Department of Communications
Department of Telecommunications and Information
Communication platforms
Media organisations and role players

The new Ministries of Communications and of Telecommunications and Postal Services were established following the general elections in May 2014.

Department of Communications (DoC)

The new Department of Communications (DoC), which became operational from April 2015, comprises the following entities:

The vision of the DoC of providing vibrant and sustainable communication services for an informed citizenry and a positive image of South Africa, supports its mission of creating an enabling environment for the provision of inclusive communication services to all South Africans in a manner that promotes socio-economic development and investment through broadcasting, new media, print media and new technologies, and brand the country locally and internationally.

The DoC was spearheading the process of migrating broadcasting signals from analogue to digital. Government was expected to provide more than five million poor TV-owning households with free set-top boxes.

Brand South Africa

Charged with marketing South Africa at home and abroad, Brand SA’s focus internationally is to positively influence and shape perceptions about South Africa among target audiences.

The new slogan, “South Africa: Inspiring New Ways,” is set to represent the next phase of the country’s development, where South Africa has moved from possibility to delivery, and is now an important regional power.

Internationally, Brand SA lobbies and networks extensively among global opinion leaders to shift perceptions about the country and the continent.

Film and Publication Board (FPB)

The FPB assists the public to make informed choices about whether a particular film is appropriate by displaying guidelines that identify classifiable elements such as strong language, violence, sex, nudity, drug abuse, blasphemy and religious prejudice.

The Film and Publications Act of 1996 recognises the right of adults to freedom of expression, except with respect to child pornography, and requires the board to intervene where there is a risk of harm to children.

The board spearheads a national anti-child-pornography campaign to educate learners about ways to avoid victimisation. Child-pornography websites can be reported by calling the board’s toll-free number 0800 148 148.

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)

ICASA was established in July 2000 as a merger of the telecommunications regulator the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority and the Independent Broadcasting Authority.

ICASA is responsible for regulating the telecommunications, broadcasting and postal industries in the public interest and ensure affordable services of a high quality for all South Africans.

ICASA also issues licences to telecommunications and broadcasting service providers, enforces compliance with rules and regulations, protects consumers from unfair business practices and poor quality services, hears and decides on disputes and complaints brought against licensees and controls and manages the effective use of radio frequency spectrum.

Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA)

The MDDA is a statutory development agency for promoting and ensuring media development and diversity, established as a partnership between the South African Government and major print and broadcasting companies to assist in, among others things, developing community and small commercial media in South Africa.

The agency functions independently from and at arm’s length of its funders, and political-party and commercial interests. This arrangement enables government, the media industry and donors to work together to address the legacy of imbalances in media access.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

The SABC is the country’s only public service broadcaster.

The SABC is made up of 18 radio stations, which cater for the country’s 11 officiallanguages, as well as the iXun and Khwe language, and four television channels, which include the 24-hour news channel.

The SABC has developed editorial policies which guide and give direction to the corporation’s public broadcasting mandate and licence conditions, as set by ICASA and the provisions of the Broadcasting Act of 1999.

Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)

The GCIS was established in 1998 in terms of Section 239 of the Constitution as an organisation that ensures the dissemination of government information and messages to the public in a coherent manner and in line with constitutional imperatives of the country.

The GCIS is mandated to coordinate, guide and advise on government communication, including media liaison, development communication and marketing. Its goal is to achieve integrated, coordinated and clear communications between government and South African citizens, which enables the public to be involved in the country’s transformation.

The main service of the GCIS is to provide accurate and timely government information to the citizens of South Africa through mediated and unmediated communication methods. The GCIS uses different products and platforms to meet the information needs of various target audiences.

The department provides this service as a constitutional right to the citizens of South Africa wherein Section 195(g) of the Constitution stipulates that to foster transparency, the public should be provided with information that is timely, accurate and accessible.

Among other things, the GCIS is responsible for maintaining government’s website (, which provides general information about government.

Among other products, the GCIS publishes the South Africa Yearbook, Pocket Guide to South Africa, Vuk’uzenzele newspaper, Public Sector Manager magazine and My District Today newsletter. It is also responsible for the South African Government News Agency,

Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS)

The mandate of the DTPS is to create a vibrant information and communications technology (ICT) sector that ensures that all South Africans have access to robust, reliable, affordable and secure ICT services in order to advance socio-economic development goals and support the Africa agenda and contribute to building a better world.

