This is the latest version of this General Notice.
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act
The ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Regulations
General Notice 238 of 2020
- Published in Government Gazette no. 43207 on 6 April 2020
- Assented to on 3 April 2020
- Commenced on 6 April 2020
- [Up to date as at 1 April 2021]
- [Amended by ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Amendment Regulations (General Notice 252 of 2020) on 5 May 2020]
- [Amended by ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Second Amendment Regulations (General Notice 500 of 2020) on 11 September 2020]
- [Amended by ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Third Amendment Regulations (General Notice 678 of 2020) on 27 November 2020]
- [Amended by ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Fourth Amendment Regulations (General Notice 165 of 2021) on 1 April 2021]
1. DefinitionsIn these Regulations, unless the context otherwise indicates, a word or expression to which meaning has been assigned in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act, 2000 (Act No. 13 of 2000), underlying statutes, the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) and the regulations made by ICASA has the meaning so assigned.The following words shall have the meanings assigned to them below:"the Act" means the Electronic Communications Act, 2005 (Act No. 36 of 2005), as amended;"Disaster Management Act" means the Disaster Management Act, No. 57 2002;"National Disaster" means the COVID-19 pandemic in the Republic of South Africa, as declared as such by the Head: National Disaster Management Centre, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in terms of Notice No. 312, Government Gazette No. 43096 dated 15 March 2020, pursuant to the provisions of section 23(1)(b) of the Disaster Management Act;"National State of Disaster" means the national state of disaster as declared by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in terms of Notice No. 313, Government Gazette No. 43096 dated 15 March 2020, pursuant to the provisions of 27 of the Disaster Management Act; and"Regulations" means all or any regulations, determinations and guidelines issued by the Authority in terms of the Act.
2. PurposeThe purpose of these Regulations is to prescribe minimum standards that licensees must adhere to only during the subsistence of the National State Disaster in order to -(a)facilitate the dissemination of information required for dealing with the National Disaster;(b)enable the facilitation of the national response to the National Disaster and post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation;(c)enable implementation of measures that may be necessary to prevent an escalation of the National Disaster or to alleviate, contain and minimise the effects of the National Disaster; and(d)ensure that there is continuation of the provision of services in the Republic.
3. ScopeThe Regulations apply to all authorisations, certificates, applications and registrations made and /or issued in terms of the Act, Broadcasting Act and the Postal Services Act.
4. Minimum standardsNotwithstanding the provisions of the Regulations and any licences issued, the following minimum standards shall apply during the subsistence of the National State of Disaster:
Tariffs and fees:
South African sound and television broadcasting services performance period:
Quarterly submission of programming logs and recordings to the authority:
Requirement to convene community meetings including any Annual General Meetings (AGMs):
Submission of applications
Television broadcasting services to persons with disabilities
Deployment of electronic communications facilities
5. Type Approval
6. Access to radio frequency spectrumTemporary assignment of Radio Frequency Spectrum(1)During the National State of Disaster, any licensee may apply to the Authority to dispense with the prescribed licensing procedures for the licensing of the Radio Frequency Spectrum, including high demand spectrum, in order to enable it to deal with the anticipated rise in demand for network capacity or data services.(2)In order to enable the Authority to temporarily assign Radio Frequency Spectrum in the furtherance of the objectives in sub regulation (1) the Authority may, whenever it considers necessary, deviate from the Radio Frequency Spectrum Assignment Plans published by the Authority.(3)The following International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum bands shall be made available for temporary assignment: 700MHz, 800MHz, 2300MHz, 2600MHz, and 3500MHz and shall be assigned in accordance with the criteria and conditions stipulated in Annexure A.(4)The Authority shall from time to time publish details of further bands that are available for temporary assignment.(5)Licensees shall pay pro-rated radio frequency spectrum licence fees, in terms of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Fees Regulations, 2010, for the period commencing on 1 April 2021 to 31 May 2021, in relation to the bands specified in sub-regulations (3) and (4).[sub regulation (5) substituted by section 4.1 of General Notice 678 of 2020 and by section 2(a) of General Notice 165 of 2021](5A)Payment of fees, in terms of sub-regulation (5), must be made to the Authority by no later than 15 of April 2021.[sub regulation (5A) inserted by section 4.2 of General Notice 678 of 2020 and substituted by section 2(b) of General Notice 165 of 2021](5B)Failure to pay the fees in terms of sub-regulation (5A) will result in the issued temporary spectrum licence being invalid.