The Complaints and Compliance Committee
The Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) is an independent committee of ICASA established in terms of section 17A of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act (“ICASA Act”).
About the CCC
The CCC is required to investigate, and hear if appropriate, and make a finding on:
- All matters referred to it by ICASA
- Complaints received by the Committee and
- Allegations of non-compliance with the ICASA Act or underlying statutes
ICASA has taken to raising complaints against licensees for non-compliance with certain regulations under the Electronic Communications Act (“ECA”). This has been a noteworthy development for ECS and ECNS licence holders, as ICASA had previously not sought to invoke sanctions available for non-compliance with its reporting obligations through the CCC process.
There have been several fines issued to licensees found to be non-compliant, and thus to have contravened regulations under the ECA. CCC judgements can be found on ICASA’s website at CCC Judgements.
Most instances of a fine being imposed were due to a licensee having failed to supply financial statements and the late or non-submission of financial reports or USAF and licence fee payments. Sanctions have also been imposed for failure to commence operations after the grant of licence/s within the specified period, as well as failing to lodge updated contact details with ICASA.
ICASA has confirmed that this trend towards enforcing compliance with its regulatory framework will continue, and that it is actively stepping up its programme of visits to licensees’ premises to verify compliance with this end in mind.
What to do if you receive a CCC referral letter
If the CCC makes contact to request that you respond to a complaint raised by ICASA’s Compliance Division, the matter is being dealt with formally and will go to the CCC Panel for a hearing. The initial mail will be from the CCC Assessor tasked with investigating the matter.
A formal response is to be submitted to the CCC letter and attached ICASA complaint, along with the relevant supporting documentation. All emails from the CCC Assessor will indicate dates by which you should respond where a response is required. Failure to respond to any mails could result in an adverse finding being made.
All matters pursued by the CCC will result in a hearing, and the CCC Assessor will advise you of the date of the hearing. It is always recommended that you attend the hearing. If you agree on the sanctions with the CCC Assessor before the hearing, you can choose to skip the hearing on the understanding that the CCC Panel’s judgement will contain the agreed-upon sanction.
How Ellipsis can help
Ellipsis can assist with ICASA complaints that are being investigated or heard by the CCC. Our legal background coupled with our unique understanding of this industry and particularly a licensee’s compliance obligations, as well as our experience in dealing with responses to the CCC and CCC hearings, ensures that we are best placed to advise on the nuances of CCC matters.
In general, it is important for licensees, or prospective licensees, to be aware of the various obligations stemming from your licences and associated regulations, in order to safeguard against the possibility of a complaint and subsequent hearing with the CCC, especially given the recent flurry of activity in this regard. Ellipsis can help you to guard against the possibility of this occurring in the future, with our Regulatory Compliance Service, which will ensure that you meet your licence obligations.
For further information on CCC and related matters please contact Sumaiyah Makda.