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ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Regulations Amended

November 30, 2020

Independent Communications Authority

The Independent Communications Authority has amended Information and Communications Technology Covid-19 National Disaster Regulations.

The Regulations were published in Government Gazette 43207 in April 2020.

They were designed to prescribe minimum standards that licencees must adhere to during the Covid-19 national state of disaster in order to facilitate the dissemination of information required for dealing with the disaster; enable the facilitation of the national response to the national disaster and post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation; enable implementation of measures that may be necessary to prevent an escalation of the national disaster or to alleviate, contain and minimize the effects of the national disaster and ensure that there is continuation of the provision of services in South Africa.

The Regulations apply to all authorisations, certificates, applications and registrations made and/or issued in terms of the Electronic Communications Act, Broadcasting Act and the Postal Services Act.

The Regulations focus on minimum standards, type approval, access to radio frequency spectrum, postal services and conflicts.

Published in Gazette 43945, the amendments insert sub-regulation (14A) stipulating that regulation 4(6) of the Community Broadcasting Services Regulations are suspended.

Sub-regulation (14B) stipulates that the suspension will end 14 working days after the termination of the state of disaster.

Amendments are also introduced to regulations 5 and 6.

A new sub-regulation (5) is inserted into regulation 6 stipulating that “Licensees shall pay pro-rated radio frequency spectrum licence fees, in terms of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Fees Regulations, 2010, for the period commencing on 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021, in relation to the bands specified in sub-regulations (3) and (4).”

Fees must be paid by no later than 15 December 2020.

A new sub-regulation (7) stipulates that no radio frequency spectrum licence assigned pursuant to sub-regulations (3) and (4) shall be valid after 31 March 2021.

The amendments came into force on the date of publication.