ICASA wrong about Parliament’s approval
Marian Shinn, Shadow Minister of Communications
23 April 2012
The Democratic Alliance (DA) disputes the announcement by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) that Parliament has approved the five-year strategic plan it presented to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications last Tuesday.
I assume the erroneous statement, in which ICASA Chairperson, Mr Stephen Mncube is quoted, is an attempt to gloss over an intensive six-hour interrogation that ICASA management and councillors underwent in the committee meeting. Committee members were sceptical about ICASA’s ability to meet some of its targets and fulfil its obligations, particularly in regard to meeting deadlines on Local Loop Unbundling (LLU), the rolling out of broadband and spectrum allocation.
Strategic plans of entities reporting to government departments are not approved by portfolio committees or Parliament. They are presented to the relevant portfolio committees for interrogation on whether the objectives are in line with approved government policy and that the actions and deadlines set out in the plan in support of policy can be met on time and within budget.
Before the entities strategic plans are presented to the portfolio committees they are scrutinised by the departments to which they report. The departments’ strategic plans and budgets are debated in Parliament and voted on in the National Assembly on May 29.
We will be highlighting our reservations with regard to ICASA’s strategic planning and capacity for implementation again in the National Assembly.
It is certainly premature for ICASA to claim Parliamentary endorsement for its strategic plan at this time.