Community Radio Broadcasting

South Africa: ICASA To Reopen Licence Applications For Community Radio And Sound Broadcasting

Multiple industry media sources report that the South African regulator ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) is set to reopen licence application for Community South Broadcasting Services and related Radio Frequency Spectrum Licences later on this year. This follows the disqualification of over a hundred applications due to lack of compliance for the Invitation To Pre-Register (ITP-R) issued on 12 November 2019 and closed on 30 June 2020.

Prior to the disqualifications, the Authority had hosted numerous workshops to support applicants in understanding the regulatory environment's regulatory environment in the community broadcasting sector.  The workshop aimed to educate communities about the Community Broadcasting Services Regulations' requirements for existing community broadcasting service licenses. Second, it was also to educate prospective applicants about a new framework for licensing community broadcasting services in preparation for the ITP-R.  Many applicants still failed to meet the prescribed compliance requirement even after the workshops.

According to the Authority, the rules were clear. An emphasis was put on the fact that the Authority reserves the right not to accept any applications that do not meet the requirements set out on the ITP-R.

In a released statement, ICASA Councillor Adv Luthando Mkumatela said the process requires a detailed analysis of documents where compliance is at the forefront. Therefore, ICASA is in no position to evade the licensing process due to non-compliance. Unfortunately, most applicants did not qualify for the second phase of the licensing process due to non-compliance, Mkumatela added.

To mitigate the situation, the Authority will undertake additional workshops across the country to unpack the requirements of the ITP-R. Adv. Mkumatela has urged communities who wish to participate in the upcoming process to join the workshops when the announcement is made.

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