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ICASA turns to online inspections in compliance drive

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ICASA chairman Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.
ICASA chairman Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.

Telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is embarking on a series of online inspections (investigations and evaluations) to ensure compliance with regulations and the law.

In a statement, ICASA says the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown imposed in terms of the National State of Disaster have led to the regulator assessing alternative methods for monitoring and enforcement.

Having successfully executed online inspections in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the authority is rolling out and extending its online compliance monitoring to other provinces.

The authority decided on this approach mainly to mitigate the risk of spreading the coronavirus and ensuring the safety of its employees and licensees alike, says the organisation.

“‘ICASA has a critical mandate of ensuring compliance with regulations, legislation and other related statutes. It is, therefore, important for us to look at alternatives during this period to ensure that we execute our mandate effectively,” says ICASA chairperson Dr Keabetswe Modimoeng.

The regulator says these inspections will be conducted through live video streaming services, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype.

Where video streaming services are not available, it notes the inspections will be done telephonically and follow the traditional methodology, where the officer will go through the inspection sheet step by step with the licensee and record the responses.

The licensee will then be required to sign the inspection form and return it to ICASA within five working days.

“All licensees are therefore urged to co-operate with ICASA to ensure seamless monitoring and enforcement,” the organisation says.

Meanwhile, ICASA this week told stakeholders that its head office and all its regional offices are open for regular business operations.

The authority’s staff has been working remotely during the various levels of the lockdown and have ensured business continuity and uninterrupted provision of services.

ICASA says it has put necessary measures and controls in place to ensure compliance with the health and safety protocols and the prescribed COVID-19 regulations across all its offices.

“Stakeholders are urged to continue accessing ICASA services and engaging its staff via e-mail, telephone and other virtual means,” it says.

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