Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has published draft by-laws for the deployment of electronic communications facilities at municipal level.
The draft publication is likely to be welcomed by telecommunications industry players, which until now have had to contend with a wide range of different rules depending on the municipality involved.
It’s understood the draft by-laws were published following intervention by the presidency – specifically through Operation Vulindlela, the programme led by President Cyril Ramaphosa aimed at accelerating structural reforms in the economy.
The draft by-laws don’t have to be adopted by municipalities, but it’s likely that most will do so, said Juanita Clark, CEO of the Digital Council Africa, who welcomed the draft rules.
The draft by-laws are meant to “facilitate the rapid deployment of electronic communications infrastructure and ensure uniformity” in planning across municipalities.
They cover activities such as:
- Trenching and micro-trenching and related work in a road reserve;
- The siting and erection of poles and stringing of fibre-optic cable in a road reserve or within a municipal area;
- The erection of base stations, towers or masts, including micro-cell deployments on street “furniture” (lamp poles, for example); and
- Maintenance and operational activities related to already deployed electronic communications facilities.
The draft by-laws prohibit civil works for the deployment or maintenance of network infrastructure in a road reserve without a valid wayleave being issued. No deployments may take place on municipal property or street “furniture” without the operator and the municipality entering into a “municipal lease agreement”.
The draft by-laws state that applications for a wayleave must be made on an application form that is “substantially similar” to a form contained in the by-laws.
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A wayleave application must be processed within 30 days from submission. If a municipality requires more time, they must notify the applicant in writing before the 30 days is up. No extension beyond a further 30 days is allowed under the draft by-laws.
A wayleave holder must ensure that a physical copy of the wayleave is kept on site when the work is being done.
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The municipality will require that a wayleave holder provides it with an irrevocable bank guarantee that gives it access to funds to remedy any damage that might be caused to municipal property during construction work. This must be furnished prior to the commencement of the work.
Interested stakeholders have until mid-October to comment on the draft document. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media
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