Icasa on lockdown over coronavirus
Communications regulator Icasa has suspended all public hearings until further notice due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak in South Africa.
It is also suspending all local and international business flights for staff until at least 17 April and barring visitors from its Centurion, Pretoria offices. Only essential domestic air travel will be considered and only then will be approved on a case-by-case basis.
“In view of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday, 15 March, Icasa has activated the crisis management initiatives as required by the organisation’s business continuity policy to ensure its preparedness to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.
Public hearings will be suspended for at least four weeks, after which it will reassess the situation. If deemed necessary, it will implement further suspensions of four weeks at a time until the crisis is resolved.
All applications and equipment that accompanies applications for type approval will not be accepted, it said. Applicants are requested not to send any equipment to Icasa; when the need arises for equipment to be submitted, the applicant will be informed by an Icasa official to do so.
Applicants can make use of Icasa’s online service to submit type-approval applications, it added. All other applications, such as the expected pre-registrations for community broadcasting services, have been extended from 31 March to 30 April.
All visits (both local and international) to the Icasa premises have been suspended until further notice, including customer walk-ins. It is also reducing face-to-face meetings by encouraging the use of telephones, e-mail and video/teleconferencing systems.
All employees who have travelled to and entered South Africa from high-risk countries since mid-February have been asked to present themselves for testing.
“Icasa is in full support of government initiatives in curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, but we will endeavour to adhere to our turnaround times as contemplated in our respective divisional standard operating procedures. Any other delays will be communicated on time to our respective stakeholders,” said Icasa CEO Willington Ngwepe.