Summary: the CAP Regulations seek to establish a Consumer Advisory Panel under section 71 of the Electronic Communications Act and deal with related administrative matters. The purpose of the CAP is to “advise the Authority on matters relating to consumer issues” in South Africa.
The CAP is to be made up of eleven members with insight into consumer issues in the electronic communications, broadcasting and postal services sectors. Members will be nominated and confirmed through a public process. The chairperson of the CAP – to be appointed from selected nominees by ICASA’s Council – will have a 3-year term of office, while members will service for 2 years. In both cases there is a maximum of two terms.
The functions of the CAP include:
- Preparing an annual report which sets out critical consumer issues, research to be undertaken by ICASA and the proposed annual priorities for ICASA;
- Providing a consumer perspective through commentary on relevant regulations and processes which are published for public comment; and,
- Undertaking annual liaison with consumers
The CAP is required to prepare an annual plan and budget for approval by ICASA, as well as submitting quarterly and annual reports to ICASA’s Council on its activities and findings “or as required”. It is required to meet 4 times a year, with any additional meetings to be approved by ICASA’s Council. Meetings may be held through online communications platforms if feasible. Members may be remunerated at rates determined by ICASA’s Council for attendance at meetings (including travel and other disbursements with prior approval from ICASA).
ICASA is required to provide administrative assistance to the CAP and to provide required funding in accordance with the CAP’s annual plan and approved budget and ICASA’s procurement processes.
Interestingly there is a specific provision prohibiting members of the CAP from interacting with the media without ICASA’s prior written approval.
These Regulations repeal the Regulations on the Establishment and Constitution of the Consumer Advisory Panel of ICASA as published in Government Gazette No. 30273 of 10 September 2007.
[29 July 2016] An ICASA press release dated 29 July 2016 provides some clarity on the process being followed here:
- initial draft amendment regulations were published on 31 March 2016, but were found to require immediate review based on written comments received
- as a result a new set of “amended Draft Regulations” have now been published for comment, with the deadline for submissions being 2 September 2016
“The amended Draft Regulations seek to prescribe the manner in which the panel is to be constituted and further sets out the functions of the panel as well as the duties of panel members. Once constituted, the panel shall, among other things, advise ICASA on consumer issues resulting from information and communications technology usage as well as promote the interest of consumers with particular focus on persons with disabilities, senior citizens and persons living in under-serviced areas.”
__[26 July 2016] ICASA have now published draft amendment regulations with the objective of providing clarity on the appointment, constitution and role of the Consumer Advisory Panel.
Comments are due by 16h00 on 2 September 2016 and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for the attention of Mr Clarence Catin. General enquiries can be directed to Mr Clarence Catin on 011 566 3042 / firstname.lastname@example.org, and media enquiries to Mr Paseka Maleka on 011 566 3455 / email@example.com.
Previous attempts to establish ICASA-CAP have failed, but it appears that there will be a further effort to get this body up and running, after ICASA published draft regulations relating to how ICASA-CAP will be constituted.
Comments are due by 16h00 on 16 May 2016 and should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for the attention of Mr Clarence Catin on 011 566 3043 / firstname.lastname@example.org for general enquiries in respect of this notice.