The core functions of the DTPS include, among other things, developing ICT policies and legislation; and ensuring the development of robust, reliable, secure and affordable ICT infrastructure that supports and enables the provision of a multiplicity of applications and services to meet the needs of the country and its people.

The six state-owned enterprises under the DTPS are:

South African Post Office (Sapo)

SAPO provides postal and related services to the public. Post offices have become important service-delivery centres, offering South Africans a convenient place to accept and deliver cash-on-delivery items, which is a very important service in rural communities where some people shop from catalogues.

In addition, more than a million South Africans walk through the doors of post office near where they live to access their social grants.

Post offices also offer services that include enabling South Africans to renew their vehicle registration, and pay their municipal accounts and television licences

The Philatelic Services of the SAPO is responsible for producing South Africa’s postage stamps and other stamp-related products. Over the years, many of them have become valuable collector’s items.

The Postbank Limited Act of 2010 allows Sapo, through the Postbank, to prioritise the banking needs of the unbanked majority, thus facilitating their inclusion into the economic mainstream and expanding the existing range of banking services, including:

  • improving access to affordable services, including loans, especially in rural and lower-income communities
  • promoting a culture of saving.


Sentech Limited is a state-owned enterprise (SOE) established in terms of the Sentech Act of 1996 and is listed as a schedule 3B public entity in terms of the PFMA of 1999. The company is mandated to provide broadcasting signal distribution for broadcasting licensees, with a particular focus on accelerating the implementation of government ICT interventions within the framework of the National Development Plan (NDP) and the strategic integrated project for expanding access to communication technology.

National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (Nemisa)

Nemisa is a non-profit institute of education formed as part of a government initiative in 1998, in response to the White Paper on Broadcasting Policy. The institute’s main purpose is to train previously disadvantaged individuals, particularly women, to equip them with the necessary skills to play significant roles in the constantly changing broadcasting environment.

The institute offers hands-on training in electronic media, namely national certificates in Radio Production L5; 2D and 3D Animation L5; and Further Education and Training (FET) Level 4 in Film and Television Production and Design Foundation.

The Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector and Training Authority Seta accredit all courses.

Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (Usaasa)

Usaasa’s mandate is to promote universal service and access to the electronic communication services and electronic communication access through broadband roll-out in underserviced areas.

The agency is responsible for the management of the Universal Service Fund that receives contribution from licensed telecommunications operators. This fund is used to fulfil universal access obligations in underserviced areas.

.za.Domain Name Authority (ZADNA)

ZADNA is a not-for-profit company that manages and regulates the .za namespace. It is accountable to the DTPS, but does not receive government funding.

The ZA Central Registry, through ZADNA’s guidance and the African Union (AU) Commission, has made significant progress in its application for the right to establish and operate an Africa Internet namespace for the benefit of Africa.


Telkom is Africa’s largest integrated communications company, providing integrated communications solutions to nine different countries across Africa. The organisational structure comprises three major business units: Telkom South Africa, Telkom International and Telkom Data Centre Operations.

Broadband Infraco

Broadband Infraco sells high-capacity long-distance transmission services to licensed fixed and mobile network operators, internet service providers and other value-added network service providers. It has a 13 600-km network of long-distance fibre and five open-access points of presence in key metropolitan areas – with an additional seven open-access points of presence expected over the next few years. To enhance South Africa’s international connectivity and the speed of broadband, Broadband Infraco has co-invested with the private sector in the deployment of the West African Cable System (WACS).

The WACS is the fifth submarine cable system linking South Africa to the world. Broadband Infraco’s investment in the WACS entitled it to 11,4% of the system’s total capacity, which would help South Africa meet its target of providing broadband connectivity to all who need it by 2020.

The cable system has 15 established terminal stations en route, and will reduce the cost to connect Africa’s west coast with the high-speed global telecommunications network for years to come.

State Information Technology Agency (SITA)

SITA consolidates and coordinates the State’s information technology resources in order to achieve cost savings through scale, increase delivery capabilities and enhance interoperability.

SITA is committed to leveraging information technology (IT) as a strategic resource for government, managing the IT procurement and delivery process to ensure that the government gets value for money, and using IT to support the delivery of e-Government services to all citizens. I

It serves as the IT business for the largest employer and consumer of IT products and services in South Africa – the Government.

