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Press Release: Cyberlaw Expert Joins 'Scorpions' of the Mobile Industry

10 November 2008

Leading CyberLaw expert Sizwe Snail has been appointed as an adjudicator tasked with resolving any complaints mobile consumers may have with the 147 full and affiliate members of the Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of SA (WASPA).

Mr Snail is an attorney at the law firm of Couzyn Hertzog & Horak who specialises in Cyber Law and Civil Litigation after completing his Baccalareus Legum (LLB) at the University of Pretoria in 2004. He was admitted as an Attorney of the South African High Court in 2007 after serving his Articles at Barend Burgers Attorneys. He is a member of the Black Lawyers Association.

According to Leon Perlman, chairman of WASPA, "Sizwe joins WASPA's ensemble of eminent technology lawyers who adjudicate in terms of the WASPA Code of Conduct, ensuring consumers of mobile content and services that their interests are being protected by WASPA and its independent adjudicators. WASPAs world-class self regulation model using adjudicators has been a great success."

"I believe I will add value to consumers' mobile experiences by enabling them to consume mobile products and services safe in the knowledge that there is someone they can trust to objectively settle any potential disputes with WASPs," said Mr Snail.

WASPA adjudicators are tasked with mediating between consumers and WASPs when a member of the public makes a complaint to the organisation about one of its members that cannot be resolved amicably. Their role is to enforce the WASPA Code of Conduct as independent adjudicators trusted by all parties. The Code covers issues such as spam (unsolicited commercial communications), subscription services, advertising and pricing, competitions, complaint resolution, and adult services. All adjudicators are specialist Information Communications Technology (ICT) lawyers at a range of law firms throughout South Africa.

If the service provider is found in breach of the code, the Adjudicator can issue a reprimand, fine or suspension and can order compensation to be paid. The WASPA Code has been in place since 2005 and is updated constantly as new issues arise.

Mr Snail is currently enrolled for a Magister Legum (LLM) degree specializing in Information Technology Law at the University of South Africa under the title "An Appraisal of the South African Law of e-Contract". He is also co-founding member of the Annual Cyberlaw Conference and Legal Coordinator for ICTLA.za (Information Communication Technology Law Association of South Africa) and a guest lecturer for the University of Johannesburg's Cyber Law Diploma.



WASPA represents the mobile development; value added services and content services community in South Africa. After lobbying the mobile operators and WASPs in late 2003 for an industry body, WASPA's formative meeting was held in August 2004. Membership of WASPA was made mandatory by the mobile operators and TV stations for any company doing value added services in South Africa.

WASPA's remit is to promote and self-regulate the WASP industry. As part of the self-regulatory component of WASPA, there is the now internationally recognized and emulated self-regulatory regime for mobile value added services that includes the WASPA Code of Conduct & Advertising Rules. WASPA's Code of Conduct regulates inter alia, competitions, chat, adult services, spam, CRM, advertising of services,subscription services and pricing. The first version of the Code was passed in June 2004 and implemented on 1 September 2005. It has been updated numerous times as the need has arisen.

Enforcement of the Code & Advertising Rules is achieved by a novel quasi-judicial system that consists of a procedure for lodging and responding to complaints where it is thought the Code is being contravened. Adherence to the Code and the Advertising rules is mandatory for all providers operating in South Africa.

ICT lawyers acting as WASPA adjudicators will find on the merits and have the power to suspend, fine, expel any WASP or Information Provider found to contravene the Code rules. Adjudications are enforced through contractual provisions in all WASP agreements. There is also a 3-person appeals panel as well as an emergency panel.

Issued by:

Ivan Booth
Reliable Sources PR
082 851 7419
ivan (at) reliablesources.co.za