According to media reports, the merger of regulatory bodies, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the Film and Publication Board (FPB), will not be moving forward.
This information was revealed by Communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni during her department briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday, 23 August.
The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) delegation and its entities were briefing the portfolio committee on the 2021/22 third and fourth quarter performance and expenditure reports, including the status of some of the department’s entities.
Replying to ANC MP Lesiba Molala’s question about the merger between ICASA and the FPB, Ntshavheni said: “We are going to Cabinet to review that decision.
“We have engaged with ICASA and the FPB. We do not think – especially with the new FPB [Amendment] Act enacted – the merger will advance the course of the films and publication; there will be more focus on the work that ICASA does,” Ntshavheni added.
“We are not moving towards a merged entity regarding ICASA and FPB. Instead, we will retain the entities but position FPB to deal with the new platforms, which include content management and media management businesses, beyond what ICASA currently does.
“ICASA has a responsibility to make sure the broadcasting space is sound, as well as digital inclusion of the country. So we are working on the two entities as separate.”
While ICASA regulates South Africa’s telecoms and broadcast industry, the FPB governs the creation and distribution of content on public platforms, including social media.
At the time, the merger was said to be in line with reorganising and repurposing the identified state-owned entities into “resilient, self-sustaining and effective agents for delivering services to communities”.