Communication platforms


The SABC’s national radio network comprises 18 radio stations. Fifteen of these are dedicated specifically to public-service broadcasting and include 11 full-spectrum stations, one in each of the official languages of South Africa; a cultural service for the Indian community broadcasting in English; a regional community station broadcasting in isiXhosa and English; and a community station broadcasting in the !Xu and Khwe languages of the Khoisan of the Northern Cape. The SABC has three stations in its commercial portfolio. These are:

Channel Africa broadcasts live on three platforms: shortwave, satellite and the internet. Its broadcasts are in Chinyanja, Silozi, Kiswahili, English, French and Portuguese.

SABC Radio has more than 26 million listeners weekly in South Africa.

Commercial radio stations

Commercial radio stations in South Africa include:

Stations such as Jacaranda 94.2, Highveld Stereo, Radio Oranje, Radio Algoa and East Coast Radio were initially SABC stations, but were sold to private owners to diversify radio ownership in South Africa as part of the transformation of the public broadcaster. Many of South Africa’s radio stations are available online.


The SABC’s television network comprises three free-to-air television channels. SABC TV has a weekly audience of 30,248 million (86,6% of adults watch SABC television in South Africa). South African television is broadcast in all 11 official  languages and also in Sign Language. The SABC also broadcasts a 24-hour news channel on DStv.

Community television

Soweto TV was the first  community television station to obtain a seven-year broadcasting licence from Icasa.

There are five  stations operational in Soweto, Cape Town, Tshwane, Empangeni and Nelson Mandela Bay.

Free-to-air television is South Africa’s fi  private free-to-air television channel, launched in 1998. It is the largest English-medium channel in the country and the second largest overall. also has a pan-African presence through Africa, which is distributed on the DStv Africa bouquet and by local affiliates in African countries.

Satellite broadcasting

e.sat tv supplies television, mobile and online news to various channels in South Africa, across Africa and in the United Kingdom under the brand name eNews Channel Africa (eNCA). Growing out of the success of eNews Prime Time, eNCA is South Africa’s fi  and most watched independent 24-hour television news channel on the DStv Platform (Channel 403).

The 24-hour news service is broadcast live in the UK to over 10,5 million subscribers on the SKY digital satellite platform. In addition, eNCA provides live news bulletins to nearly three million South African viewers each night on (in English, isiZulu and Sesotho) and to more than 200 000 Afrikaans viewers on kykNET.


Statistics South Africa’s General Household Survey 2014 shows that almost half of South African households (48.7%) had at least one member who used the Internet.

Access to the Internet was highest in the Western Cape (62.1%), Gauteng (59.9%), and the Free State (48.7%). The lowest was in Limpopo (32.6%) and the Eastern Cape (37.4%).

One-tenth of South African households had access to the Internet at home. Access to the Internet in the home was high- est in the Western Cape (23.8%) and Gauteng (17.3%).

In October 2014, Effective Measure, an analytics company which monitors the size of the South African internet, recorded a whopping 1 033 651 425 page views from South African browsers to South African websites. The most popular South African websites are classified  ads.

Social media

South Africa’s most popular social media networks in 2014 included:

  • Facebook – 11.8 million (25% growth)
  • YouTube – 7.2 million (53% growth)
  • Twitter – 6.6 million (20% growth)
  • Mxit – 4.9 million; LinkedIn – 3.8 million (40% growth)
  • Instagram – 1.1 million (65% growth)
  • Pinterest (840 000).

No statistics for Google+ were available.

Cybercrime and cybersecurity

Identity fraud, stalking, online child pornography and terrorism have become daily occurrences that threaten communities’ ability to enjoy the benefits of new technologies.

It is estimated that cyber-related offences are escalating and exceed a value in excess of R1 billion annually. The Cybersecurity Hub, pooling public and private sector threat information is responsible for processing and disseminating information to relevant stakeholders in the industry and civil society.

Mobile communications

South Africa has one of the largest telecommunications mar- kets on the continent: it has five  mobile operators, namely

Mobile phones are the dominant technology for voice and data communication among base of pyramid (BoP) users and for informal businesses.

