Deputy Speaker, we have actually jumped the gun a little in tabling the amending Bill before the House today, before the comprehensive ICT policy review process gets under way.
The Minister appointed an ICT sector team to review the regulatory framework of this entire sector, but since this team will only reply and table their final report within the next two to three years, this Bill is necessary to adjust some of the provisions of the Electronic Communications Act. That was the rationale given to the committee and it is on that basis that we participated.
Where serious efforts were made by members of all parties in the committee's detailed deliberation phase to thoroughly assess the amendments and its likely implications, it is indeed regrettable that this very important amending Bill was only introduced in the last months of the Fourth Parliament and that there was great pressure by the executive on us as a portfolio committee to put the Bill through the processes.
The late submission is clearly the result of the protracted instability that existed in the office of the former Minister of Communications, and it is a pity that the relevant Cabinet cluster did not identify the detrimental impact of the political stalemate more than a year ago. It was detrimental not only for the sector, but also broadly for economic development and job creation in our country. An early alert could have prompted the President to make his political intervention much earlier and Parliament could have dealt with these very important Bills much earlier.
Where does this leave Parliament? Whereas Parliament will adopt the amending Bill today, because it is a unanimous recommendation by the committee, it should continue to be vigilant about the very important and constitutionally enshrined role of the communications regulator, Icasa.
As I indicated last week, Icasa is the successor in law of the Independent Broadcasting Authority, which is a Chapter 9 institution. The executive cannot usurp spectrum management and other functions of an independent regulator in going forward.
Firstly, the fact is that no legislative amendment can transform an inefficient entity. It is ultimately only an appropriately qualified and experienced council, in the case of Icasa, and executive staff members rather than political deployees that can turn such institutions around.
Secondly, it is important that committee deliberations on legislation should follow the Rules of Parliament. These processes are important. The courts have in the past made rulings in favour of private institutions, and we cannot allow that to proceed. Thank you. [Time expired.]