Black Business Council calls for competition and media diversity in South Africa

The Black Business Council (BBC) is worried about the lack of urgency in developments within the communications and media industry.

Its president, Sandile Zungu, has called for government and the regulator, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to accelerate the introduction of media diversity and competition in the country.

According to Zungu, currently, along with the public broadcaster, there is only one free-to-air channel and one pay-TV broadcaster with a monopoly. He said this is not healthy for economic growth, enriched debate and social cohesion.

The council plans to meet with ICASA, the national Department of Communications and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services to discuss ways of unlocking the release of the radio frequency spectrum, digital migration, convergence, media diversity and competition.

Zungu said, “BBC contends that there is a need for diversity in ownership, management and content creation in order to build the economic and cultural base that reflects all South Africans and informs the psyche of what it means to be a South African.

“Information and Communication Technology sector is very critical to us as it serves as a backbone and platform of all the sectors in the economy and as such, competitive business practices should be demonstrated in instances where an attempt is made to bring new players who will enhance diversity of ownership and views as well as enhance competition.”

He added that the council is the over-arching confederation that represents black professional, business associations and chambers. He also said that the primary purpose of the council is to lobby government on policy related matters and to play an advocacy role where policies are in place in order to accelerate the participation of black business in the mainstream economy.

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