The Minister of Communications, Dina Pule, has appointed Joe Mjwara as the chairperson of the ICT Policy Review Panel and Lucky Masilela as its deputy chair.

Pule also appointed panel members to chair various committees, including Libby Lloyd (broadcasting), Tracy Cohen (telecommunications), Angie Maseko (postal), Tshilidzi Marwala (infrastructure) and Sizwe Snail (e-commerce).

“I’d like to thank all the panel members for agreeing to serve their fellow citizens,” Pule says. “We are convinced that we have appointed the best possible team to assist the government come up with the most robust and appropriate policies for the development and advancement of South Africa.”

The panel is tasked with coming up with an ICT Policy White Paper by early next year. It will submit a progress report within three months of it starting its work and a final report within six months.

Pule says she expects the Policy Review Panel to:

• Make recommendations on appropriate Policy and Regulatory frameworks that support the growth and development of the country;

• Make recommendations on implementation plans, options and time frames;

• Determine potential impact of the reform options and their impact on the industry, consumers and the community;

• Determine the principles that will underpin this new vision and policy framework;

• Identify progress and constraints in ICT Research and Development, ICT skills development, investment in ICTs and ICT industrial growth contributions.

The ICT Policy Review Panel is guided by the terms of reference that provide that the Panel must take account certain parameters, such as:

•The panel should provide a platform for stakeholders and co-ordination of the input by stakeholders

• The Panel must liaise with key stakeholders and agencies and ensure that their views are taken into account in the development of the final report.

“We are mindful of the tight deadline that we need to work under,” says Mjwara. “We are also mindful of the important result that the country expects from the process that has been initiated by the minister.

“We shall work in a consensual manner as is possible,” he adds. “This is not a race for one idea to succeed.”