Chairperson, Deputy President, Ministers and Deputy Ministers who are here, my colleagues, Members of Parliament, and everyone also who might be here, this is the report on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Amendment Bill, as agreed upon by the committee, on whose behalf I will present the report. Various parties are then going to make declarations.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act is being amended for the second time now. The first time it was amended was in 2006 when it was integrating due to the convergence of technology and postal services with the work of the regulator. More importantly, the strategic focus at this time was to recognise the technological and other services that related to developments in the field of broadcasting and telecommunications, as convergence was moving at a very fast pace.
Despite the fact that the Department of Communications has engaged in the overhaul of the information and communications technology policy review - the mandate of the 53rd ANC National Conference in Mangaung was that we should review our policies - this Bill focuses only on technical amendments around the operation and functioning of the regulator.
Due to the fact that an ICT policy review is currently under way, we have agreed to defer some of the matters to the Policy Review Panel. Amongst those issues there is the creation and operation of the Spectrum Management Agency, as indicated in the context of the Amendment Bill that was published for public comment in July 2012. We have also deferred the working and structure of the Complaints and Compliance Commission of Icasa. We have also deferred the provision that addressed the ownership, control, structure, duties and powers of the Icasa council to the policy review processes.
In regards to section 1, all that this Bill does is to realign the definitions with regard to the new status quo according to ICT. The Bill seeks to ensure in section 4 that there is harmony on matters of electronic transactions, whilst it seeks to ensure in sections 17(a) to (e) that where need be, the regulator can have a concurrent jurisdiction agreement with other government or state entities.
The Bill also deals with power relations between the Minister and the regulator. As we all know, their relations were previously not clearly defined in the legislation. It further deals with the issue of international experts where the regulator needs to be advised in regard to handling certain regulations. Those are the major areas on which we focused and which are important in order to streamline and outline the work of the regulator whilst we wait for the overhauling of the policy in the ICT sector itself.
I must indicate that dealing with this Bill has not been an easy road. I must bow to the ANC members in the committee who managed, on their own and without the opposition parties, to hold public hearings and to listen to those people who wanted to make submissions. I was not surprised at all the hiccups before I could introduce this Bill. Other members of the committee tried by every means possible to prevent the Bill from going through, because it is far-reaching in regard to ensuring that the regulator focuses on what it is supposed to do - particularly on ensuring that, amongst other things, lower costs in communicating become a reality in this country.
I wish to thank all the members of the committee, including the opposition, the ruling party, the staff, the State Law Advisor, the legal services, and everyone who supported us through this process. Indeed, it was not an easy process, as I have indicated. However, we managed to execute and finalise our task as was expected. I also thank the former Minister, Dina Pule, the current Minister, Yunus Carrim, the Deputy Minister and the Director- General of the Department of Communications, as well as the officials who supported us during the processing of this Bill.
Therefore, I would like to put this Bill before the House and request that it be adopted. Thank you very much.
There was no debate.