The communications department has sought to allay fears that it is
interfering in the issuing of new pay-TV licences by the Independent
Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) by imposing a moratorium on the
process, writes Thom McLachlan in Business Day.

The department denied media accusations that it was undermining Icasa’s authority.

“At no point has the minister proposed that there be a moratorium on pay-television licensing, as has been alleged by the media,” the department’s director-general, Lyndall Shope-Mafole, said.

“It is common … knowledge that the licensing of broadcasting services is, and continues to be, an Icasa process.”

A document issued for public comment last month “largely represents the proposals of the digital migration working group” made up of experts and representative of the broadcasting industry, the department said.

The working group was appointed by the department. It handed its report to Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri late last year.

The department proposed at a meeting with stakeholders that Icasa postpone the issuing of new licences until the end of next year to prevent the undermining of “the government’s plans for digital migration, which will benefit all South Africans, not just those who can afford to buy subscription television services”.

Click here to read the full report, posted on Business Day's website.