Communications minister Dina Pule and the ICT Policy Review Panel held its inaugural meeting on 24 and 25 January 2013 in Pretoria, starting the process of assessing the policy environment from 1994 to date.
The department of oommunications (DoC) said that the purpose of the meeting was to “enable the panel and the department of communications to map out the scope of work for the panel; delineate responsibilities; design a strategic approach to tackling the ICT policy review process; and address administrative issues”.
The panel agreed on a three-phase approach to its work:
- The first phase will focus on assessing the policy environment from 1994 to date. The outcome of this phase will be a policy review report.
- The second phase focuses on the development of a discussion document which will form part of the green paper process which takes into consideration an integrated approach to address convergence of ICT services.
- The third phase will focus on creating a new ICT policy framework moving toward the white paper on ICT Policy.
“This meeting has laid a firm foundation for the department as it works on developing a green paper and later, a white paper on integrated national ICT policy,” the DoC said in a press statement.
”We are firmly on track to deliver the ICT policy that will propel the country into the next level of economic growth while improving the quality of services the state delivers to the citizens,” said Pule.
This latest initiative follows numerous other similar initiatives by the communications ministry to get its head around the issue of ICT policies.
In April 2012 the DoC hosted a national ICT policy colloquium in Midrand, with the aim of “starting a process of reviewing all the government ICT policies that have been in existence since 1994”.
It is not clear whether the national ICT policy colloquium’s decisions are now redundant, or whether the ICT policy review panel will build on the decisions from this colloquium.
It is also not clear whether the decisions made at the DoC’s 2005 telecoms colloquiums – which included increasing competition through licensing, spectrum assignment and local loop unbundling – will influence the panel’s plans.