Monday, December 20, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
- Co-Chairs (for a 2nd term): Feizel Mamdoo & Kgomotso Matsuyane
- Vice Chair: Marc Schwinges
- Secretary (acting): Katleho Ramaphakela
- Treasurer: Wendy Venter
- Communications: Thandi Brewer
- David Forbes
- Eve Rantseli
- Kenneth Kaplan
- Michael Lee
- Ramadan Suleman
Monday, November 22, 2010
- Review the research done on the Bill particularly as regards the Bill's proposed funding models for public and community media. As a starting point the Coalition believes a detailed economic modelling exercise should be conducted to ascertain the actual costs of delivering quality, citizen-orientated programming in the public and community media sectors. These costs need to be considered in the light of the new, digital multi-channel environment. We commend the Minister for committing to this.
- Review the Bill's governance proposals to ensure that there are clear lines of accountability and that the Minister is not given undue powers to intervene in terms of management issues at the SABC and in the community media sector.
- Ensure that the broadcasting sector as a whole deepens the principles of the Constitution including most importantly the Constitution's commitment to socio-economic rights.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
|David||Forbes||DFA & IPO||Pascal & 2nd Thandi|
|Eve||Rantseli||WOS Board||Kgomotso & 2nd Pascal|
|Feizel||Mamdoo||DFA & IPO||Rehad & 2nd Pascal|
|Katleho||Ramaphakela||WGSA Board||Kgomotso & 2ndThandi|
|Kenneth||Kaplan||IPO||Rehad & 2nd Dan|
|Kgomotso||Matsunyane||IPO||Rehad & 2nd Pascal|
|Marc||Schwinges||DFA Board & IPO||Reahd & 2nd Pascal|
|Michael||Lee||DFA||Thandi & 2nd Pascal|
|Ramadan||Suleman||IPO Board||Dan & 2nd Rehad|
|Thandi||Brewer||WGSA Board||Thea & 2nd Pascal|
|Wendy||Venter||OSCA SA Board||Thandi & 2nd Thea|
Thursday, November 11, 2010
- Improve our performance through more efficient and effective leadership, internal communication, planning and budgeting, risk management, staff performance management, information management and process redesign.
- Appoint the Director-General and senior management in the next three months so as to stabilize the leadership of the Department.
- Initiate a change management programme, which also deals with transformation matters. A Transformation Committee has already been established.
- Finalise the institutional review process and fill all vacancies within six months.
- Align departmental programmes to MTSF goals and the twelve Cabinet Outcomes
- Our first priority would be to stabilize the leadership within the South African Broadcasting Corporation and to address its programme of work that will resolve its financial liquidity problems and guarantee that the Corporation will deliver programme content in tune with the needs of the people. What we need is a public broadcaster that functions competently. We will therefore work closely with Parliament, the Chairperson of the Board, the Board Members, its Executive Leadership, the Executive Management and general staff of the Corporation with a view to finding solutions to the problems besieging the Corporation. This would include, amongst others, the finalization of the turnaround strategy and the creation of stability within the Board and the Corporation.
- Furthermore, we will, in dealing with the challenges facing the Public Broadcaster, accelerate the finalization of the Public Service Broadcasting Bill. The main purpose of this Bill is to repeal the Broadcasting Act of 1999, so as to align the broadcasting system to the developmental goals of the Republic. This Bill will also deal with corporate governance matters in general. We envisage that this Bill will be submitted to Cabinet during the first quarter of 2011. Due to huge public interests in the contents of the Bill, the Department will, from the 15-17 November 2010, conduct other public hearings to solicit further input on this critical issue.
- With regard to Sentech, the Chairperson of the Board resigned at the end of October. I have accepted this resignation with immediate effect. I have therefore appointed an Acting Chairperson of the Board in the person of Ms Leah Khumalo who is a practicing attorney and member of the current Board. We will be working closely with the Board of Sentech to ensure that senior management positions are filled within the next three months. I take this opportunity to express my appreciation to Mr Quraysh Patel, the outgoing Chairperson, for the service that he has provided to the organization. He has assured me that he will continue to avail himself and give support to the work of Sentech. I also take the opportunity to welcome the new CEO of SENTECH, Dr Setumo Mohapi who joined the organization as of 1 November 2010.
