DOC, DTPS to merge after 2019 general election

26 Nov 2018

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the Department of Communications (DOC) and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) will be merged after the forthcoming 2019 general election, TechCentral writes. Ramaphosa was cited as saying: ‘I have decided to merge [DOC and DTPS] into a single ministry under a new minister of telecommunications and communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams … This will ensure we have better alignment and coordination of matters that are critical to the future of our economy.’

TeleGeography notes that the two units were created in 2014 after then president Jacob Zuma issued a proclamation which split the ‘old’ Department of Communications (DoC), which was responsible for development of government policies and legislation, into two separate entities. In October 2014 Zuma gazetted a new proclamation, which finally set out the responsibilities of the two departments, under which both departments were given an oversight role over the ICASA, with the administration, powers and functions set out in the ICASA Act of 2000 and the Broadcasting Act (1999) transferred to the DOC, while the DTPS took control of the 2005 ECA and the Postal Services Act of 1998. Democratic Alliance MP Marian Shinn commented: ‘The split in the department is one of the major causes of delays in digital migration as the executive authority for the programme was in one ministry and the enabling entities reported to another. This led to communication problems and inadequate oversight.’