Deputy Speaker, the ANC-led government has placed a high priority on reforming the business environment because of its significant influence on the levels of private-sector development and, therefore, on long-term economic growth and poverty reduction.
Having said so, let me remind the House that when the ANC won the first democratic election in 1994, we inherited a number of sectors that lacked structural legislative frameworks. The strategic direction of the ICT and postal sectors remained unco-ordinated and fragmented. For example, state- owned companies such as Telkom and Sentech continue to play the role of referee and player at the same time.
In 1996 the ANC-led government provided much needed leadership in the ICT sector by introducing the progressive legislative frameworks in areas of broadcasting, telecommunications and e-commerce. It is important to note that this process also refers back to the the fact that the ANC-led government has at all times ensured that citizens, industry, labour, academics and government itself are taken along during the development of such an important legislative framework.
In the absence of a leadership that is without a vision, policies are unlikely to deliver. This is not the case with the ANC. We continue to observe the global changes in the ICT and postal sectors. Some of the changes encourage South Africa to adapt and ensure that we remain aligned and relevant to the prospective investor expectations and, most importantly, to develop legislative frameworks that will advance people's lives and ultimately alleviate poverty.
Change is necessary and healthy to ensure alignment, amongst others. There have been a number of changes in our government framework, but some provisions of the Act remain out of line. Without a doubt, matters relating to ICT and ICT policy deserve comprehensive examination and discussion in South Africa. The process of developing the ICT framework will continue.
Thank you for the opportunity to lead such a stimulating and challenging review process. I would like to pay tribute to members of the portfolio committee and all other stakeholders whose commitment, contribution, professionalism and support made it possible for us to undertake an exercise of this nature in a tight timeframe. The ANC supports and endorses the amendment of the Electronic Communications Act, as presented. Thank you. [Applause.]
Bill read a second time.