- For the effective functioning of the ICT sector, the Regulator, ICASA, must be strengthened and, at all times, function with confidence and independence. Efforts to strengthen its capacity will include measures to enhance its technical and financial competency. In this regard, we will actively support and promote its collaboration with the international institutions, such as the International Telecommunications Union During the first half of 2011, an ICASA Amendment Bill will be finalized and submitted to Cabinet for approval for introduction to Parliament.
- In addition, the Department has begun with the process of developing a performance management system for ICASA as required by the law. We will therefore, during this month finalize our engagements with ICASA on this matter. We hope that the system will be implemented from the 1st April 2011.
- Universal service and access to ICTs remains our priority. In this regard, the role and capacity of the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) will be strengthened to ensure that it deals with the universal service and access issues for the entire ICT sector including postal matters. We are, as part of amending the Electronic Communication Act, strengthening the role, powers and functions of USAASA.
- We will accelerate efforts to align the programmes of our state-owned entities with that of government, so as to ensure that SOEs remain the strategic implementing agencies of government.
- Building an efficient, competitive and responsive ICT infrastructure network is critical to propel South Africa into a knowledge-based economy. This would require that government continue to implement a programme to ensure the liberalization of the ICT sector in order to promote competition, In this regard, we continue to implement interventions aimed at promoting appropriate cost structures in the ICT sector. We also note the significant progress made in addressing the mobile termination rates. The Unbundling of the local loop remains a critical and important intervention. In this regard we will work closely with ICASA to ensure that the local loop is unbundled by November 2011.
- The digital technologies such as broadband are increasingly becoming an instrument to achieve the national development goals. They offer opportunities to create a variety of new applications. Broadband, and its faster “always-on” connections, is serving to accelerate the process of integration of Internet technologies into everyday life.
- The creation of new applications not only needs large pipes and suitable technological infrastructure, but also an appropriate strategy for service evolution, and an adequate environment for the creation of new content. With digital technologies, the variety and quality of specialized applications — for instance online entertainment or educational material — are set to increase dramatically. The future should be about innovation with a view to take advantage of the new technologies.
- The creation of new applications defines and challenges how content should be regulated. Hence the policy gears itself to ensure that there is an appropriate regulatory environment to regulate digital content. The development of new applications should be promoted. Such efforts will ensure that the development of a competitive ICT industry in general is not compromised.
- Improving and increasing access to government services offered online remains a strategic objective of Government. To realize this objective, there is a need to develop and promote open, simple and secure online e-applications and content bringing new experiences to the citizenry in general.
- Develop South Africa’s ICT infrastructure, skills and regulatory regime so that all South Africans are able to take full advantage of economic, educational and social opportunities offered by the emerging Information Society and Knowled Based Economy.
- Develop programmes and projects to promote the uptake and usage of ICTs on a national scale and contribute to bridging the digital divide.
- Operationalise the e-Skills Institute to lead and be the catalyst to e-skilling the nation for equitable prosperity and global competitiveness that is so vital to our future growth.
- The Information Society and Development Multi-stakeholder Forum which was established this year as a platform of engagement for reviewing the implementation of the WSIS Outcomes as well as the ISAD Plan implementation by government, business and the civil society. The Forum is a Partnership for Development Initiative which discusses key developmental initiatives and programmes for building a people-centred, inclusive information society and knowledge based economy. Several partnerships with the private sector, academia, and civil society have been initiated.
- Establish an internationally appointed Advisory Panel for ICT development in South Africa. This could be a conduit to receive best global experience in our policy practice and implementation for the ICT Sector. Our focus will be on identifying the niche areas in the ICT value chain for South African companies and to facilitate the emergence of global brands for the South African ICT Sector.
- Ensure that regulations in the telecommunications sector are in the interests of South African consumers, businesses and more broadly in the economy.
