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Code for people with disabilities ICASA extends comments deadline

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The Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA/the Authority) has resolved to grant a 14-day extension in respect of submissions into the Draft Code for Persons with Disabilities Regulations published on 12 June 2020. The new date for written submissions is now 14 August 2020.  The draft was published in Government Gazette 43418 123.

The Authority took a decision to extend the closing date following omission of some important pages in the Notice that was previously published for comment.

“If some contents of the Notice are missing, it becomes difficult for stakeholders to engage wholly with the document and make submissions. We are doing this in the interest of procedural fairness and administrative justice, to ensure that we grant stakeholders an opportunity to review the whole document”, says ICASA Acting Chairperson Adv. Dimakatso Qocha.

In terms of the draft regulations, all electronic communications service licensees must ensure that all electronic communications devices ready for purchase are universally designed to cater for the needs of persons with disabilities, and that broadcasting service licensees must ensure that they implement the minimum requirements for subtitles, audio captioning or close captioning.

According to Adv. Qocha, these regulations are an important step in facilitating social cohesion, overall societal integration and equal economic contribution by all South Africans, and this includes people with disabilities.

“Access to communications services is a basic need for all South Africans, and should not serve as a barrier for a particular group of our society. As a result, the review of the Code for people with disabilities must ensure inclusivity for all”, concludes Adv. Qocha.

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