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WASPA workshop proves to be a resounding success

Released: 7 April 2010

A legal advisory workshop held for members of the Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of South Africa (WASPA) has brought the organisation's members up to speed with the latest developments in the legislative environment in which they operate.

Some 50 representatives from WASPA members attended the workshops in Johannesburg and Cape Town in February this year. The workshops were organised and presented by Helaine Leggat and Pria Chetty of Chetty Law, one of South Africa's leading legal practices focused on technology and innovation law.

The programme had a specific focus on the South African legal system and its relevance to the WASPA Code of Conduct. It took a close look at the various laws and regulations that impact on WASPs and how they operate, including, the Constitution of South Africa, the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, the Consumer Protection Act the Electronic Communications Act , and the new Companies Act. Additionally, the programme included material on the impact of the King III Code for Corporate Governance in South Africa.

The country's WASPs operate in an increasingly complex environment where not only laws and governance codes apply, but also industry codes of conduct and best practice, said Leggat. The workshop aimed to help them understand what the cohesiveness of this regulatory environment means for their businesses.

In addition, the workshops helped members to understand how WASPA's own Code of Conduct is aligned with the country's legal framework. "The WASPA Code of Conduct is one of the best Codes of its type in South Africa," said Leggat.

"The Association can fine and take other steps against members that breach its code of conduct. It's important for members to understand the purpose it serves for the industry as a self-regulation mechanism."

The primary objective of the WASPA Code of Conduct is to ensure that members of the public can use mobile services with confidence. The Code of Conduct also sets standards for advertising mobile application services, and includes a framework for the provision of services by WASPs.

Said Leggat: "The workshops received a positive response from the WASPs, who are all trying to come to grips with their rights and obligations under South African law as well as with the best practices that WASPA promotes.

Most of those that attended the workshop agreed that they were given a better knowledge of the regulations and laws that impact their businesses, which will in turn help them to better manage legal and business risks into the future."



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