- We therefore recognize the need to develop an appropriate policy and regulatory environment in order to enhance the role of ICTs in advancing the achievement of the national developmental goals. In this regard, a national colloquium on the development of the National ICT Policy Framework will be convened during the first quarter of 2011. The Policy Framework will chart a long-term vision for the ICT sector and its contribution to the economy. The colloquium will be a high level dialogue initiative for key stakeholders to identify and harmonize the institutional and sectoral issues with respect to the development and application of ICTs in South Africa, as well as the key policy issues that need to be addressed.
- We will also continue with efforts to clean the Electronic Communications Act so as to clarify and strengthen the role, powers and functions of the Minister and of ICASA. In this regard, we will, in the next few days, publish the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill for public comments.
- Work with ICASA and industry to maximize the efficient management and utilization of national radio frequency spectrum assets to maximize the benefits to South African consumers and industry.
- The deployment of ICT infrastructure is dependent on how effective and efficient the country is in regard to the management of the radio frequency spectrum – a natural scarce resource. As technology evolves, the country should adopt technologies that are efficient in the usage of the spectrum. In this connection, measures to ensure efficient use of radio-frequency spectrum to meet the developmental objectives shall be accelerated.
- Publication of draft policy directions for public comment on spectrum for broadband applications, radio spectrum usage and spectrum pricing are being considered.
- Create awareness and provide education about cyber-safety and e-security issues in the community.
- Undertake research and consultation to inform policy and deliver programs that better protect South African internet users.
- In an increasingly knowledge-driven and networked world we are prone to external interceptions that are in breach of lawful online conduct, all of which could lead to an erosion of trust and confidence, it is important that measures are undertaken towards creating an awareness of what is desirable and building capacities for the same and by the establishment of an enforcement and compliance regime. An environment of trust and confidence in ICT, particularly the Internet, is an essential pre-requisite for ICT uptake levels to rise.
- A National Cybersecurity Policy has been formulated which is a synthesis of reactive and proactive measures towards building information secure society.
- Whist this policy acknowledges the initiatives taken to develop and implement e-commerce, in going forward, such a policy must be strengthened with a well-established information security system so as to create confidence in the use of the system.
- Digital migration remains a key project of the Department. With regard to the implementation of the digital migration policy in South Africa, our programme will focus on finalizing the set-top box manufacturing strategy, the scheme for ownership support for poor TV owning households and the local and digital content development strategy. We envisage that this will be submitted to Cabinet for approval during the first quarter of 2011.
- Within a month from now we will also pronounce on the country’s position in relation to the digital terrestrial television standard. The finalization of this matter will assist in accelerating the implementation of broadcasting digital migration in South Africa.
- Take the necessary measures to reduce the effects of climate change by developing and using more energy-efficient ICT devices, applications and networks and through the application of ICTs in other fields
- Promote recycling and the re-use of ICT equipment.
- Technology aware human capital is regarded as the driving force behind technology innovations anywhere in the world. The ICT industry is knowledge intensive and driven essentially by the need for low and high-end skills.
- Therefore the development of an ICT skilled labour force in terms of quantity and quality is crucial. If the country is to increase both the quantity and quality of an ICT skilled labour force, we need to initiate, review and strengthen the current interventions for immediate results through making available outputs that are compatible with industry requirements.
- A process is under way to have the e-SI established as a legal entity and as an accredited educational institution of higher learning.
- High Profile National Seminar/Lecture Series at Regional Knowledge Production Hubs and the e-SI nationally will commence during the 2011 academic year.
- The following three to five months will see the implementation of three e-SI Regional Knowledge Production Hubs; the ICT knowledge and infrastructure design to support virtual offerings; Curriculum development; ie. e-skills for digital inclusion; e-skills for rural development; e-skills for e-democracy; e-skills for business; e-skills for teaching and learning.
- The deployment of ICT infrastructure should bring with it significant benefits to the consumers in terms of enabling the provision of services by multiple operators possible. Less duplication of ICT infrastructure will ensure increased competition in the provision of affordable services to the majority of the population, thus encouraging competition in the sector.
