Communications minister remodels department's digital entities

Communications minister remodels department's digital entities
Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced several measures aimed to reconfigure and restructure entities that fall under her portfolio.

Briefing the media in Pretoria, Ndabeni-Abrahams said Sentech, which provides signal distribution to broadcasters, and Broadband Infraco, which owns a national fibre-optic network, would be merged to form a state infrastructure company.

She also said the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) would be repurposed as the new digital transformation agency.

“The department is currently finalising the business case and awaiting certification from the state law advisor with regards to repurposing SITA to create a state IT company as well as merging Sentech and Broadband Infraco to form the state digital infrastructure company,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.

“We are further engaging our counterparts to ensure that non-broadband SOEs that self-provide broadband such as Sanral, Prasa, Eskom and Transnet are prohibited from entering the commercial broadband market to avoid the state distorting a well-functioning liberalised market.”

She also said Sentec and Usaasa (Universal Services And Access Agency Of SA) had been placed under administration for 24 months as part of the reconfiguration.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said administrators who would take over the functions of the boards of SITA and Usaasa after their terms expired. She said the new boards would be appointed once the entities were remodelled to deliver on their mandate.

Newyear Niniva Ntuli was appointed as an administrator at Usaasa while Luvuyo Keyise takes over at SITA.

Ndabeni-Abrahams also announced the planned amalgamation of regulators, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), Film and Publication Board and Zadna.

“The department will also develop a model for smart regulation which will include the amalgamation of Icasa, the Film and Publication Board and Zadna, and explore new funding mechanisms for the new regulator.”

She said they took into consideration calls for the leaner government on this amalgamation and they did not want redundancy.

“We will look at all aspects without compromising work they should be doing.”

Ndabeni-Abrahams also said they would accelerate the repurposing of the Universal Service Fund into a 4IR Fund.

Politics Bureau