Icasa, new body carve out turf
Pretoria - The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has welcomed the implementation of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and will work with the newly established National Consumer Commission (NCC).
On Friday, Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka said there was a potential overlap in functions between the NCC and Icasa.
"Icasa is ready to work, in a collaborative manner, with the NCC, for purposes of promoting the interests of consumers in the country. For that purpose, Icasa has entered into discussions with the NCC aimed at addressing the requirements of the CPA," he said.
However, in terms of the CPA, Icasa could apply to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies for a full or partial exemption for the telecommunications industry, which included the cellphone industry.
In terms of the Electronic Communications Act, Icasa was mandated to also promote the interests of consumers in terms of price, quality and variety of electronic communications services.
Icasa was "engaging on a public consultation process to solicit the views of consumers and operators within the electronic communications and postal services sectors to inform its decision on whether to make an application for exemption or not".
Maleka said Icasa and the NCC were working towards drawing up a memorandum of understanding.
Icasa's statement followed a report in the Business Day newspaper on Thursday that Icasa was planning to apply for an exemption for the telecommunications industry.
According to the report the NCC had received hundreds of complaints from irate customers and NCC Commissioner Mamodupi Mohlala told the newspaper many complaints were about cellphone network operators.
"Some complainants are saying that they know of people who have been to Icasa and nothing has been done," Mohlala was quoted as saying.
"Even though no other entity has been given such power as the commission, there is an obligation to work together rather than fight over turf."
ICASA is a toothless organisation, has done little for consumers with regards to Telkom's monopoly on internet access. Broadband is still relatively expensive, the undersea cables were meant to have dropped the cost of broadband and give users faster connections.