has its Head office in Sandton and has regional offices in Durban, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Bloemfontein, with staff varying between nine and 14 per region.

3.16.2 The Western Cape region is responsible for the following services: Public Consumer Education: (i) Consumer Education offers report directly to the Head Office Consumer Division. The regions provide logistic support; (ii) All Consumer Complaints are logged in head office and attended to from there; (iii) visit schools and other institutions for public educational presentations and workshops; and (iv) take part in Community Radio talk shows relating to Consumer issues. Postal Compliance: (i) postal inspectors report to Regional Managers; (ii) perform Retail Post Office inspections to verify licence condition compliance; (iii) perform postal depot inspections to verify compliance with licence conditions; (iv) receive and investigate postal consumer complaints; and (v) perform unreserved postal service inspections ( courier companies). Licensing Compliance: (i) activities by this section include process assigned and pre-assigned license applications; (ii) do radio dealer and alarm company audits; (iii) do type approval inspections; (iv) tracing and stealing of unlicensed equipment; (v) issue permits to have unlicensed equipment; (vi) perform data Integrity Verification to enhance data on the Spectrum system. Cospas-Sarsat system for beacon; (vii) issue MMSI ( Maritime mobile Service Identity) numbers for ships and EPIRBS ( Emergency position indication radio beacon); (viii) enter maritime certificate data into the Spectrum system; (ix) generate and prepare the RRT (Restricted radio telephone operators and GMDSS (Global system) certificates; and (x) certificates are in process of being handed to SAMSA. Spectrum compliance: (i) receive and log interference complaints from licensees; (ii) do interference investigations; (iii) based on urgency and priority; (iv) trace/locate illegal radio users; (v) do high-site checks to verify license conditions; (vi) do new site commissioning; (vii) assisting SAPS with investigations; and (viii) RMA unit for mobile remote access. Enforcement: (i) type approval compliance checks; (ii) labelling compliance checks; (iii) enforcement of communication acts and regulations with respect to illegal users and equipment; (iv) initiate legal actions against perpetrator; (v) attend court as expert witnesses; and (vi) examples of illegal apparatus include a four channel blocker for large areas, a three channel blocker unit for small areas, bugging devices, GPS/tracker jammer that plugs into vehicle cigarette lighter socket and optical keyhole spy viewer with wireless screen Involvements: (i) Stakeholder relations include radio dealers such as Lazer Communications, Vertel Systems, IR Pope, all repeater system licensees; also Sentech, Telkom, SA Post Office, SAMSA, SA Police Service providers- Vodacom, etc; and (ii) the Cape Town office has been directly involved with development of databases catering for Interference, Licensing, MMSI numbers, Certification, Query logging, etc, assisting SAMSA in locating boat owners in cases of accidents at sea, assisting SAPS with identification and analyzing of radio apparatus seized at road blocks and assisting SA army to locate illegal installations on their remote sites.

3.16.3 Challenges

The following challenges were highlighted: (i) keeping up to date with new technologies through ongoing training for staff; (ii) having technology relevant test equipment; (iii) not having to borrow equipment from stakeholders to perform investigations; (iv) reaching the goal of envisaged 1-stop shop at regional level through automated systems; (v) ability for public to obtain information on the ICASA website in a user-friendly manner; (vi) improved credibility through increased visibility in media; and (vii) budget constraints.

