[8 June 2015] Indications are that the next two years will see the introduction of a number of Bills which are likely to impact significantly on electronic communications in South Africa.
Under the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) there is now a clear path to the drafting of a new ICT Policy White Paper, which in turn will form the basis for the drafting of new ICT legislation to replace, amongst others, the Electronic Communications Act.
The Director-General of the DTPS also recently noted in Parliament that there remained an intention to amend the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002. A previous effort in 2012 failed to run its course.
The Minister of Communications in her Budget Vote Speech on 21 May 2015 made reference to processes that will enable the Portfolio Committee for Communications to debate the following Bills:
- Broadcasting Amendment Bill [edit: see https://www.ellipsis.co.za/broadcasting-amendment-bill-2015/]
- ICASA Amendment Bill
- MDDA Amendment Bill; and the
- Film and Publications Amendment Bill [edit: see https://www.ellipsis.co.za/the-film-publications-board-and-online-content-regulation/].
The ICASA Act has only recently been amended so it is not clear what the intention behind any new amendments might be. Ideally these should take their lead from the ICT Policy Review Process and the ensuing White Paper but is by no means clear that this will happen (noting that the Minister of Communications has initiated a review of broadcasting policy in parallel to the ICT Policy Review Process).
The intention to amend the Film and Publications Act of 1996 has been in the public domain since December 2014 following the drafting of a proposed online content regulation policy by the Films and Publications Board.
In addition, an initial draft of the Cybercrimes and Related Matters Bill is expected to be published shortly.