South Africa moves to establish new ‘super-regulator’

16 Dec 2020

As part of its ongoing commitment to rationalise government entities under its state-owned enterprises (SOE) plan, South Africa’s Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has announced plans to streamline a number of prominent bodies, including telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority South Africa (ICASA). MyBroadband cites the government department as saying: ‘The state signal distributor SENTECH will be merged with Broadband Infraco to form one state broadband infrastructure company. Domain name authority ZADNA, the Film and Publications Board, and ICASA will merge to form one regulator.’ Additionally, the ‘Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa will be repurposed to establish a state-owned digital fund company,’ it said.

The online journal goes on to point out that the President has signed performance agreements with all his Cabinet ministers, outlining the targets they will have to meet. These reportedly include:

• 80% of the population must have access to the internet by 2024

• policy direction in relation to 5G must be issued by December 2021

• a reduction in the cost of data must be achieved

• monitoring of ICASA and ensuring that the regulator is adequately resourced to license 4G spectrum

• repositioning of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) to drive the use of local technologies

• completion of decoder rollout and switching-off analogue transmitters for the Broadcasting Digital Migration project by 2021, and rearranging of spectrum radio frequencies

• release of special dividend by 2023.