[sub regulation (5B) inserted by section 4.2 of General Notice 678 of 2020](5C)[sub regulation (5C) inserted by section 4.2 of General Notice 678 of 2020 and deleted by section 2(c) of General Notice 165 of 2021](6)Subject to sub-regulation (7), any radio frequency spectrum assigned temporarily to licensees in terms of sub regulations (3) and (4) shall be revoked upon the expiry of three (3) months of termination of the National State of Disaster.(7)No radio frequency spectrum licence assigned pursuant to sub-regulations (3) and (4) shall be valid after 31 May 2021.[sub regulation (7) substituted by section 4.3 of General Notice 678 of 2020 and by section 2(d) of General Notice 165 of 2021](8)Applications contemplated in terms of sub-regulations (3) and (4) shall be submitted to the Authority by no later than 16h00 on 09 April 2020 to the following e-mail address: COVIDATA@icasa.org.za(9)The Authority shall process applications submitted in terms of sub-regulations (3) and (4) within four (4) days of receipt of a complete application.(10)Two or more licensees may share radio frequency spectrum assigned to alleviate the challenges of network capacity.(11)The licensees shall ensure that radio frequency spectrum sharing is implemented efficiently and in a manner that does not compromise the quality of the electronic communications services provided by licensees and the functioning of the electronic communications networks of other licensees.(12)All spectrum sharing agreements shall be submitted to the Authority for approval in accordance with regulation 18 (4) of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015. The Authority shall process such agreements within four (4) days of receipt thereof.Obligations relating to IMT Radio Frequency Spectrum licensees(13)Licensees with both Electronic Communications Services and Electronic Communications Network Services licensees, and have access to IMT Radio Frequency Spectrum assignment, must send to their subscribers by SMS, free of charge:(a)at least two public announcements per day regarding the prevention and management of COVID-19; and(b)notifications of all announcements by the Minister of Health or the Presidency.(14)The Authority shall determine, after consultation with the relevant Departments responsible for education and communications, the number of district virtual classroom platforms to support virtual teaching during the COVID-19 national disaster, which shall be connected by the Individual Electronic Communications Network Service licensees with access to IMT Radio Frequency Spectrum assignment.(14A)All Electronic Communications Service and Electronic Communications Network Service licensees must zero rate access to all educational sites upon approval by the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education and Training.[sub regulation (14A) inserted by section 3.1 of General Notice 500 of 2020](15)All Electronic Communications Service and Electronic Communications Network Service licensees must zero rate all COVID-19 sites upon approval by the Department of health.[sub regulation (15) substituted by section 3.2 of General Notice 500 of 2020](16)A licensee assigned with temporary spectrum in terms of sub-regulations (3) and (4), must maintain network connectivity in line with regulatory requirements for the virtual classrooms platforms allocated respectively to it by the Authority, free of charge, for a period of 14 months from the date of confirmation of deployment by the operator as verified by the Authority in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies notwithstanding that its licence for temporary spectrum assigned to it in terms of subregulations (3) and (4) has expired.[sub regulation (16) added by section 4.4 of General Notice 678 of 2020 and substituted by section 2(e) of General Notice 165 of 2021](17)A licensee assigned with temporary spectrum in terms of subregulations (3) and (4), that does not seek to extend the validity period of its temporary radio frequency spectrum licence post 31 March 2021, must maintain network connectivity for the virtual classrooms platforms as contemplated in sub-regulation (16) for a period of 12 months.[sub regulation (17) added by section 4.4 of General Notice 678 of 2020 and substituted by section 2(f) of General Notice 165 of 2021]
7. Postal servicesThe South African Post Office shall, upon written on request by relevant officials of the Department of Health, law enforcement agency or any other organ of state involved with management and control of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, make available its national address system, including any relevant database, to such official, agency or organ of state, as the case may be, for the purposes of tracking and tracing persons that are infected with COVID-19, and/or persons that may have been in direct physical contact with such infected persons.
8. ConflictsIn the event of conflict between the provisions of these Regulations and other Regulations of the Authority, the provisions of these Regulations shall prevail.
9. Contravention and penaltiesAny person who contravenes regulation 4 (9), (16), (17) and (18) and regulation 6 (6) and (12) of the Regulations, is liable to a fine not less than R100 000.00 (one hundred thousand Rand) for each day that the contravention occurs.
10. Short title and commencementThese Regulations are called "The ICT COVID-19 National Disaster Regulations" and will come into force on the date of publication in the government gazette, and only endure until termination of the National State of Disaster.
History of this General Notice
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