The Democratic Alliance has filed an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act (Paia) seeking access to the minutes of every meeting held by the council of communications regulator Icasa since May this year.
This is after Icasa failed to post these to its website as required under the Icasa Amendment Act which came into effect on 10 May.
“There is no sign of minutes on the website,” says DA MP Marian Shinn. “In one respect, this is unsurprising as the website is poorly maintained. The names of the four Icasa councillors whose terms were summarily suspended by the minister of communications in October are still listed as councillors. A councillor since February 2013, Katharina Pillay, is yet to be listed.”
Explanations from Icasa chairman Stephen Mncube in parliament have been “unsatisfactory”, says Shinn in a statement.
“Issues that must have been discussed at council meetings in the latter half this year include the R75m settlement with Wireless Business Solutions, which owed Icasa R113m in unpaid licence fees, and the much delayed granting of a broadcasting licence to subscription-based sports channel Siyaya TV,” she says.
“The amendment to the Icasa Act that obligates the independent regulator to make public its decisions and the reasons for them was a much-heralded move to ensure transparency of its decisions to assure the public of its independence in its efforts to promote much needed market competition.
“Icasa’s reluctance to post its minutes, despite parliamentary process and media pressure to do so, raises concerns about who is influencing the council’s decisions and whether its processes are robust. As a chapter nine institution, it must act with vigour to assert its independence of state and commercial pressure.”
Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka confirms that the regulator has received the application, but says he is not in a position to comment yet. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media