- Due to the fact that ICT infrastructure is biased towards urban and affluent areas in South Africa, there is a need to continue with universal access and service programme. Currently more electronic communications network service licensees have been licensed. It is for this reason that the approach to universal access and service should be reviewed to reflect the current realities.
- The Department of Communications recognizes that the big challenges facing Government, particularly as it relates to the ICT sector’s role in rural areas, are the accessibility of appropriate ICT infrastructure to the majority of people as well as the affordability of ICT services including broadband and internet connection.
- The Department will finalize the ICT Rural Development Strategy by March next year. The implementation of the strategies will see the further roll-out of an additional 90 Digital Hubs throughout the country in under-served areas, support the establishment of 23 new e-Cooperatives with a focus on unemployed youth graduates recruited from rural areas and the finalisation of an e-Commerce portal for Small scale farmers to ensure online trading of agricultural products during the financial year 2011/2012. In addition, 19 low power transmitters will be built to afford about 5 million inhabitants access to television services. Rural technologies such as wireless technology infrastructure is considered as a means of bridging the rural-urban divide in South Africa.
- The Department will continue with the programme to corporatise the Postbank. In this regard, we will, within a month, develop a road map towards the implementation of the Postbank Bill. We envisage that the Bill will be signed into law. We will fulfill the mandate of Government in bringing services to the people.
- The e-Health Connectivity Plan supports the establishment of national health network infrastructure (VPN) in order for the improvement of health care services as well as to improve the health status of South Africans. The Plan is currently being discussed with stakeholders in the health sector and human development cluster of government. In support of the integrated infrastructure planning, this initiative is aligned with other connectivity initiatives especially in relation to education. The Plan will be finalized for submission to Cabinet by March 2011.
- The development of local content has the potential to contribute to a new industry focus. In this regard we will accelerate the finalization of the Local and Digital Content Strategy for South Africa.
- South Africa has been blessed to be awarded a seat on the ITU Council. We look forward to ensuring that South Africa remains committed to the world and will build a strong partnerships for policy development with UNDP, UPU, UNESCO, WHO and OECD.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Acting Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Communications
Mr. Sikhumbuzo Eric Kholwane
9 November 2010
Dear Mr Kholwane
Request for an extension for the nominations to the SABC Board until after Parliament's hearing into governance crises at the SABC
The SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition notes that Parliament's scheduled hearing for 10 November 2010 focusing on the SABC's governance crises and turnaround strategy has been postponed. However, SOS believes that this hearing is critical to dealing with the crises at the SABC. We submitted a letter to Parliament on 4 November outlining the various governance crises we felt Parliament needed to attend to. We are now worried to hear that this hearing has been postponed. We hear that the date has been set for the 26th of November.
SOS believes that this makes it very difficult for civil society to put forward people with integrity, experience and expertise to sit on the SABC Board. We believe that this situation would be substantially eased if the nomination period could be extended to after the Parliamentary hearing. As communicated in our letter on 4 November, we would like Parliament to deal with the following issues:
- The resignation of four SABC Board members. SOS notes that the public has yet to find out what their reasons are. SABC Board members are tasked with the critical role of oversight of the SABC in the public interest. We are deeply concerned that the conditions within the SABC have deteriorated to the point that members have felt that they have no option but to resign. We feel that the general public have the right to know what these reasons are and that their letters should be tabled for discussion at the Committee. Further, we believe that exit interviews should be conducted with all four board members to ensure that lessons are learnt for the future. We believe that the major principles discussed in these letters should be made public.
- The ongoing corporate governance breaches at the SABC. SOS has noted several serious corporate governance breaches that have taken place at the SABC since the beginning of 2010. SOS has noted that to date the Portfolio Committee has not called the Chair - or members of the Board - to task in this regard. These include breaches of corporate governance around:
- the critical appointment of the Head of News,
- a decision to employ an external candidate to the Acting CEO position despite the fact that the SABC's Articles of Association disallow this (the decision was later reversed),
- the Chair of the Board's refusal to sign the delegation of authority document as regards the appointment of Acting CEO, Robin Nicholson, creating a legal crisis where the SABC was effectively operating without a CEO; and
- the Chair's unilateral decision to announce on SABC TV and radio that there were problems with the appointment of an Acting CEO and that he hoped to bring back suspended CEO, Solly Mokoetle.
