SA elected onto ITU executive council

SA will serve on the ITU radio regulations board and executive council until 2022.
SA will serve on the ITU radio regulations board and executive council until 2022.

SA has been elected onto the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) executive council and the radio regulations board (RRB).

The country has been elected to serve in both ITU institutions until 2022. The country received overwhelming support from the 179 member states at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, taking place in Dubai.

Telecommunications and postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele is leading the South African delegation at the conference, which is the highest decision-making body of the United Nations' specialised agency for the ICT sector.

"We are excited to be elected onto the ITU council and the radio regulations board. We accept this enormous task with humility. We shall use the positions to push for the developmental agenda alongside the African Union's Agenda 2063," Cwele said.

The ITU council oversees the implementation of decisions of the ITU Plenipotentiary Conferences and manages the affairs of the ITU between the conferences.

As a member of the 48-member council, SA says it will continue to champion the development agenda, including the acceleration of broadband roll-out to support the Sustainable Development Goals, advocating for support of developing, least-developed, landlocked countries and small islands.

To advance the regional agenda, SA says it will work with other member states to lobby for the de-monopolisation of the manufacturing and software industry. It also plans to champion ownership of critical ICT resources to boost Africa's economy.

Additionally, SA's participation at the ITU is to influence the agenda for spectrum. The allocation of spectrum is of significant interest as it relates to the roll-out of universal broadband and broadcasting services to reach all citizens of the global community.

RRB representation

SA will be represented by Mandla Mchunu on the radio regulations board. Mchunu is the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (ICASA's) manager for radio communications.

The 12-person RRB is tasked with approving procedures for applying the provisions of the radio regulations and for registering spectrum frequency assignments made by the member states, addressing matters that cannot be resolved through the application of the Radio Regulations and Rules of Procedure, among others activities.

Mchunu has over 20 years of experience in spectrum management and regulatory activities, and has worked on domestic and international telecommunications/ICT matters. He received 121 votes out of 179 member state votes, and will serve on the radio regulations board from 2019 to 2022.

He says he is "humbled" by his election to the RRB: "I intend to serve the global community with diligence and utmost professionalism using my experience, knowledge and understanding of the ITU Radio Regulations and associated procedures."

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