The Portfolio Committee on Communications has expressed its approval of the work of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies in relation to its Covid-19 activities and also the amalgamation with the former Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.
To respond to the pandemic, the department encouraged the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to relax spectrum regulations to enable the temporary licensing of all available spectrum bands, including the unassigned high demand spectrum for the duration of the Covid-19 national disaster. Icasa complied and issued temporary spectrum licences to mobile network providers.
The committee Chairperson, Mr Boyce Maneli, said that timeous service delivery by department and entities is commendable and should be emulated beyond the national state of disaster, in order to unlock potential market in the telecommunication space. However, Mr Maneli was of the view that the department did not provide an adequate progress report on the digital terrestrial television migration project. He indicated that the project team should be invited to brief the committee on this issue.
The committee was pleased to hear that the South African Post Office has made its national address system available for the contact tracing database, which is used to track and trace individuals who may have been infected or may have been in direct contact with those who are infected with the coronavirus. The contact tracing database has been developed by the Council for Science and Industrial Research.
Furthermore, the committee commended the department for the seamless transfer and placement of employees on the start-up structure of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, in line with Resolution 1 or 2019 of the Public Service Commission Bargaining Council and placement template agreed on with labour in the departmental task team (DTT).
Parliament of South Africa
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.