Regulatory process a challenge in South Africa

In his keynote address at the Atio Conference on the ElectronicCommunication Bill (ECB), held last week, MP and chairman of thePortfolio Committee on Communications, Mpetjane Lekgoro, did notwant to expand on the negative and risk implications of theBill.

Lekgoro said he wanted to focus on the positive, and made littlereference to the possible risks that parliament and government haveidentified with the implementation of the Bill.

“The risks involved are different for all and some see them just aschallenges,” he added. He only pointed to the fact that one of therisks is that the private sector, if not regulated, will just “takeover”. If this happens it is expected that it will only focus onprofit and not on the holistic socioeconomic development of thesector and country overall.

He also noted the challenge of the slow regulatory process. Thedelay in sorting out regulations, said Lekgoro, means that othercountries around the world have the opportunity to capture the callcenter market, leaving SA trailing behind once again.

The question he asked is: “If the delay in regulatory process is aconcern for government, why are things not happening faster?”

Lekgoro also mentioned price control as a concern, but did notelaborate on the issue.

Responding to a question from the audience on the next phase of theliberalization process and time frames, Lekgoro said: “The ministerwill make some new announcements before winter.” He could not offerany further comment on this, saying that parliament and governmentare two separate structures, and neither knows what the other isdoing.

However, he hopes, and strongly believes, that the minister willgive some answers on the issues regarding local loop unbundling andinterconnection in her next announcement.

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