The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa has released an announcement informing all stakeholders and communities of the reopening of the licensing processes for community radio and television broadcasting services across the country.
The Authority will publish the new Invitation To Pre-Register (ITP-R) for community radio no later than 15 December 2021. The new ITP-R for community television services will be published in April 2022.
On 9 April 2021, the Authority announced that out of one hundred and forty-two (142) applications received in respect of the ITP-R for the purposes of providing community radio broadcasting services, only two (2) applicants made it to the second phase of that licensing process.
The Authority hereby announces that out of the forty-two (42) applications received in respect of the ITP-R for purposes of providing community television broadcasting services published on 12 March 2020 and closed on 15 January 2021, no application made it to the second phase of the licensing process.
In view of these high levels of non-compliance and failure to meet the requirements, the Authority will be conducting a virtual workshop on 8 December 2021, from 10H00 to 15H00, to determine what the challenges have been – over and above what the Authority has found during the analysis of applications; and related mitigation.
The Authority has further undertaken to conduct additional country-wide public workshops in the new year, to fully unpack the requirements of the ITP-R, and to assist communities to have a full understanding of the requirements thereof while addressing any other challenges that may be raised during these consultations. The schedule of the country-wide public workshops will be communicated in due course, taking into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic and national state of disaster.
The Chairperson of ICASA, Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng expressed his gratitude to all the communities that participated in and responded to previous ITP-Rs but also encouraged these communities to steam ahead and not loose hope and faith in the process – as this is meant to empower communities and shape the future of broadcasting.
“We congratulate the successful registrants but also commit ourselves to starting the process afresh. This process needs to happen in a manner that does not set communities up for failure; and as a result, we urge all interested communities to fully participate in the workshops and other related processes so that they can have a clearer picture of what we require to grant and issue licences.”Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng, Chairperson, ICASA
The Chairperson further encouraged communities to take time and learn how the community broadcasting environment works; and all regulations attached to the sector, as this is the basis within which they can be sustainable and successful where any misdemeanour can be immediately reported.
“We have received endless reports of hijacked community radio stations in the provinces (which we fully condemn) – serving the interests of a few individuals. We therefore embarked on a successful process to review the applicable regulations; and what remains of it is to ultimately award licences in a future-proof context and we urge communities to comply with the law and regulations.”Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng, Chairperson, ICASA
ICASA remains resolute and committed to ensuring the plurality of views within the broadcasting services sector; and community radio and television remain an integral part of that.