The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will host an annual general meeting to merge the CRASA and SAPRA at the end of March 2011.
The decision to merge the two regulatory associations stems from the resolution of SADC ICT Ministers held in Swakopmund, Namibia in 2009. Both CRASA and SAPRA derive their mandate from the SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology that calls for the creation of a regulatory body that would act as a regional advisory body on communications and postal regulation.
CRASA’s Mandate and Programmes
CRASA draws its membership from 13 SADC countries, namely Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritiius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has four associate members, namely Nokia Siemens Network, the Vodacom Group, Angola Telecoms and Ericsson.
Its objectives include:
- Promoting capacity building of the members and Associate Members, broaden participation in the ICT sector and enhance lobbying activities with ICT policy makers at national and regional level
- Acting as an effective and common voice of the SADC region on ICT policy and regulatory matters
- Acting as an effective administration structure and mobilise necessary resources to pursue goals of the Association and long-term sustainability
In the past year, CRASA has been involved in, among others:
- Reviewing the model guidelines on ICT Consumer protection and Obligations to promote access of socially excluded people to ICT services
- Draft Digital broadcasting Migration Action Plan to facilitate southern Africa’s migration from the analogue to the digital platform
- Review of the SADC Frequency Band Plan for the development and efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum in Southern Africa
SADC Home and Away Roaming to reduce international roaming costs
SAPRA’s Mandate and Programmes
The Southern African Postal Regulatory Association (SAPRA) draws its membership from Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Its mandate is to act as a regional advisory body in the regulation of postal services in Southern Africa. SAPRA’s objectives include the following:
- Facilitate the harmonisation of postal regulatory frameworks in Southern Africa
- Promote establishment and operation of efficient, adequate, affordable and cost-effective postal services in Southern Africa
- Ensure the provision of cost-effective universal postal services by operators
- Promote reforms in the postal sector
- Develop common standards of services and operations that are compatible with international standards
- Improve postal security in the region, and
- Establish and equitable framework to promote the provisions of non-reserve services
Benefits of a Merged Regulatory Association
Country-member regulators will benefit from the economies of scale by paying one subscription/membership fee to a single regional regulatory association. Secondly, a merged regulator for communications and postal sectors will see the development of harmonised regulations as a result of increased cooperation and exchange of information among members.
Consumers and the general populace of Southern Africa stand to benefit from harmonised and standardised regulations. When people travel from one country to another they can expect the same standards and treatment from service providers with regard to communications and postal services.
Investors, operators and licensees stand to benefit from a merged regulatory association as their business operations across Southern Africa will be enhanced by the creation of a harmonised regulatory environment. This would pave the way to attract local and off-shore investors to Southern Africa.
Country-to-Country Relations in Southern Africa stand to benefit from increased co-operation and interaction among the region’s regulators of the communications and postal sectors. As a result, the sub-continent’s long-term goal of economic integration will thus be enhanced.
For more information on the Conference or related matters, please contact Ms Shoeshoe Mopeli on (011) 566 3065 or Ms Nkuli Woko on (011) 566 3057.