Nyanda slammed for Icasa draft bill
Jul 18, 2010 12:00 AM | By CAIPHUS KGOSANA
A draft bill that proposes substantial changes in the structure and operations of electronics communications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), has been slammed as an attempt by the minister to erode the independence of the regulator.
The Icasa Amendment Bill, quietly released by minister of communications Siphiwe Nyanda late last month for public comment, has industry players fearing for the independence of the regulator.
But the ministry said the bill was only in its beginning stages and its contents could be influenced by public input.
It proposes, among others, that the chief executive position at Icasa be scrapped and replaced with that of a chief operations officer. It directs the regulator to implement certain policy directives issued by the minister
, while the regulator's chairman and councillors are required by the bill to "perform such functions as the minister may determine, subject to prior notification given to parliament"
It also gives the minister - in consultation with parliament - the power to nominate members of Icasa's compliance and complaints committee, which is responsible for ensuring that broadcasters comply with legislation and broadcast regulations.
DA communications spokesman Lindiwe Mazibuko said her party would fight any attempts by the minister to erode the independence of the regulator.
Juli Killian, COPE communications spokesman, said it was interesting that the bill was being introduced shortly after Nyanda tabled a proposal that gave him and the department too much control over the affairs of the public broadcaster.
Icasa refused to comment.