- SOS respectfully believes that the Committee should deal with these corporate governance breaches through:
- Thoroughly airing the issues that lead to these corporate governance breaches, calling members associated with these breaches to book and getting a public commitment from all Board members that in future they will scrupulously adhere to good corporate practices and protocols.
- SOS believes that the role of the Chair in initiating many of these corporate governance breaches is so serious, that he should be called on to resign – or should be removed by the Appointing body including Parliament and the President.
- The problematic role of Parliament in stemming the crises. SOS notes that in May 2010 Board members publically stood up and announced that a serious corporate governance breach had taken place at the SABC as regards the Chair’s unilateral appointment of the Head of News. Further, Board members announced that there had been an irretrievable breakdown of trust between themselves and the Chair. Since that date there have been many unsuccessful attempts by Parliament to address the issues. Hearings have been delayed, called behind closed doors etc. SOS would like Parliament to examine its own role in not stemming the deepening crises at the SABC. Again today we are waiting for Parliament to hold its hearing.
- Finally, problems with gaps in the Broadcasting Act, 1999 that continue to cause crises around the appointment of executive members to the SABC Board. SOS raised this issue in 2008 during the Broadcasting Amendment bill process. SOS suggested that a clause should be added stating that accounting lines need to be clarified to ensure that executive management is appointed solely by the Board. SOS urges Parliament to swiftly deal with this issue so that crises around appointments can finally be laid to rest.
SOS believes that if these issues are comprehensively addressed during Parliament's hearing, it will make the nomination process substantially easier. It will encourage people to put themselves forward for nomination. This hearing is critical. We believe that the deadlines for nominations need to be extended. Please do get back to us at your earliest convenience.
SOS: Support Public Broadcasting Coalition
Friday, November 5, 2010
SOS: SUPPORT PUBLIC BROADCASTING COALITION
SOS URGES PARLIAMENT TO EXTEND THE DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS FOR THE SABC BOARD TO ENSURE THAT THE BOARD CHAIR AND OTHER ISSUES ARE RESOLVED
5 NOVEMBER 2010
SOS Coalition members have been debating the issue of putting forward nominations for the SABC Board. Four members of the Board have resigned. SOS has expressed concern about putting forward new members because the Coalition believes that the current conditions on the Board are not conducive to members playing their critical oversight roles. However, SOS believes that this is an important moment for the communications sector. We have a new Minister, Deputy Minister and new Acting Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Communications in place. We believe that with this new leadership in office the possibility of resolving the various crises affecting the SABC is strong. However, in order to ensure that the Minister, Deputy Minister and Acting Chair have time to take action, we urge the Portfolio Committee to extend the nomination deadline to allow time for the necessary changes to be effected. Presently the deadline for nominations is 15 November 2010.
SOS believes that we need substantive progress on the following issues:
- The Chair of the Board – SOS believes that the Chair of the Board, Dr. Ben Ngubane should either resign or be removed by the Appointing Body (including Parliament and the President). Dr. Ngubane has been involved in a series of serious corporate governance breaches at the SABC.
- In terms of the corporate governance breaches, SOS believes that Parliament should deal decisively with the following:
- The unilateral appointment of the Head of News,
- the Board's decision (although later reversed) to appoint an Acting CEO from outside the Corporation in direct violation of the SABC Board's Articles of Association,
- the Chair's refusal to sign the delegation of authority document in terms of the appointment of the Acting CEO, and
- the Chair’s unilateral decision to announce on SABC TV and Radio that there had been problems with the appointment of an Acting CEO and that he was hoping to reinstate suspended CEO, Solly Mokoetle.
