R/€ = 14.49
R/$ = 10.50
Au 1294.90 $/oz
Pt 1407.50 $/oz
Sep 27, 2001
Telecoms Bill ‘out of step’ with industryBack
Information Industry South Africa|Reuters|SBC Communications|System|South Africa|United States|Information Technology Organisations|Information TechnologynOrganisations|Online Telecommunications|Telecommunications Bodies|Telecommunications Industry|Adrian Schofield|AdriannSchofield|Edwin Thompson|Mike Van Den Bergh|Sizwe Nxasana|Teryl Schroenn|Information Technology
© Reuse this EN Online Telecommunications Release/reuters The draft Telecommunications Amendment Bill, which is to be the subject of public hearings in Parliament next week, has been universally condemned by telecommunications bodies, information technology organisations and business representatives.
They claim that the Bill ignores the consultative process which preceded it and that it is out of step with industry and South African needs. Drafting of the Amendment Bill comes at a crucial time for the long-term development of the telecommunications industry, especially in the light of Telkom’s upcoming IPO. The proposed legislation, industry representatives said, had surprised most observers and has been formulated in stark contrast to the newly implemented process of liberalisation.
Telkom CE Sizwe Nxasana told Reuters that failure to improve the draft before it is adopted would affect anticipated telecoms investments, estimated by industry analysts at up to R32-billion next year.
South Africa is due next year to list about 20% of Telkom, license a second national fixed-line operator and sell most of its 24% stake in mobile group M-Cell. Nxasana said that the final Act should be constitutional in all its respects, and that it should continue to enhance South Africa's institutions of democracy by establishing clear roles and relationships, clear functions and facilities-based aspects of the new competitive phase.
He added that the Act must further be incisive in its definitions to provide the largest possible measure of certainty about concepts and intentions, not only for legal drafting and academic purposes, but because the industry, the regulator and the justice and arbitration system all depend on the sharpness of those definitions to succeed in their endeavours.
“Finally, the Act must designate and grant clear rights and entitlements but similarly prescribe clear prohibitions and deterrents so that all stakeholders have the least doubt possible about their roles and rights in the market place of the new and liberalising phase,” he said.
Telkom is already 30% owned by SBC Communications of the US and Telekom Malaysia.
In addition, South African Value Added Network Service Association chairperson Mike van den Bergh expressed disappointment that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s recommendations regarding VANS and VPNs had been totally ignored by the Bill. He said this showed contempt for the industry regulator and raised serious questions about the intent of the drafting of the Bill. This view is also shared by the Internet Service Providers Association co-chairperson Edwin Thompson, who said,”It is extremely disappointing that the Bill ignores a number of the rulings by Icasa”.
He added that the uncertainty, confusion and litigation that has enveloped the industry since its inception is bound to continue to the detriment of investors and all South African users of Internet and other services. “This uncertainty will continue to frustrate innovation and investment in the roll-out of new services,” he said.
Information Technology Association president Teryl Schroenn also noted that it is imperative that government becomes more responsive to the ongoing calls from the South African information communication technology industry for legislation that will enable, rather than inhibit the development of the national economy. “The legislation, as proposed, does not adequately answer this call,” said Schroenn.
President of Information Industry South Africa president Adrian Schofield commented that implementation of the Bill would result in a Telkom monopoly over the critical computer and telecommunications equipment and services industry. This, he said, “would cause immediate and major harm to the South African economy, and would deny South African consumers and businesses the undisputed benefits of competition in the provision of this equipment by raising prices, restricting consumer choice, and stifling innovation”. © Reuse this Comment Guidelines
Other ICT News
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...