3.16.4 Meeting with ICASA employees Introduction

The meeting was attended by the following Members of Parliament; Mr SE Kholwane, Ms S Tsebe, Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen, Mr D Kekana and Ms R Morotua. Support Staff: Ms S Peer, Mr S Nene, Ms N Diya, Mr K Matlala, Ms R Davids and Mr F Deysel. Matters raised by employees: (i) no regional strategy for postal services and consumer awareness campaign, only one person responsible for postal inspection of 190 Post Offices, unreserved postal services and 200 courier companies in the Province; (ii) Peace Officer training for inspectors based on the ruling by a court in Nelson Mandela Bay; (iii) there is insufficient parking for the company vehicles fitted with monitoring equipment, and as a result, they use road side parking in Strand Street; (iv) there is no marketing and awareness strategy for ICASA, and as a result, before any field work inspection can be conducted, they have to educate people about who they are; (v) ICASA does not have the required monitoring equipment for network interferences, and therefore have to borrow it from mobile operators; (vi) the province is too vast and there are very few staff to cover it; (vii) although part of the reason to relocate the regional office was to make it accessible, the statistics prove otherwise especially on walk-in customers and the general public; (viii) management is reluctant to assess staff for performance and staff often have to push them; (ix) alleged undue interference by the Senior Managers on the inspection activities that are carried out in the Province; and (x) no continuous update or in-service training offered to keep the staff abreast of legislation, policies and regulation changes.

The Regional Manager responded that: (i) the relocation was on the advice of auditors so that the office could be accessible but conceded that the objective could not be achieved, and was in the process of looking for another office space that will suit their needs, (ii) there was a delay in the assessment of staff performance but this would be rectified, (iii) the peace officer training for inspectors was budgeted for in the 2012/2013 financial year, (iv) there was no marketing strategy for the province; and (v) the current legislation had limited the powers of inspectors to confiscate illegal goods or those not type approved.

The Committee noted the following recommendation by staff: (i) establishment of a unit that would be responsible for keeping them abreast on legislative, policy and regulation changes, (ii) the regional strategic plan and budget should encompass all divisions in the region, and (iii) increase of staff to have impact on their work.

3.16.5 Recommendations

The Committee noted that: (i) the relocation of the regional office was informed by the findings of the internal auditor on the security of its assets; however no proper due diligent work was done by management in relation to their requirement; (ii) the relocation process has created considerable suspicion among staff that this might have benefited individuals, and (iii) the regional mangers seem not to have much delegated powers to run the regions.

The Committee, therefore, recommends that: (i) the relocation process of the regional office should be investigated to deal with the suspicions, (ii) a comprehensive report on the impact of the legislation on the work of inspectors in particular powers to confiscate illegal equipment, should be compiled (iii) the delegation of powers to regions should be reviewed, and (iv) consultation with the employees should be undertaken as they are in the process of looking for another office space. In future ICASA must address the matter internally with all employees before any relocation is undertaken.

Having noted the issues raised by the employees in the region, the Committee further recommends that the Regional Manager should submit a detailed report on the lease agreement including a breakdown of rental costs inclusive of parking areas before 31 July 2012.

4. Stakeholders meeting

The Committee concluded its oversight visit by holding roundtable discussions with representatives of the community media and the following issues were raised:

4.1 Financial sustainability

This was a challenge for both community print and broadcasting. The concern was around the attitude of advertising industry, towards the community media. The challenge is the improper statistical allocation of the Audit Bureau of Circulation for community print media and the allegedly incorrect listernship statistics by the South African Advertising and Research Foundation (SAARF) which has a huge impact on attracting advertisers.

4.2 Signal distribution

The community broadcasters indicated that the tariffs for signal distribution by Sentech were unaffordable and requested a review of the tariffs in line with the provision of the Electronic Communications Act (ECA).

4.3 Training and development

Whilst acknowledging the role played or continues to be played by MDDA, it was requested that the funding model of the MDDA should be reviewed so that more funds could be made available for training and development.

5. Overall Recommendations

The Committee recommends: (i) an immediate establishment of the task team comprising Sentech, SABC, ICASA and the Department in the Western Cape to develop an integrated framework for rolling out low-power transmitters; (ii) that Sentech should have a timeline on the finalisation of the tariffs review in line with the Electronic Communication Act; (iii) that SAPO should provide a timeline on the replacement of non-functioning PITs or an alternative model; (iv) that MDDA should develop a strategy on how community radio stations that experience continuous power failures will be assisted through the provision of alternative sources of energy; and (v) that the Minister in the Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation should consult with the National Treasury on the possibility of getting additional funding for the MDDA.

Report to be considered.


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