ICASA suspends public hearings due to coronavirus

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has announced several changes to its day-to-day business to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“In view of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday, 15 March 2020, ICASA has activated the crisis management initiatives as required by the organisation’s Business Continuity Policy to ensure its preparedness to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” ICASA said.

As part of the precautionary measures, the Authority has suspended all public hearings and visits to its premises from local and international persons.

It further said it would reduce face-to-face meetings by “encouraging the use of telephones, email correspondence, and video- or teleconferencing in lieu of in-person gatherings, particularly for meetings with clients or stakeholders”.

Walk-ins are suspended until further notice and consumers are asked to send their queries to [email protected], while all other enquiries can be forwarded to [email protected].

Applications for type-approval

Additionally, ICASA said it will not accept applications and equipment that accompany applications for type-approval from individuals.

“Applicants are therefore requested not to send any equipment to ICASA, when the need arises for equipment to be submitted, the applicant will be informed by an ICASA official to submit.”

It recommended applicants use its online service to submit type-approval applications.

“All other applications such as the expected pre-registrations for community broadcasting services have been extended from 31 March 2020 to 30 April 2020,” ICASA stated.

It said it will continue to monitor and assess the situation over the next four weeks.

Travel limits

With regards to travel by its staff, ICASA announced the following measures:

  • Suspension of all forms of international and domestic travel from 17 March 2020 to 17 April 2020.
  • All essential domestic air travel to be undertaken will be dealt with on a case-to-case basis.
  • All employees who have travelled and entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February have been asked to present themselves for testing.

ICASA CEO Willington Ngwepe said that the virus could result in delays in ICASA’s turnaround times.

“ICASA is in full support of government initiatives in curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic; but we will endeavour to adhere to our turn- around times as contemplated in our respective divisional standard operating procedures. Any other delays will be communicated on time to our respective stakeholders,” Ngwepe said.

Now read: 116 cases of coronavirus now in South Africa

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ICASA suspends public hearings due to coronavirus