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Renewed Vigour for WASPA Management Committee

Released: 13 April 2012

The 2012 Management Committee (Mancom) announced by the Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of SA (WASPA) looks much the same as the 2011 Mancom, except for the inclusion of Ryan Birkin who takes over from veteran Mancom member, Gavin Penkin.

While the names of the members of WASPA's Mancom for 2012 and the portfolios and working groups they will be responsible for are largely unchanged, members say their increased joint experience will stand the Association in good stead as its promotes its mandate of encouraging mobile uptake.

"South African mobile users will only explore the mobile content and applications offered by WASPA members if they feel comfortable and secure doing so.

"This means WASPA will continue promoting the industry as well as enforcing and refining its Code of Conduct," said WASPA chair Leon Perlman.

The new face on the WASPA mancom is Ryan Birkin who becomes chair of the Public Relations Working Group. "I am excited to represent WASPA, and our member WASPs, at a very public level. It is clear that both mobile consumers and the mobile industry are interested in what WASPA has to say. We will work hard to keep the two-way flow of communication open this year," said Mr Birkin. He is currently Interactive Director at eXactmobile.

The other 2012 Mancom members together with their areas of responsibility are as follows:

  • Smartcall Technology Solutions' Janene Matsukis will chair the Networks Working Group together with Ryan Birkin.
  • Casper de Villiers, Clickatell's co-founder and operations director, has again taken on the responsibility of chairing the Finance Working Group. He has more a decade of experience in the WASP environment and is Clickatell's representative at the GSM Association. De Villiers has served on the WASPA Code of Conduct Working Group in the past.
  • Leon Perlman, the founder of WASPA, is again taking the role of chairman as well as of chair of the Regulatory Working Group. A former scientist, he has been in the telecommunications industry since the early 1990's. WASPA's founding and chairman since 2004, Perlman has also served on the WASPA's regulatory portfolio since the organisation was established.
  • Dieter van Rooyen, currently the operations director of Integrat, one of the largest mobile VAS aggregators in South Africa, will chair the Aggregators Working Group.
  • Deon van Heerden, chief operating officer at ViaMedia, is an accomplished entrepreneur and technology professional with more than 17 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in a number of countries. He will chair the Membership Working Group.
  • Russel Stromin, an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry and head of Strike Media, will chair the Code of Conduct Working Group.



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