Ndabeni-Abrahams: We welcome Icasa’s level 1 BBBEE status requirement

The Communications Minister has detailed changes to the entities in her portfolio.

Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said government welcomed and would stand by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa)’s new regulations that required operators and new applicants to meet level one BBBEE status for the duration of their licence.

Ndabeni-Abrahams has detailed changes to the entities in her portfolio.

She said a joint oversight forum, which she chaired, would ensure implementation of the new priorities outlined by the president.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said the changes in her department were expected to create an environment for technology innovators and manufacturers.

And for the first time, the regulator is clear that black people must be empowered.

“But they are saying, meet that level one BBBEE status for the duration of your licence. That means if you have spectrum and the licence that you have is for ten years, for ten years we expect you to respect that black people of this country must be empowered and you must remain on that level BBBEE one status.”

And she is ready for objections: “I won’t be surprised if others would want to fight it, but I want to ascertain one thing, that we will stand with the regulator on this one because it is our responsibility to make sure the policies and regulations that we develop also serve the interest of the public.”

She said while board chairpersons of entities would make up her joint oversight forum, it would not take over the responsibility for governance in those entities.

Meanwhile, Ndabeni-Abrahams said the corporatisation of the Postbank was at Cabinet level and would soon go to Parliament.

The minister said the material developments in her department entailed reconfigurations and mergers.

But she said all the department could say on the SABC was that it should be commercially viable.

On the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) – which manages procurement for digital migration – the minister said Sentech had been appointed as project manager and the deadline of December 2021 for migration remained.

She said the Post Office had a new board and CFO and the board was finalising appointment of the CEO.

Ndabeni-Abrahams ended on the media reports that said she wanted to sneak in a service provider for a R2.2 billion Post Office tender.

“Although in the beginning I did not want to respond to all these allegations given their frivolous and baseless nature and generally because of my respect for the freedom of the press, it is now clear that the attack is not only malicious and meant to be defamatory, but the attacks are systematic.”

The Post Office has come to her defence to say no contract of that amount was ever awarded.

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