Springboks

SA Rugby on TV rights saga: 'A regulatory impact assessment is essential'

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The Springboks' bench proved instrumental at the World Cup.
The Springboks' bench proved instrumental at the World Cup.
Craig Mercer
  • SA Rugby argues that the absence of a regulatory impact assessment with regards to the Icasa draft findings could be dire for the organisation.
  • A regulatory impact assessment is regarded as a tool to test the practicality and feasibility of regulation proposals.
  • SA Rugby says the regulatory impact assessment is needed before the final resolutions, which should be ready by the end of March.

SA Rugby’s legal representative Ngwako Maenetje SC believes the absence of a regulatory impact assessment with regards to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) draft findings could have serious implications for the final regulations.

This matter was raised during SA Rugby’s question-and-answer session of the hearings into the draft findings on the inquiry into subscription television broadcasting services that were held virtually.

SA Rugby, the Premier Soccer League and Icasa were engaged in the hearings, with the sporting bodies stating their cases against the proposed remedies Icasa wants to put in place.

A regulatory impact assessment is regarded as a tool to test the practicality and feasibility of regulation proposals, the risks to be addressed by the regulation and the options for delivering objectives.

Maenetje argued that the RIA should have been put into practice before draft resolutions were put in place.

“A regulatory impact assessment, where in this case of placing prohibitions on non-licensees, is essential. It should have preceded the publication of the draft findings themselves because you want to engage the industry as the industry would engage better with Icasa if an RIA was done already,” Maenetje said.

“You cannot move to finalise the draft findings without doing the regulatory impact assessment. You can’t get to the stage of regulations because you need to determine whether this is necessary. That will flow from the impact assessment. If it hasn’t been done, it must be done before the draft findings are finalised and positions are adopted.”

Maenetje said the lack of an RIA with regards to the draft findings could also have unmitigated financial implications for SA Rugby.

“Other than a reference to the consumer survey, there isn’t a discussion with regards to the fruits of any economic impact assessment which will take the place of a regulatory impact assessment which would calculate the cost benefits of the proposed license conditions. It’s on that basis where we say the draft findings reflect a process that isn’t informed by an assessment which would equate into a regulatory impact assessment that properly analyses the cost and the benefit of this intervention,” Maenetje said.

“Because of this, a regulatory impact assessment is necessary, as was recognised by Icasa in the fixed local loop unbundling because there could be unintended consequences of a financial nature that could have an adverse impact on the competitive relationships within the market.”

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