Published On: Wed, Jan 18th, 2017

Opposition to divisive SA policy on ICT

SA policy on ICT 1JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE National Integrated Information and Communications Technology Policy White Paper will mar gains made in universal access and use of the internet and ICT services over the years, the Free Market Foundation (FMF) warned.
The organisation argued if implemented in its current form, critical investment would be deterred and innovation through competition stifled.
“Instead of looking forward to new and improved access and technological advancement, South Africa will fall behind its peers,” FMF stated.
The policy has come under criticism from some players in the industry with questions raised whether due process was followed in the formulation and adoption of the White Paper.
“This has profound constitutional and rule of law significance and is of great concern,” FMF said.
It is argued several proposals of particular importance appeared only in the final Policy White Paper to widespread alarm and concern in the industry.
The policy proposals remove the certainty, confidence and incentive for essential investment to happen, FMF said.
It said the industry players and the public had no opportunity to consider and make proper representation to government on the controversial additions to the final White Paper.
“This contravenes the constitutional requirement that all policies must be informed by public participation,” FMF said.
“In addition, all new policies and laws must be preceded by a properly conducted socio-economic impact assessment (SEIA) in accordance with the strict requirements of the Presidency’s guidelines.”
In January 2014, the National Integrated ICT Policy Green Paper was published. The second publication came in November 2014 with the ICT Policy Discussion Paper.
The Policy Review Report followed this in March 2015, with the fourth and final publication came with the White Paper in October last year and signed by Cabinet the following month.
FMF pointed out it was a policy analysis institute dedicated preventing counter-productive government intervention, taxation and spending, as well as constitutionalism.
“To these ends, FMF is responding to threats of mobile data price control and, more importantly, to the far-reaching implications of the White Paper. More state intervention is not advisable in an economy already reeling under the burden of excessive red tape, regulation and irregular government spending.”
CAJ News

Featured Video