Sunday, July 6, 2014

Communications minister Faith Muthambi slams the broadcasting regulator Icasa as being 'ineffective' and 'inefficient'.

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South Africa's new minister of communications, Faith Muthambi, called South Africa's broadcasting regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) "ineffective" and "inneficient".

"We all agree that Icasa has been ineffective and inefficient," said Faith Muthambi.

"We are looking forward to an Icasa that is transparent and can make informed decisions," Faith Muthambi told parliament's portfolio committee on communications on Friday.

On Friday Icasa was unable to provide parliament and give answers on what projects need to be finalised and what deadlines met to switch off analogue television signals and for South Africa to switch to digital terrestrial television (DTT) which needs to happen in less than a year's time by July 2015.

Icasa didn't give parliament a check list for what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by and what is in the way forward and how to get those stumbling blocks out of the way.

Meanwhile controversy and a deadlock remains around the set-top boxes (STBs) that South African viewers will have to buy for around R800 with no clear direction for the South African TV industry on what is happening.

While Icasa is plagued by its own financial woes and again admitted on Friday to parliament that it's unable to properly fulfill its oversight, monitoring and compliance roll - for instance monitoring whether the SABC and other broadcasters are adhering to local content quotas - Icasa is actually tasked with, and has as its mandate to keep the SABC financially viable.

Icasa was asked by members of parliament but gave no answers as to what steps the broadcasting regulator has taken to keep the SABC financially viable.

Icasa was asked but said nothing about what steps Icasa has taken to tackle wasteful expenditure at the SABC.

Icasa didn't answer what it did to address irregular salary increases like that of the famously matricless acting chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng at the SABC.