- Also in terms of the corporate governance breaches, SOS believes that the remaining board members (including the executive members of the Board that are part of SABC management) should publically commit themselves to scrupulous adherence to good corporate governance practices and protocols going forward.
- Finally, SOS believes that gaps in the Broadcasting Act, 1999 should be swiftly dealt with. Parliament needs to make a commitment to amending the Broadcasting Act, 1999 to state clearly that the Minister has no role to play in the appointment of the executive members of the Board. The appointment of the executive members is solely the responsibility of the Board. SOS pointed out on numerous occasions during the Broadcasting Amendment Bill process in 2008, the fact that the Broadcasting Act is problematically silent about the appointment of executive management. To date Parliament has not resolved this issue creating continuing crises around these appointments. Further, these gaps in the legislation encourage inappropriate Ministerial interference in the direct management and editorial control of the SABC. People must remember that the CEO of the SABC is also the SABC's editor-in-chief.
SOS believes that we need substantive progress in terms of the above in order to be able to convince people with integrity to stand for the SABC Board. A further issue we need to consider Is the overall composition of the Board in terms of the issues of skills, experience and representivity. So for instance it is important to analyse the skills that we have lost through the four resignations and thus the skills that we need. Going forward we need to ensure that the SABC Board has the right combination of people to steer the SABC ship to calmer waters.
We believe that an unstable SABC is a threat to democracy and socio economic development. It denies the large majority of our population the ability to receive information and to have a voice.
For more information:
- Kate Skinner – SOS Coordinator – (082) 926-6404
- Patrick Craven – Spokesperson Cosatu – (082) 821-7456
- Matankana Mothapo – Spokesperson Communications Workers Union – (082) 759-0900
- Oupa Lebogo – General Secretary – Creative Workers Union – (084)511-8763
- William Bird – Director Media Monitoring Africa – (082) 887-1370
- Faiza Smith – Director Misa-SA – (076) 995-9513
- Hannes du Buisson – General Secretary Bemawu – (082) 920-8669
Monday, November 1, 2010
SOS welcomes new Minister and calls on Civil Society NOT to put forward names for the SABC Board until NB corporate governance issues are resolved.
- The serious lack of capacity in the Department of Communications
- The serious corporate governance breaches and governance crises at the SABC
- Serious corporate governance crises at Sentech
- The lack of a policy review process as regards current draft legislation including the Public Service Broadcasting Bill and ICASA Amendment Bill
- Problems around government's shift from European digital standards to Japanese/ Brazilian standards without any clear explanations as to the rational behind these shifts or guarantees that the new standards will in fact ensure the manufacture of cheap, accessible set top boxes.
- That the Chair of the Board, Dr. Ben Ngubane, either resigns or is removed by the Appointing Body (including Parliament and the President).
- That Parliament decisively deals with the various corporate governance breaches that have taken place at the SABC (including but not limited to the appointment of the Head of News, the Board's decision to appoint an Acting CEO from outside the Corporation in direct violation of the SABC Board's Articles of Association, and the Chair's refusal to sign the delegation of authority document in terms of the appointment of the Acting CEO.)
- That the remaining board members (including the executive members of the Board that are part of SABC management) publically commit themselves to scrupulous adherence to good corporate governance practices and protocols going forward.
- That Parliament commit to amending the Broadcasting Act, 1999 to state clearly that the Minister has no role to play in the appointment of the executive members of the Board. The appointment of the executive members is solely the responsibility of the Board. SOS pointed out on numerous occasions during the Broadcasting Amendment Bill process in 2008, the fact that the Broadcasting Act is problematically silent about the appointment of executive management. To date Parliament has not resolved this issue creating continuing crises around these appointments. Further, these gaps in the legislation encourage inappropriate Ministerial interference in the direct management and editorial control of the SABC.
Friday, October 29, 2010
- Nicholson finally gets thumbs-up as CEO
- Four of the board's 12 members have left
Monday, October 25, 2010
- Film industry role-players and organizations
- an understanding and a grasp of salient film-related issues;
- Excellent communication skills