President Jacob Zuma has acted to resolve an apparent turf war between his communications minister, Faith Muthambi, and her counterpart at telecommunications and postal services, Siyabonga Cwele, by setting out in greater detail who is responsible for what in a new proclamation published in the Government Gazette.
TechCentral first reported last week that Zuma was going to publish the proclamation, giving Muthambi responsibility for South Africa’s digital terrestrial television migration project.
The proclamation transfers the administration of and powers and functions in both the Icasa Act, which governs communications regulator Icasa, and the Electronic Communications Act, which is the overarching convergence legislation for the information and communications technology sector.
It’s the second such proclamation Zuma has signed since his controversial decision, taken after the May general election, to split the old department of communications in two, creating a new communications department and the telecoms & postal services department.
Analysts lashed Zuma for his decision, saying it flew in the face of convergence between industries.
Zuma had decided previously that Icasa would report into the new ministry of communications, but has now backtracked, handing telecoms and postal services some of the oversight responsibilities.
In terms of the new proclamation, Icasa will now report to both ministers. Muthambi will, however, have responsibility to any future amendments to the Icasa Act.
In addition, the changes appear to signal that Muthambi will take control of South Africa’s digital migration project.
Some responsibilities, such as sign-off of Icasa’s annual report, will be the responsibility of both ministers.
The president’s proclamation also clearly separates the two ministers’ broadcasting and telecoms responsibilities as far as they pertain to the Electronic Communications Act.
Muthambi, for example, will have responsibility for the entirety of section 9 of the act, which deals with broadcasting.
Zuma signed the new proclamation of 25 November and it’s published in volume 594 of the Government Gazette, which is dated 2 December 2014. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media