People in this group access the internet mostly via their mobile phones and smart phones have taken over functions that used to be done with a computer. According to research data from World Wide Worx, 8.8 million South Africans access Facebook on mobile phones.

Users are also find innovative ways to bypass expensive cellphone networks’ SMS rates using Facebook Zero or other instant message services such as WhatsApp.

The media

South Africa is fortunate in having a vibrant and independent media.



Most South African newspapers and magazines are organised into several major publishing houses. These include:


The Audit Bureau of Circulations of South Africa’s consumer-magazine circulation statistics for the period October to December 2014 shows that the biggest-circulating business magazines in terms of paid-for (sales, bulk and subscriptions) circulation were Entrepreneur; Financial Mail; Noseweek; Personal Finance; Your Business; Forbes Africa and Finweek. The biggest-circulating business magazines in terms of total circulation were Real Estate Investor; Financial Mail; Entrepreneur; Forbes Africa; Noseweek; Personal Finance; Finweek and Your Business.

Media organisations and role players

Print Media South Africa (PMSA), administers individual bodies, namely the Newspaper Association of South Africa, the Magazine Publishers’ Association of South Africa and the Association of Independent Publishers (AIP). Allied to the PMSA, but not a constituent member, is the ABC, responsible for auditing and verifying print-media circulation figures.

The AIP represents the interests of more than 250 independent publishers in southern Africa.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) was formed at a meeting of the Black Editors’ Forum, the Conference of Editors and senior journalism educators and trainers.

The Forum of Black Journalists addresses issues that directly affect its members.

Members of the public who have complaints or concerns about reports in newspapers and magazines can submit their grievances to the Office of the Press Ombudsman.

The Freedom of Expression Institute protects and fosters the rights to freedom of expression and access to information, and to oppose censorship.

Another body that protects freedom of speech is the Freedom of Commercial Speech Trust.

The Forum of Community Journalists is an independent body that represents, promotes and serves the interests of all community-newspaper journalists in southern Africa.

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa is an independent self-regulatory body that serves as a vol untary watchdog, to adjudicate complaints from the public about programmes flighted by members who subscribe to its code of conduct.

The Broadcasting Monitoring Complaints Committee was established under sections 21 and 22 of the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act, 1993 (Act 153 of 1993).

The National Community Radio Forum (NCRF) lobbies for the airwaves in South Africa to be diversifi  and for a dynamic broadcasting environment through the establishment of community radio stations.

Other press organisations operating in the country are the

News agencies

The non-profit national news agency, the South African Press Association, which has been in existence since 1938, terminated its services in March 2015.

The African News Agency, Africa’s first syndicated multimedia content service, began publishing South African and international news stories in March 2015.

The main foreign news agencies operating in South Africa are:


Journalism awards

South Africa’s most important awards include the:

  • Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards
  • Sappi Magazine Publishers Association of South Africa
  • PICA Awards
  • Sanlam Community Press Awards
  • Vodacom Awards for Journalism Across All Mediums
  • South African Breweries Journalism Awards
  • Sanlam’s Financial Journalist of the Year Award
  • CNN MultiChoice Africa Awards
  • Discovery Health Journalism Awards
  • Sanef’s Nat Nakasa Award for media integrity.

Advertising awards

South Africa has a vibrant and dynamic advertising industry. Local advertising agencies are often recognised internationally for their excellence.

The Loerie Awards are the best-known South African awards recognising distinction in advertising. The 36th Annual Loerie Awards took place on 20 and 21 September 2014 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. A total of 256 awards were handed out during the ceremonies, as well as four Grands Prix awarded to:

  • Grid Worldwide Branding (Pty) Ltd for Anti Est “Anti Est#Unlearn”, in Design Mixed-Media Campaign.
  • One Kingdom Creative Studio for Mi-Fone “Oju Africa App”,in Digital & Interactive - Mobile Applications & Sites
  • FCB South Africa (Pty Ltd for Coca-Cola South Africa “A rainbow for the Rainbow Nation”, in Outdoor Media.
  • Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg fors Lucozade “Give me strength.”

Special Awards included Keith Rose, director and founding partner of Velocity, who was inducted into the Loeries Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to the industry. The Adams & Adams Young Creatives Award went to Matthew Pullen and Freda Raubenheimer. They each received a Gold Loerie and a trip to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Source: Pocket Guide to South Africa 2015/16

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