Postal Services Amendment Bill Tabled

Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services

The Postal Services Amendment Bill has been tabled in parliament.

The telecommunications and postal services department published the proposed legislation in Government Gazette 41246 in November 2017 for comment.

The bill flows from the National Integrated ICT Policy White Paper.

It aims to amend the Postal Services Act, 1998 so as to:

•    amend and insert certain definitions;
•    add a number of objects;
•    substitute ‘‘Regulator’’ for ‘‘Authority’’ wherever it appears in the Act, provide for the regulation of the sector, particularly the private operators and extra-territorial offices of exchange;
•    ensure the contribution of private operators to the universal postal services;
•    provide for a new licensing framework for the sector that encourages participation by SMMEs;
•    provide for the repositioning of the South African Post Office to take advantage of the new opportunities imposed by digital technologies;
•    provide for the contribution by the South African Post Office to e-Government by providing services for different governments departments and e-commerce platform;
•    provide for the national addressing policy approach for the assignment of physical addresses to rural and traditional communities and the development, maintenance and management of a National Address Database for the Republic;
•    provide for a clear process for the approval of annual and commemorative stamps;
•    provide for a clear process for the development of philatelic products; and
•    provide for matters connected therewith.

The bill seeks to align the Postal Services Act with the ICT White Paper.

The portfolio committee on telecommunications and postal services will process the bill.

Meanwhile, the department recently briefed parliament on Cybersecurity.

Mention was made of the Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill, currently before the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services.

The committee recently amended the title of the bill to only focus on cybercrime.

According to the committee, issues relating to cybersecurity will be dealt with in a separate bill.

Reference was made to the Cybersecurity Hub that flows from the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework. A War Room has been set up “which enables constituents and law enforcement agencies to communicate with each other in a secure manner from remote locations”.

The department also indicated that the National Response Capability research initiative is developing response and escalation protocols in the event of an attack against the country.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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